The Animatrix (2003) is an American-Japanese anthology sci-fi movie that is based on The Matrix trilogy and is comprised of nine short animated films. Four of the films was written by The Wachowski Brothers. I give the anthology credit for giving a detailed backstory of the Matrix universe. The movie also receives a plus for telling us about the original war between machines and humanity that resulted in the Matrix being created. Below is a summary of the nine short films in the anthology.
Final Flight of the Osiris - written by The Wachowskis and directed by Andy Jones
Captain Thadeus (Kevin Michael Richardson - The Cleveland Show (2009), Lilo & Stitch (2002), The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! (2004)) and Jue were battling blindfolded with swords during a stimulation training. Jue (Pamela Adlon - King of the Hill (1997), Californication (2007), Say Anything… (1989), Princess Mononoke (1997)) and Thadeus remove pieces of each other’s clothing with each sword slice. Robbie (Tom Kenny - SpongeBob SquarePants (1999), The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004), CatDog (1998), Adventure Time (2010)) is the operator of the ship Osiris. Robbie discovers an army of Sentinels on his HR scans as he is headed to Junction 21 on the Osiris ship. Robbie tried to escape but was faced with a smaller group of Sentinels which resulted in a showdown. It was soon discovered that the Machines are trying to tunnel their way into Zion by using gigantic drills. After a few events, Jue volunteers to enter the Matrix to deliver a warning. The battle that follows was predictable for the most of it but still maintain a few suspense. This is another great segment that should not be missed.
The Second Renaissance Part I - a two-part short film written and directed by Mahiro Maeda
Humans successfully created Artificial intelligence around the twenty-first century leading them to create a huge amount of sentient AI robots. The majority of the robots are domestic servants that help with everyday household chores, interact with humans and did other good tasks. An owner in 2090 threatened its robot that resulted in the robot killing its owner. Robot B1-66ER said he killed his owner out of self-defense when he was on trial and that he does not want to die. The trial was interesting as arguments were made and the judge’s statement was nicely said. After a few events, orders are given to destroy all robots as they might pose a threat to humans. A few robot escaped and built their new home in a new nation that they created in the desert of the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Their nation name is Zero One, and they intend on making peace with the humans but after many failed attempts come part two.
The Second Renaissance Part II
The United Nations released a nuclear bombardment on Zero One hoping to kill all of the robots, but they failed to do so as a few survived the attack. It is now a war between the humans and robots as the robots retaliate resulting in humanity to surrender territories one after another. Eastern Europe put up a fight against the robots by nanites covering the sky that blocked the sun that the robots need to survive. The robots use the energy from the sun, but that did stop them from ensuing a battle that was catastrophic on both sides. The fight continues as the robots battle one nation after another where different fighting skills and weapons are seen. Who wins the battle is for you to discover.
Kid’s Story - written by The Wachowskis and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
Kid’s Story is the only short film in this anthology that Neo (Keanu Reeves - The Matrix (1999), Speed (1994), The Devil’s Advocate (1997), John Wick (2014)) appears. Kid’s Story takes place between the ending of The Matrix and the beginning of The Matrix: Reloaded. Neo joined the Nebuchadnezzar crew so that he can also help the rebels to free humans from the Matrix. Kid (Clayton Watson - The Matrix Revolutions (2003), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), Kid’s Story (2003)) is a teenager who often wonder if he is alone in the world. He was at school one day and did not realize that he was scribbling "Neo lives" in his notebook. Neo sent him an invitation inviting him to escape the Matrix. Kid encounters a few agents chasing him in school after receiving a phone call from Neo. After a few events, we learn that Kid has done something that no one else has ever done, and that is achieving self-substantiation. Self-substantiation is when someone removes himself from the Matrix without the help of external aid. Great segment that should not be missed.
Program - written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Cis (Hedy Burress - Foxfire (1996), Final Fantasy X (2001), Boston Common (1996), Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)) is a protagonist that is dating Duo. Duo (Phil LaMarr - Pulp Fiction (1994), Futurama (1999), Justice League (2001), MADtv (1995)) wishes to return to the Matrix, but Cis told him that it is impossible for them to do so. She told him that they cannot re-integrate because they already know the truth. Duo argued back and told her that there are machines that can make them forget what they know and they can return to the Matrix. After a few events, Duo and Cis argues and fights violently as Cis resists going back to the Matrix with Duo. What happens next was unseen by me, and I love the surprise ending. This was an interesting and entertaining short film that was filled with action.
World Record - directed by Takeshi Koike
Narration in the beginning of this film stated that this film is a Zion Archive file and explains the details behind discovering the Matrix. Humans that have a rare degree of institution, questioning nature, and sensitivity become aware of the Matrix. The short film revolves around Dan Davis (Victor Williams - The King of Queens (1998), Cop Land (1997), World Record (2003), Bewitched (2005)) who is a track athlete. Dan is about to compete in the 100m in the Summer Olympic Games to prove that he can do it again and is determined to beat his old score of 8.99 seconds which was revoked because of drug use. Dan’s trainer told him that running again might cause serious life-threatening injuries because he is not physically fit to race. Dan violently ruptured the muscle in his leg but kept on running increasing his speed. Dan passed the other runners and that is when three agents possesses the three closest runners to Dan and trying to stop him. The agents were unable to catch up to Dan. What happens next is a must see and I cannot say because it will be a huge spoiler - it does not have to do with the agents.
Beyond - written and directed by K?ji Morimoto
Yoko (Hedy Burress - Foxfire (1996), Final Fantasy X (2001), Boston Common (1996), Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)) is a teenage girl searching for her cat Yuki. Yoko met a few young boys who told her that Yuki is in a haunted house and that she should go into the haunted house to see it. Yoko and the boys saw many anomalies but did not think much of it because it amuses them and they had fun exploring. Agents are aware of the what is happening in the Matrix and sent a truck to solve the problem. Skip forward, Yoko, and a few others return the next day to find a parking lot instead of the haunted house. I did not like this segment much because it needed more spooks and action. When I think of Matrix, action is the first thing that comes to my mind.
A Detective Story - written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
A Detective Story revolves around Ash (James Arnold Taylor - Johnny Test (2005), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), Final Fantasy X (2001)) who is a private detective. A mysterious person called Ash and told him to search for a hacker, called Trinity. Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss - The Matrix (1999), Memento (2000), Chocolat (2000), Disturbia (2007)) is a hard guy to capture as many agents have failed. After a few scenes, Ash and Trinity have a shoot out with many other agents. An Agent tries to take over Ash’s body but will he succeed? Ash’s car scene was funny but deadly. I like this segment and thought it was very entertaining.
Matriculated - written and directed by Peter Chung
This segment has a lot of things going on. A group of human rebels living above ground lures hostile intelligent machines into their laboratory so that they can insert their own design of "matrix" into them. The humans intend on teaching positive traits to the machines they capture so that the machines will no longer follow their command to search and destroy. It was strange to see one of the machine robots having feelings for Alexa (Melinda Clarke - The O.C. (2003), Nikita (2010), Spawn (1997), La lengua asesina (1996)) who is a female rebel. This segment was touching, sad, and I felt emotions towards the characters whereas I did not in a few other segments. This is one segment that should not be missed.
About The Animatrix (2003)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kenny, John DeMita, Rick Gomez, John DiMaggio, Akio Ôtsuka, Dwight Schultz, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Adlon, Tara Strong, Julia Fletcher, Matt McKenzie, Debi Derryberry, Alex Fernandez, John Wesley, Allison Smith, Hedy Burress, Melinda Clarke, Olivia d'Abo, Jack Fletcher, Phil LaMarr, Clayton Watson, Terrence 'T.C.' Carson, James Arnold Taylor, Dane A. Davis, William R. Dean, Bette Ford, Rodney Saulsberry
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Peter Chung, Kôji Morimoto, Shinichirô Watanabe, Andrew R. Jones