Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The DVD collector's edition of the Matrix trilogy includes a bonus DVD called the Animatrix. The Wachowski brothers wanted to explore aspects of the matrix concept that they did not have a chance to in the films, and what better way than to give the project to some of the animators that had influenced them. It's no coincidence that most of the animators and directors were Japanese. If anyone can be said to have pioneered the adaptation of comic serials to film, it is the anime masters of Japan. Names included (with Wikipedia links) Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Kazuto Nakazawa, Mahiro Maeda, Koji Morimoto, and Korean animator Peter Chung of the original Aeon Flux series.

The brothers picked eight concepts and gave them to different animators to adapt into animated shorts. They fully scripted only four of them and directed none. The result was a really diverse collection of storytelling styles with a thread of connectivity running through. The first short was the only one connected directly to the Matrix film narrative and depicted a critical aspect of the story that was not explicitly shown, but was referred to in one small line at the start of the Matrix Reloaded. For anyone who hasn't seen them, here's a pretty cool official site, and here's a list of titles with a teaser question related to each story:

Final Flight of the Osiris - How did Zion receive word that the machines were launching a subterranean attack?

The Second Renaissance - What is the history of how the Matrix came to be?

Beyond - If the Matrix program had some bugs that created some odd happenings, how long would it take the monitor programs to identify and fix the problem?

A Detective Story - If a P.I. was hired to find one of the liberated humans without knowing about the Matrix, would he be smart enough to figure out what was going on?

Kid's Story - If someone told you about the Matrix, could you free yourself simply by believing them completely enough?

Matriculated - Could the humans reprogram some of the machines to fight for their side? Or better, could they "reform" them to understand the goodness of humanity and have them choose to fight for them?

Program - The human rebels used simulation programs to test new recruits, but could they also use them to test their loyalty?

World Record - Could you wake up from the Matrix by sheer physical exertion in your mind?

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