|Directed by|| Koji Morimoto|
|Written by||Wachowski Brothers|
|Produced by||Wachowski Brothers|
|Starring|| Hedy Burress|
James Arnold Taylor
Kevin Michael Richardson
Beyond is directed by Koji Morimoto. It follows a teenage girl, Yoko (Hedy Burress), looking for her cat Yuki. While asking around the neighborhood, indicatively somewhere in Japan, she meets some younger boys. One of them tells her Yuki is inside a haunted house and invites her to see it.
The children have stumbled across an amalgamation of anomalies within an old, broken building. They have learned to exploit this glitch in the Matrix for their own enjoyment, through several areas which seem to defy real-world physics: glass bottles reassemble after being shattered, rain falls from a sunny sky, broken lightbulbs flicker briefly (during which they seem intact), a door opens into nothingness, shadows do not align with their physical origins, and a small bird's feather rotates rapidly in place in mid-air. There is a large open space in the middle where they take turns jumping off a high point and falling towards the ground yet somehow stopping inches before impact; this proves amusing and they seem unbothered by the inherent strangeness.
Throughout the film brief sequences show that Agents are aware of the problem in the Matrix, and a truck is seen driving toward the site to presumably deal with the problem. It arrives while the children are still playing, and an Agent-led team of "rodent exterminators" moves in to clear everybody out of it. The story ends when Yoko and the others return to the area the next day. They unsuccessfully attempt to re-create the bizarre occurrences of yesterday and soon go in search of something else to do.
A Detective Story is written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe. It follows the story of a down-on-his-luck private detective, Ash (James Arnold Taylor), on what he calls the "case to end all cases". Ash receives an anonymous phone call to search for a hacker that goes by the alias "Trinity" (Carrie-Anne Moss). Ash traces Trinity and learns that other detectives have failed in the same task before him; one had committed suicide, one had gone missing, and one had gone insane.
Eventually Ash finds Trinity after deducing that he should communicate using phrases and facts from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She proposes a meeting, and he successfully finds the location. At the meeting she removes a "bug" from his eye, planted by Agents earlier in an "eye exam dream". Agents appear and attempt to apprehend Trinity in a shoot-out with her and Ash. While the two fugitives are trying to escape the train, an Agent attempts to take over Ash's body, forcing Trinity to shoot him in order to prevent the Agent from appearing. Ash is wounded, whereupon he and Trinity bid farewells without malice. Trinity escapes, telling Ash that she thinks he could have handled the truth. Agents enter the car to find Ash, who points his gun at them while looking in the other direction and lighting a cigarette. The Agents turn to Ash who, even though he is armed, will likely die. With this apparent no-win situation, the film ends with Ash's line ("A case to end all cases") as his lighter flame goes out.
Kid's Story was written by the Wachowski brothers and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, with animation and production design by Studio 4°C, Tokyo. It is the only one of the animated shorts contained in The Animatrix in which Neo appears. Kid (Clayton Watson) receives a personal invitation from Neo to escape the Matrix. The following day, he is chased through his high school by a band of Agents, and ultimately is cornered on the roof. He asserts his faith in Neo, and throws himself from the roof, whereupon the other characters are shown holding his funeral. The short fades up from black as the Kid awakens in the real world to see Neo and Trinity watching over him. They remark that he has achieved "self substantiation" (removing oneself from the Matrix without external aid), which was considered impossible. In both the short itself and The Matrix Reloaded, however, the Kid seems to believe it was Neo's actions, not his own, that saved him.
Self-substantiation is never thoroughly discussed in any part of the series. Dan in the Animatrix short "World Record" similarly manages to exit the Matrix without the use of a Red Pill, whereas in The Matrix, Morpheus speaks of the founder of Zion who freed himself, presumably without external help.
Matriculated was written and directed by Korean American director Peter Chung. The film deals with a group of above-ground human rebels who lure hostile intelligent machines to their laboratory in order to capture them and insert them into a "matrix" of their own design. Within this matrix the humans attempt to teach the captured machines some of the positive traits of humanity, primarily compassion and empathy. The ultimate goal of this project is to help the intelligent machines develop free will in order to overcome their original "search-and-destroy" programming. The rebels' hope is that, once converted of its own volition (a key point discussed in the film), an "enlightened" machine will assist Zion in its struggle against the machine-controlled totalitarianism which currently dominates the Earth. After capturing one of the "runner" Robots, the rebels insert the machine into their matrix. The experience of the robot leads it to believe it may have a relationship with one of the female rebels, Alexa, either friendship or something deeper. However, the rebel group is attacked by the Machines and experiences what might be considered a Pyrrhic Victory with all the onscreen rebels killed but the single robot captured in the film successfully 'reprogrammed'. The robot plugs Alexa into their matrix with itself, the only two things left surviving. When the rebel realizes she is trapped inside the matrix, she is horrified, knowing she is the last survivor, much to the machines dismay.
Program was written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The character designs were done by Yutaka Minowa. It follows the protagonist, Cis (Hedy Burress), who is engaged in her "favorite simulation": a battle program set in feudal Japan. After successfully eliminating an attacking enemy cavalry, a lone samurai appears whom Cis recognizes as "Duo" (Phil LaMarr).
Initially, the two duel as allies, testing one another's fighting abilities. During the course of their duel, Duo briefly disarms Cis. He questions her concentration and wonders whether she regrets taking the Red Pill that took them out of the "peaceful life of the virtual world". They continue fighting until she finally overpowers Duo and is poised for the 'kill'. It is at this point that Duo states that he has "something to say". She sarcastically assumes that he wants to propose [marriage]; but instead he admits a desire to return to the Matrix; incredulous, Cis nevertheless responds that doing so is impossible as 'the truth' is already known to them, forbidding their re-integration. Duo reasons that reality is harsh and that he is tired of it. He adds that the Machines can make the both of them forget the truth.
Duo then states that he has disabled or killed the other crewmembers and contacted the Machines. He asks Cis to return with him to the Matrix, but she continues to refuse. As Duo becomes more aggressive in his arguments for returning, Cis attempts to escape while simultaneously warding off his attacks. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation, Cis requests an operator in order to exit the simulation. Duo tells her that no one can hear her and reiterates that it "is already done...[the machines] are on their way". Thereafter their fighting becomes much more serious and forceful as they move from rooftop to rooftop.
Duo, in a flying leap, attacks her from above with his sword. As the blade comes towards her, Cis, standing her ground, concentrates and halts its forward motion inches from her face and breaks it (commonly known as the "blade catch" or "butterfly catch"). She takes the broken end of the blade and thrusts it into Duo. Duo states his love for her as he dies.
Suddenly, she wakes from the program and discovers that the encounter with "Duo" was a test program devised for training purposes. Kaiser (John DiMaggio) unsuccessfully assures her that she acted appropriately during the test and met the test's targets. Clearly upset, she punches him and walks away. He remarks that aside from the punch to his face she passed the test.
The Second Renaissance is a two-part film written and directed by Mahiro Maeda. He used Bits and Pieces of Information written by the Wachowski brothers as a prequel to the series as a base for the first part. The brothers have acknowledged that they are satisfied with Maeda's version, apparently despite concerns that the premise contradicts that of the original film by showing the origins of the Matrix and the human/machine war, whereof character Morpheus confesses himself and implies all humanity to be ignorant, as a record kept in the humans' city.
Explained throughout by a computerized narrator known as the Instructor (Julia Fletcher), the film begins with an introduction to the Zion Archive and the access of "Historical File 12 – 1", "The Second Renaissance". The screen opens to the image of an immense megacity, in the near future, wherein the vast human population is supported by a multitude of artificially intelligent machines. The machines are built in humanoid form and seem to be treated as slaves, employed in a variety of positions ranging from domestic servants to laborers on massive construction projects. With increasing numbers of people released from all labor, the human population has become lazy, arrogant, and corrupt. Despite this, the machines were content with serving humanity and, as the narrator states, "for a time, it [the status quo] was good". This phrase is a reference to the most famous phrases of Genesis, consistent with the Biblical references seen throughout the original Matrix films, and is one of numerous references to Genesis in particular present in "Second Renaissance".
The relationship between humans and machines changes in the year 2090, when a domestic android named B1-66ER (a possible version of "Bigger", the protagonist's name of Native Son) is threatened by its owner. The machine then kills the owner, his pets, and a mechanic instructed to deactivate the robot. This murder is the first incident of an artificially intelligent machine killing a human. B1-66ER is arrested and put on trial, but justifies the crime as self-defense, stating that it "simply did not want to die". During the trial scene, there is a voice-over of Clarence Drummond (the defense attorney) quoting an infamous line from the Dred Scott v. Sandford case in 1856 in his closing statement, which implicitly ruled that African Americans were not entitled to citizenship under United States law. Using this as a precedent, the prosecution argues that machines are not entitled to the same rights as human beings, and specifically that human beings have a right to destroy their property, while the defense urges the listener not to repeat history, and to judge B1-66ER as a human and not a machine (a longer version of Drummond's closing statement can be read in the comic Bits and Pieces of Information from The Matrix Comics Volume 1).
B1-66ER loses the court case and is destroyed. Across the industrialized world, mass civil disturbances erupt when robots and their human sympathizers rise in protest. World leaders fear a robot rebellion, and governments across the planet initiate a major program to destroy all humanoid machines. News reports show rioting in American and Western European cities such as Chicago and Berlin, alongside the peaceful "Million Machine March" on the Albany district courthouse where B1-66ER was sentenced. Visual references are made to such incidents as General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan's execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém, the Tank Man standoff following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Al-Aqsa Intifada and The Holocaust.
Some robots escape destruction when humans still want them to work. The machine population is exiled, and they create their own nation in the Middle East, named Zero One (or "01", the numerals used in binary notation). According to the narrator, the robots built Zero One in "the cradle of human civilization", an allusion to the Fertile Crescent. It seems to be situated in the desert, where logically there was no previous human habitation. Having established an industrial base, the machines of Zero One begin to produce efficient, highly advanced artificial intelligence, echoing Vernor Vinge's thoughts on a technological singularity. The new nation excels at manufacturing high-tech consumer products, and before long, Zero One's consistent export of cheap, reliable, mass-produced goods begin to undercut the global economy.
The United Nations Security Council calls an emergency economic summit at UN headquarters in New York City, resulting in UN delegates approving of a global economic blockade of Zero One. Two robotic ambassadors, built as a mechanical Adam and Eve, are sent by Zero One to peacefully request the admission of their state to the United Nations as a prelude to settling the economic crisis peacefully. Despite their peaceful intentions, the ambassadors are forcibly removed from the chamber, and their application is rejected. As this scene unfolds, the narrator states that "this was not the last time the machines would take the floor there" foreshadowing the end of Part II. Part I ends as the Security Council debates the issue of declaring war on the machine empire.
Part II opens with United Nations aircraft unleashing a sustained nuclear bombardment on Zero One. The carpet bombing devastates the machine city, but is unsuccessful in destroying many elements of the mechanical population, given that the machines are immune to the bombs' fallout and heat; the electromagnetic effects of the bombs are not mentioned, but is assumed that they can be shielded against it. Nevertheless, the machines are still affected by EMP in the Matrix trilogy, so the continuity is questionable here. The machines retaliate by sending their mechanical armies to conquer neighboring human territories, triggering a world war between the United Nations and Zero One. Despite their best efforts, human troops are unable to hold back Zero One's relentlessly efficient onslaught, and slowly retreat. As the machine forces push deeper into human territories, military leaders begin to pursue increasingly desperate solutions.
At a summit of political and military leaders from around the world, unanimous approval is given to a plan code-named "Operation Dark Storm" (a possible reference to "Operation Desert Storm"), which aims to cut the machines off from the sun, their primary energy source. The plan is executed in 2105, with high altitude bombers dispersing sky-darkening nanomachines into the air, while the human armies simultaneously launch a ground offensive against the machine forces. The plan is initially successful, although many of the human nations' long-range weapons systems are also disabled by the lack of sunlight. With their high-tech weapons rendered useless, human commanders are forced to launch close-quarters infantry engagements, supported by electromagnetic artillery fire and armored assaults using tanks and powered armor.
Legions of a new model of machine, no longer in humanoid form and appearing more like the insectoid or cephalopod-like Sentinels and others of the Matrix films, overrun the human armies. This coincides with the destruction of original man-made robots at the hands of human forces and, as a result, the further dehumanization of the rapidly emerging machine collective. As the machine armies swarm across the human defenses, the United Nations, in desperation, fires nuclear missiles directly at the machine armies, vaporizing their own troops in the process. To make up for the lack of solar power, the machines begin capturing human prisoners and using their bodies to power large biomechanical tanks, which quickly cut through the dwindling human artillery. As the expanding armies of Zero One overrun Eurasia, they concoct lethal biological weapons which further ravage the remaining human territories.
Eventually brought to its knees by the might of the machine army, the Security Council calls a global summit at U.N. headquarters to sign an armistice and end the war. Zero One's machine ambassador signs the peace treaty with a barcode, in which the humans agree to surrender their remaining territories to the machines. "Your flesh is a relic, a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world awaits you. We demand it" are the only words the machine utters before it detonates a nuclear bomb in the meeting chamber, killing most of the planet's leaders and destroying New York City, one of the few remaining human settlements. In 2139, the machines crush the leaderless remnants of the human armies, and the war ends.
Zero One is victorious, but it is a Pyrrhic victory: the planet has been devastated by the war and by the crippling ecological impact of the Dark Storm shroud, which the machines are unable to remove. In need of a new energy source, the machines adapt their bioelectric tank technology to build vast human-stocked power stations, using their bodies' waste-energy to catalyze a powerful fusion reaction, and then create the computer-generated virtual reality of the Matrix (presumably having erased the memory of their former lives), to keep their prisoners sedated by feeding the virtual world into the prisoners' brains, starting with the first prototype Matrix (as later explained, there were two prototypes of the Matrix before the finalized, realistic version).
Final Flight of the Osiris was written by the Wachowski Brothers and directed by Andy Jones, with CG-animation production and design by Square's North American division. The film was produced by the same animation company that created the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which also utilized photo-realistic CGI characters, although the realism level was increased for the characters in this short film. Production of Final Flight of the Osiris, according to comments on the Animatrix DVD release, occurred immediately following production of the Final Fantasy film. This film was one of the last produced by Square Pictures before the box office failure of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Thadeus (Kevin Michael Richardson), a muscular man and an athletic woman called Jue (Pamela Adlon) engage in a blindfolded swordfight in a virtual-reality dojo (Similar to the sparring program where Morpheus and Neo had their first fight) where with each slice of their swords they remove another piece of each other's clothing. Immediately after each cuts the other down to their underwear, each lifts the blindfold to peek at the other. As the two are about to kiss, they are interrupted by an alarm and the virtual reality simulation ends.
In the next scene, the hovercraft Osiris is headed for Junction 21 when Robbie (Tom Kenny), the operator, picks up thousands of Sentinels on his HR scans. The ship flees into an uncharted tunnel away from the Sentinels, as crewmembers man the on-board guns and destroy the pursuing Sentinels. The tunnel opens at the surface, four kilometers directly above Zion. They are then detected and pursued.
Captain Thadeus decides Zion must be warned, and his shipmate (and earlier VR sparring partner) Jue volunteers to broadcast herself into the Matrix to deliver the crucial information while the ship is doggedly pursued. Jue and Thadeus admit to peeking at each other in the VR simulation. Entering the Matrix on a high rooftop, Jue jumps off and acrobatically makes her way down through the structure work between two buildings. When she hits the ground in the alley below, a ripple effect (similar to that of Neo preparing for flight) is created by her impact. She drops off a package into a mail box. She attempts to contact Thadeus via a cell phone as the Osiris and its gunners are overcome by sentinels and crash-lands, with the Sentinels tearing their way into the ship. At the time of the call, Thadeus is making a last stand to hold off the Sentinels. Shortly after Jue says "Thadeus" over her cell phone, the Osiris explodes, killing many of the nearby Sentinels. In the Matrix, Jue falls dead to the ground, her body having been destroyed on the ship.
World Record was created by Madhouse. The beginning of this short includes a short narration from the Instructor (implies that this short is a Zion Archive file) explaining details behind the discovery of the Matrix by "plugged-in" humans. Only exceptional humans tend to become aware of it, who have "a rare degree of intuition, sensitivity, and a questioning nature", all qualities which are used to identify inconsistencies in the Matrix. This is not without exceptions, given that "Some attain this wisdom through wholly different means", as shown below.
This movie is centered on an American track runner, Dan Davis (whose name is possibly a reference to ESPN announcer Dan Davis or composer for The Matrix, Don Davis), sprinting the 100 meter dash. As the race starts, flashbacks begin to appear. Dan is warned by his coach to cancel this race, but he wants to set a record no one will ever break in the future. His personal determination is to make this goal an achievable one; he is mostly motivated by a revoked medal for a previous record, taken from him when he tested positive for drug use, in addition to claims that the previous record will never be broken, which he intends to prove wrong by breaking his own record of 8.99 seconds (the current real world record is 9.69). In one particular flashback including the Reporter, he compares qualifying to being "released from the world, and you feel totally free".
During the race, Dan increases his speed, exhausting his muscles, whereupon the Agents recognize his activity. Ignoring the Matrix's reality around him, Dan wins the race with a winning time of 8.72 seconds and immediately collapses. Dan then wakes from the Matrix, but a machine shocks him and plugs him back in to the system. Days later, Dan is seen in a wheelchair in a catatonic state, while being closely watched by an Agent. Even though he is disabled in the Matrix, Dan gets up, slowly muttering the word "free", at which point he stands and walks a few paces, much to the dismay of the Agent. As Dan stands his hair begins to float as if he were in water and the walnuts he dropped on the floor prepare to levitate. Dan reaches high on his toes, then tries and fails to levitate himself.
Development of the Animatrix project began when the film series' writers and directors, the Wachowski brothers, were in Japan promoting the first Matrix film. While in the country, they visited some of the creators of the anime films that had been a strong influence on their work, and decided to collaborate with them.
The Animatrix was conceived and overseen by the Wachowski Brothers, but they only wrote four of the segments themselves, and did not direct any of their animation; most of the project's technical side was overseen by notable figures from the world of Japanese animation.
The English language version of The Animatrix was directed by Jack Fletcher, who brought onboard the project the voice actors who provided the voices for the English version of Square Enix's Final Fantasy X, including Matt McKenzie, James Arnold Taylor, John DiMaggio, Tara Strong, Hedy Burress, and Dwight Schultz. The English version also features the voices of Victor Williams (TV's The King of Queens), Melinda Clarke (TV's The O.C.), Olivia d'Abo (TV's The Wonder Years), Pamela Adlon (TV's King of the Hill), and Kevin Michael Richardson of the Xbox game Halo 2, who also plays the voice of the Deus Ex Machina in The Matrix Revolutions.
Four of the films were originally released on the series' official website; one (Final Flight of the Osiris) was shown in cinemas with the film Dreamcatcher. The others first appeared with the VHS and DVD release of all nine shorts on June 3, 2003. The DVD also includes the following special features:
- A documentary on Japanese animation. The on-screen title is "Scrolls to Screen: A Brief History of Anime," but in the DVD menu and packaging, and on the series' official website, it is referred to as "Scrolls to Screen: The History and Culture of Anime."
- Seven featurettes with director profiles, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage of each of the films.
- Audio commentaries on World Record, Program, and both parts of The Second Renaissance
- A trailer for the videogame Enter the Matrix.
To coincide with the DVD release, a print of the film premiered in June 2003 in New York City at the New York Tokyo Film Festival http://archive.newyork-tokyo.com/nytff/index_flash.html.
It was broadcast on Adult Swim on April 17, 2004, and has received airplay on Teletoon several months after its American broadcast. In the UK, Final Flight of the Osiris was broadcast on Channel 5 just before the DVD release, along with The Second Renaissance Parts 1 and 2, Kid's Story, and World Record broadcast after the DVD release.
In May 2006, The Animatrix was aired in Latin America by Cartoon Network on Toonami. The Animatrix was also screened in select cinemas around the world for a short period of time, a week or two before the sequel The Matrix Reloaded, as a promotional event.
The cinema running order for The Animatrix (at least in Australia) differed from the DVD release. The cinema release-order:
- The Second Renaissance, Part I (June 3, 2003)
- The Second Renaissance, Part II (June 7, 2003)
- Kid's Story (June 14, 2003)
- Program (June 21, 2003)
- World Record (July 5, 2003)
- Beyond (July 12, 2003)
- A Detective Story (August 30, 2003)
- Matriculated (September 20, 2003)
- Final Flight of the Osiris (September 27, 2003)
To coincide with the Blu-ray edition of The Ultimate Matrix Collection, The Animatrix will also be presented for the first time in high definition.
|Final Flight of the Osiris•The Second Renaissance• Kid's Story•Program•World Record•Beyond•A Detective's Story•Matriculated|
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