HD DVD Review: The Ultimate Matrix Collection, Part 2 – The Animatrix

(Part 1, pt 3)

What could be categorized as a work of cooperative fan fiction, The Animatrix is an exquisite homage to the story crafted by the Wachowski brothers. They actually wrote four shorts of the nine piece collection, but all of the segments were directed not by the Wachowskis, but by revered masters of the anime world. Because The Animatrix debuted only a month after the first sequel, The Matrix Reloaded, much of its meaning was not clear. Now, that Reloaded and Revolutions have been available for several years; Animatrix absolutely deserves a second viewing. The only downfall is that it is not in high definition, but it is some damn fine work

Here’s a look at a few:

The Final Flight of the Osiris

If anyone had doubts about whether they should spend their time on something so often perceived as trivial as anime – then they need to be indoctrinated by something of the quality of Final Flight of the Osiris. Done in photorealistic CGI animation; Osiris is a very pretty bit of filmmaking. And who would expect that even the sound would have such a big picture feel. Andy Jones, probably one of the more recognized names to a mainstream audience, directed this gem.

The Second Renaissance – Part I

The look is more like ‘old fashioned’ animation, but the music and story of course – is much edgier. The basic premise is familiar, similar to I Robot, with hundreds of automated humanoids but it quickly depicts man’s inhumanity to man, or in this case…machine. Scenes that invoke various historical wartime atrocities: the My Lai Massacre, Tiananmen Square, or Auschwitz, triggers guilt over what horrors we are capable of committing.

1. The Second Renaissance – Part II

The story of 01- the early Machine City, and the continuation of a ‘prequel’ to The Matrix. This short tells of the final battle between man and machine, how man scorched the sky to retaliate against the machines, and how the machines pretty much took over the world.

2. Kid’s Story

Not my favorite segment but still interesting, it’s the back story of the young man that Neo refers to as “Kid” in Matrix Reloaded. We learn why he’s so annoyingly, yet endearingly devoted to Neo.

Detective Story

Noir Anime. Pretty funky.


This is the trippiest of all, the visuals are far-out but gorgeous. The animation style is hard to define, part photo-realism CGI, and part regular drawing. Some Matrix-free type folks find and rehabilitate machines. They actually jack-in these machines to the Matrix, and run a sort of indoctrination program to show the machines that Man can be their friend. As a group is working this program in a newly found machine, Sentinels (Squiddies) attack this human stronghold, and though most of the humans are killed, the newly rehabbed machine fights to defend them.

Again, this nine piece work is definitely worth seeing, but it’s a shame that it was not released in HD. Let’s hope when it does, that the price for a high def disc will have come down.

Mary K. is a freelance writer living in the Greater Boston area. She is also Features Editor for Hot Psychology Magazine, and has contributed to the recently published anthology, Brewed Awakenings.

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