The Animatrix consists of nine animated shorts that revolve around the Wachowski Brothers’ trilogy of The Matrix films. While these stories are done in an anime style, the animation style is different for each story, similar to the recent Batman: Gotham Knight anime. As a result, I find the Animatrix to be all in good fun as long as I watch it as a piece of visual art to be enjoyed. However, as with many works of art, trying to dig too deeply, too intellectually, one digs a hole so deep that Plato could not climb out. I might not like all of the animation from every story, but every story is truly amazing. It gives the back story to the movies and proves that we are to blame for everything.
The shorts start with “Final Flight of the Osiris” which lets us know where the scans that we hear about from “Reloaded” came from. After it’s over we move into what I think should have been in the movie which is the “The Second Renaissance”. It lets us know the whole history of how the war between man and machine began. One thing this does a lot better than the movies ever did was to show you the size and scope of the Matrix itself. In the movie you’re confined to one city and that’s it but in this we pretty much go all around to see what a vast and detailed program that the Matrix is.
In many respects, the Animatrix is better than the films, which seemed to get shallower and shallower as the story went on. One might be inclined to think that, since the average running time for each of these short films is only a mere 9 minutes or so, that character and plot development would naturally suffer. Often enough one would probably be correct, but certainly not in this case. The characters of each short are also by-and-far ingeniously planned. Every action taken and every word spoken lends itself to the understanding of the motivations of the players within each story arc.
Overall, the Animatrix is a great collection of innovative, very well done, and visually-stunning films. However, the films lack cohesion and, at times, relevance to the Matrix world. It would have been nice of the stories were deeper, or tied themselves in more with the movies, but it would be difficult to things like that given that most of the films fall within 10 minutes. Either the creators were trying to push to much info through in a short time span, or the artists took too many liberties with the script. Those nitpicks aside, this is quality all the way around. Any fan of the Matrix should make this essential viewing.