The big picture
- The Animatrix is an animated anthology that contextualizes and expands on the world established in The Matrix series.
- The two parts of The Second Renaissance explore the historical events and conflicts that led to humanity’s demise at the hands of machines, delving into themes of justice and the cyclical nature of history.
- The Animatrix explores philosophical undertones and continues to build on the themes of choice, reality, and humanity’s relationship to technology introduced in The Matrix. It serves as a bridge between the first film and its sequels.
With their ambitious performance in the second year, they have Wachowskis wrote a new chapter in cinema history. The combination of science fiction, martial arts, anime sensibilities, groundbreaking visual effects and thematically dense storytelling is well known. The Matrix is one of the ultimate genre-blending exercises ever committed to celluloid. And while the three sequels could hardly compete in terms of quality and originality, the animated anthology from 2003 was The Animatrixfeatures some of the greatest stories and images the franchise has produced. Published at the same time Matrix ReloadedThis diverse collection of short films contextualizes and builds upon the world created by the 1999 film. It takes viewers deeper into humanity’s war with the machines than any episode before or since.
Why was The Animatrix animated and not live-action?
Image via Warner Bros.
However, the Wachowskis clearly drew inspiration from many genres and ideas when writing and directing The Matrix, it’s only fitting that her deep love of anime would come full circle to this 2003 anthology. Consisting of nine short films, four of which were written by the Wachowskis themselves, The Animatrix features a variety of styles and combined talents from some of the animation industry’s most well-known and respected artists. Among those involved were Mahiro Maeda (who also contributed to this Kill Bill Vol. 1 And Mad Max: Fury Road), Shinichiro Watanabe (known for his direction Cowboy Bebop), Koji Morimoto (who worked on the iconic Akira), And Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Writer/Director of Ninja scroll). By nurturing and empowering artists whose work has undoubtedly influenced their own work, the Wachowskis’ willingness to grant agency and autonomy to their collaborators has only enriched and complemented the world they created, paying homage to a beloved style of animation without this one The Matrix may not exist.
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“The Animatrix” explains the beginning of the machine and human war
Image via Warner Bros
Even though it is so popular The Matrix Upon release, it was not uncommon for moviegoers to remark on the film’s sometimes confusing and complex narrative. Although the film was praised for its action, imagery, and overall originality, its philosophical undertones and commentary on the nature of reality often sparked a general feeling of confusion. To address this confusion and the questions that inevitably arise from it, The Animatrix proves crucial in conceptualizing its predecessor’s backstory. Two of the film’s shorts, titled “The Second Renaissance Part One” and “The Second Renaissance Part Two”, serve as an extensive prologue to the first film, taking the viewer on a historical journey outlining the series of events and conflicts , which have led to the downfall of humanity at the hands of their machine counterparts. The Wachowskis once again demonstrated their talent for world-building by writing both installments of The Second Renaissance, and the result is a significant expansion of the foundation of their franchise.
In the first part of The Second Renaissance, it is revealed that the initial spark that led to a machine rebellion was a court case involving a robot that killed its owner in self-defense. Referring to the infamous 1857 court case Dred Scott v. Sanford, in which the Supreme Court ruled that African Americans were not protected as citizens by the U.S. Constitution, part one of “The Second Renaissance” alludes forcefully to a dark chapter in human history. As the future justice system draws a hard line in the sand, the bitter debate over civil rights for machines divides society and leads to mass chaos and unrest. The machines eventually isolate themselves in the Middle East and thrive for a time, but eventually fall victim to the predations of an increasingly hostile and fearful humanity.
In the second part of The Second Renaissance, all hell predictably breaks loose as the independent machine society is perceived as a threat to humanity, ratcheting up the tension with an all-out attack on the AI society. But the machines prove resilient to the consequences of this destruction and outlast humanity in a brutal war of attrition. In the end, they emerge victorious and enslave their former masters to use them as a source of energy. Addressing timeless themes such as what it means to be sentient, notions of justice, and the bitter irony of evolving technology turning against its creator, “The Second Renaissance” paints a vivid portrait of a civilization’s demise creates an exhibition framework through which the viewer can better understand the world the Wachowskis imagined. Among the nine short films in the anthology, this two-parter is particularly poignant, not to mention horrifying, due to its recognizable parallels to human behavior and the cyclical nature of the story.
What is the meaning behind “The Animatrix”?
Image via Warner Bros.
Aside from its exciting action and graphics, The Matrix introduced the audience to a universe full of philosophical undertones. After exploring ideas surrounding free will, faith, and man’s relationship with technology in the first film, the Wachowskis and their collaborators expanded further with heady themes The Animatrix. “Program,” the fourth installment of the anthology, features beautifully crafted, breathtaking animation and tells the story of C sharp and duo. Training in a simulation set in the feudal era of Japanese history, the short film focuses on the existential dilemma of choice as Cis undergoes a test that leads her to abandon reality in favor of the illusory matrix. Despite being egged on by Duo, Cis ultimately manages to resist the prospect of returning to a world of blissful ignorance, albeit after an intense battle. In its very limited running time, “Program” plays with the universal idea of choosing between hollow comfort and the pursuit of meaning and fulfillment in the face of opposition.
“Final Flight of the Osiris” takes place between “The Matrix” and “The Matrix Reloaded”
Image via Warner Bros.
The first film in the anthology, Final Flight of the Osiris, utilizes cutting-edge, lifelike animation that was prominent in the early 2010s. Written by the Wachowskis and directed by a respected animator Andrew R Jones (Animation director of the similar looking Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within), it essentially serves as a transition to Matrix Reloaded. The film follows the crew of the titular ship and is more representative of the trilogy’s stylistic aesthetic and overall world than any other in the anthology. It’s a tense, action-packed and beautifully animated piece that takes viewers through the dark subterranean realm of the real world as rebels race against time to warn Zion of an impending machine invasion between the first film and its sequels.
Also written by the Wachowskis was “Kid’s Story.” Following Neo’s search for the truth in the first act of The MatrixKid questions his everyday experiences and obsessively wonders what lies behind the veil of his perceived reality. Hot on his trail are agents aware of his attempts to find out the truth, which culminate in a pursuit that results in Kid’s “death.” Introduced to the audience as a supporting character ReloadedLittle to no explanation is given as to how Kid escaped the Matrix, although he and Neo discussed it briefly, but his role in it revolutions is significantly expanded as he joins the fight to defend Zion against machine attack. While “Kid’s Story” isn’t entirely unique or ideas and imagery heavy, it still provides a nice connection to the second and third films by providing the first look at a supporting character while also serving as a callback to the feeling of mystery that is began The Matrix.
Why is “The Animatrix” the best part of the Matrix series?
Image via Warner Bros.
While the 1999 film that started it all is clearly the gold standard of the series, its sequels didn’t fare quite as well. Although it is a box office hit and features some impressive action sequences, Reloaded Many fans felt confused and disconnected from the magic of the first film revolutions was largely seen as a disappointing disappointment, and The Matrix Resurrections polarized by recycling familiar beats and metafictional sensibilities. But The Animatrix is an unsung gem of visual ingenuity, thematic exploration and expansive world-building, complementing its predecessor and successors with stylistic and narrative awe. Coming full circle, the anime-laden anthology also pays worthy homage to Japanese animation by providing a worthy platform for some of the artists who helped inspire the source material.
Source : collider.com