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Animatrix (2003)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Anime, Robots & Cyborgs, Adventure, Experimental/Avant-Garde, Sci-Fi TV, Sci-Fi TV
Running Time: 89 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Raising the anticipation level for the two Matrix sequels, the Wachowski brothers opened up the franchise to a handful of animators. The project resulted in nine animated shorts that present stories related tangentially to the feature films. World Record features a track star who gets a brief glimpse of life outside the Matrix; A Detective Story chronicles an old-fashioned private eye's attempts to track down the mysterious Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss); Beyond finds a young woman exploring a strange abandoned building; Final Flight of the Osiris includes events that occur just before those in The Matrix Reloaded; Kid's Story follows a teenage boy as he attempts to break out of the Matrix; Matriculated shows a group of humans trying to reprogram a sentient robot; Program features a battle within a simulated samurai fight-training program; and The Second Renaissance Part 1 and The Second Renaissance Part 2 are pseudo-documentaries that reveal how the machines came to take control of the Earth. ~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide

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From the makers of Akira... stunning sci-fi anime tale involves mind-theft

GreenCine Member Reviews

Great Animation by ronoman1 May 5, 2006 - 12:14 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This was great. The interesting thing about this DVD is that each chapter was created by different animators so the visual between each chapter veries greatly. If you like animation- you will like what you see.

Wide range from great to aweful by SeijinZero July 3, 2004 - 9:47 PM PDT
2 out of 6 members found this review helpful
the 2 part explanation of the history of the matrix world is essential to the matrix trilogy, and the "flight of the osiris" CG intro to the second movie was good too. but, the rest of the shorts kinda sucked. pointless, trippy, and cheesey... but the first 3 are awesome!

Warmed up after taking the Red Pill by hneline1 September 11, 2003 - 1:42 AM PDT
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
This is a nicely put together DVD with the 9 featured shorts plus a ton of Extras. By now, you probably know the concept behind Animatrix -- the Wachowski brothers are big anime fans, so they jumped at the chance to work with a number of famous anime and animation directors to produce a series of shorts that expand on the universe of The Matrix.

Being an anime fan and a Matrix admirer, honestly, my first reaction was lukewarm when I saw these shorts. First, they're too short -- one of the things that I love about anime is the complexity of the storylines in an extended series, yet here the story ends as soon as I get a feel for a character. It's much more a "short story" feel rather than an "epic novel" feel. Second, the pacing and mood is not the same as the original -- two of the things that I love about The Matrixare the building paranoid tension as Neo's world falls apart and the fast paced martial arts action. I wanted to see more of that and only a few out of the 9 came close. Third, the combination of experimental anime styles and Matrix-inspired plots can be jarring -- some shorts are not quite anime, not quite western cartoons, and it's hard to pinpoint the underlying voice of the story.

But then I opened my mind. :-) Some of these shorts are amazing if you're not expecting anime or The Matrix. "Kid's Story", directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), has the most jaw-droppingly thrilling skateboard action sequence. "Beyond", written and directed by Koji Morimoto, recreates the sense of wonder caused by The Matrix in a story that is independent and poignant. "Program", written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust), contains some beautiful sword-fighting sequences.

And if you're interested in behind-the-scenes info, then the Extras are worth buying this DVD for. Four of the shorts have full director's commentaries ("The Second Renaissance Part 1" and "Part 2" by Mahiro Maede, "Program" by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, "World Record" by Takeshi Koike). There are 7 excellent, "making of" documentaries that cover all 9 shorts and 7 directors. There are brief bios of the directors and segment producers. And there is a lengthy "History and Culture of Anime" documentary that contains interviews with big names in U.S. anime research (Helen McCarthy, Gilles Poitras, etc), although I think that it concentrated too much in the action genre and only briefly mentioned that the anime world covers many other genres.

If you're interested in experimental animation, action anime, and are Matrix-obsessed, then you'll probably enjoy this DVD a lot. If not, just watch with an open mind...

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.59)
878 Votes
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