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Animatrix: Dare you enter?

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(Warner Brothers)

This is a collection of 9 animated shorts inspired by the Matrix movies, and it’s a rather mixed bag to be sure. The styles reflect the different types of anime and manga. Some of this material barely qualifies as having a story; it is definitely a DVD of diminishing returns. The version piece, Final Flight of Osiris, is a prequel to the Matrix Reloaded movie, and is rather good. At times one wonders if it is indeed animation instead of live action (although much of the Matrix’s movies is cgi), and the opening sword duel is pretty amazing. The movies thereafter, including the Rennaisance series, display the differences in anime and manga styles more than anything that is that spectacular. The last two films, ‘A Detective Story’ and ‘Matriculated’, are the most enjoyable of the rest. The Detective piece is a noir-esque piece set in a city that looks rather a lot like Chicago. The animation is very 2d, but the story-line, while being predictable, is good for a laugh. ‘Matriculated’ is similar in style to the opening film and features visual nods to Lawnmower Man and Tron. In the other films there are visual nods to The Wall and Blade Runner. This is neither surprising nor unpleasant. This DVD is far from an essential purchase and probably best rented. However, once through it’s an interesting tour of the different views of anime (in fact the CD includes a history of the genre). If you wondered what the whole style is about but are weary of the sometimes turgid and ponderous plots that make up many anime series, then this just might be a perfect place to dip your toes in the animated water.

Rating: 3.5

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About Marty Dodge

  • Dew

    I have continuously enjoyed the Matrix series(Yes, Reloaded included). Although I have not seen all of the Animatrix DVD, some of the episodes are offered for free on the Matrix site. Those which I have seen I really enjoyed because they offered a history (of sorts) to the complete Matrix saga; giving accounts on how the people became overwrought with superiority to a ‘race’ of machines, who had developed what could only be catergorized as emotion.

    Despite the praise above I have yet to purchase this piece of the Matrix Collection. I own the game, I’ve seen the movies, I own the first movie on DVD and VHS and will own the second. I do enjoy the storylines but I do not want to be a complete slave to the franchise. So in my case I enjoy the product but I’m worn out on franchise overkill.

    No, I dare not enter…

  • The Theory

    i enjoy anime, so this is the only thing from the matrix monopoly that i own.

    Some of the “episodes” are good for repeated views, like Kid’s Story and A Detective Story. And that running one. And the swordfight/deception one.

    But the best part IS the history of anime/manga special feature. That was *really* good.

  • Dew

    I rented Animatrix this weekend and it was alright. Eh! I didn’t get the detailed explanantions I was looking for other than the Flight of the Osiris. To say the least this will not be apart of my Matrix ‘Revolution’.