The Animatrix (2003)

animatrix poster 2003 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fun stylish short stories that are better than the Matrix sequels

It is still the Matrix which is often a love-hate type movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Animatrix

Studio:  Village Roadshow Pictures

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  June 3, 2003

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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How the Matrix began…

Enter the Matrix and learn its origin.  How the machines came to rule and the survivors’ battle to reclaim the Earth are explored as the battle for humanity continues.

The Animatrix was a straight to DVD release which collected a series of films that for the most part were released before in various forms.  Many of the films premiered on The Matrix website and the story “Final Flight of the Osiris” was shown before the Stephen King film Dreamcatcher.  The DVD release of the film fell between the theatrical release of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

The Animatrix is broken up into nine short films with many of the actors of the films returned for voice work.  The films have different writers and animators and this style (another example of this style is the fun Batman:  Gotham Knight).  With a lot of style and variety, if you don’t like one story of The Animatrix, you might enjoy another.

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“Final Flight of Oasiris”

The first film is “Final Flight of the Osiris” which is written by Andy and Larry Wachowski (actually rated PG-13 since it did appear in theaters) and directed by Andy Jones.  It sets up events in The Matrix Reloaded and has art by Square, USA, Inc.  It is a short story with computer style animation.  This doesn’t add much to the mythology but serves more as an establishing story for what is going on when The Matrix Reloaded begins.

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“The Second Renaissance”

The second two films are “The Second Renaissance Part I” and “The Second Renaissance Part II” directed by Mahiro Maeda.  Written by the Wachowski Bros. again, these two films have more of a Japanese style of art by Studio4°C and are pretty informative.  They explain how the machines came to power, how the Earth was destroyed, and why the Matrix even exists…something that didn’t make much sense in the films.

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“Kid’s Story”

The fourth entry in the story is “Kid’s Story” and is written by Andy and Larry Wachowski with direction by Shinichirô Watanabe.  It also has art by Studio4°C, Tokyo but has more of a rotoscope feel to the art.  The story falls between The Matrix and The Matrix Revolutions.

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“Program”

The fifth story is a stand-alone story called “Program” written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.  It features art by Madhouse Studios and tells the story of a girl named Cis who is engaged in a simulated battle that suddenly gets more dangerous.

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“World Record”

“World Record” is another stand-alone story by Yoshiaki Kawajiri and directed by Takeshi Koike along with art by Madhouse Studios.  The story is about a runner named Dan Davis who is on the verge of breaking the world record for running despite warnings from his trainer.  It is an interesting story which has the character on verge of breaking out of the Matrix and the fight to contain him.

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“Beyond”

Written and directed by Kōji Morimoto, “Beyond” is the seventh story and features art by Studio4°C.  It tells the story of a girl named Yoko who is looking for her missing cat.  She, along with children, discovers a glitch in the Matrix which allows them to break with reality and demonstrate superhuman abilities.  Believing that they are experiencing ghosts, the agents of the Matrix move in to shut them down.

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“A Detective Story”

“A Detective Story” is the eighth story of the collection and is written and directed by Shinichirô Watanabe.  It features art from Studio4°C and has a detective named Ash being sent after Trinity for being a hacker.  The style of the film is almost a steampunk noire with a classic detective but high technology and comes across much like Sin City.

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“Matriculated”

The ninth and final film in the collection is “Matriculated”.  It is written and directed by Peter Chung and has art by DNA.  Chung worked on Aeon Flux and it is very obvious in this outing.  The story involves a group of rebels trying to capture and reprogram machines into realizing humanity isn’t awful…needless to say, it doesn’t go as planned.

The Animatrix is actually more interesting than the actual Matrix sequels.  The short stories do provide important background to enrich the Matrix films and they are helpful in explaining The Matrix mythology.  I thought The Matrix was ok and hated the sequels.  This film has much more style and class than the big budget sequels, and fans of different styles of art should seek out The Animatrix.

Related Links:

The Matrix (1999)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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