Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Matrix Retrospectived: The Animatrix(2003) -PART 3

Here we are with the conclusion of our run of The Animatrix.  This glorious collection of shorts displays what seems like an endless amount of possibilities for this franchise outside of its main story.  You don't need Neo, Morpheus or Agent Smith to fill this universe.  I'm surprised this franchise hasn't turned to TV.  It would be a PERFECT medium to continue these stories.  The format would allow for really cool one-offs and interested further explorations of The Matrix that could take their time and not have to get to an endgame due to having to be concealed within 2.5 hours.  For now, thank you to this brilliant little run of shorts, while they can be incredibly different visions and stories, they manage to maintain the integrity, philosophy and heart of the series, easily making it one of the family in this franchise.

Director: Koji Morimoto
Written by: Koji Morimoto
Starring: Hedy Burress, Tress MacNeille, Tara Strong, Jill Talley, Pamela Adlon, Tom Kenny

I couldn't tell you why, but when I first saw The Animatrix, this was my favorite entry.  Its an interesting one, but I don't think it'd take the title now.  Its a fun exploration of kids finding an anomaly or glitch in the Matrix.  What is told to be a "haunted house" ends up being a little spot where all the laws of physics seem to be ignored.  Our character Yoko and kids have a lot of fun exploiting these properties until Agents and an extermination team show up to close it down and "fix" it.  That's really all their is with this one.  It makes for an interesting study up on your first visit, but its really not much more than it is.

Detective Story
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Written by:  Ellen Moore, Manjiro Ooshio, Shinchiro Watanabe
Starring: James Arnold Taylor, Carrie Anne-Moss, Terrence 'TC' Carson, Matt McKenzie

This one is a showstopper.  Told in old school noir fashion, this tale follows a private investigator hired to find Trinity.  This story, complete with narration brings darkness, mystery and suspense with every corner it turns.  Its almost scary at times as well.  I don't want to talk too much about it as to spoil for those who haven't seen it.  The art direction is outstanding in this one with a tremendous sense of style and character.

Detective Story also falls under another one of those Twilight Zone type entries.  And I really like the concept of the Agents beating Trinity to the punch of getting someone out of the Matrix.  Plus, yaya Trinity is in this one!  If The Matrix were put into a television series, one option that really would be worth looking into would be an anthology driven one.  Where, you don't have to have a continuous story week to week.  Just different "Tales of The Matrix".

Director: Peter Chung
Written by: Peter Chung
Starring:  Melinda Clarke, Olivia d'Abo, Dwight Schultz, James Arnold Taylor, Rodney Saulsberry

This one comes from the man behind Aeon Flux (a show I referred to earlier).  And it clearly features his touch.  Matriculated has a group of humans trying to convert robots to their side, having them discover on their own a free will with which they don't have.  In order to do this, the humans have a really weird kaleidoscope-like program with really trippy psychedelic renditions of themselves inside it.

It's all interrupted when machines discover the hideout and attack the humans.  The humans with their already converted robots do battle, only to pretty much become toast.  However, the robot we have in this one has been successfully converted, but just in time to be alone.  I really like the idea behind this one, but can't help but think its also a rather weak entry.  If any of these entries needed more time to tell their story its this one.  It needed a bit more length and a lot less time focused on being "weird".  By the time the battle comes its almost a "who gives a flip" in terms of battle casualties.  The ending is pretty cool, but would have been far more impactful if there was more development.

So that's The Animatrix.  What were some of your favorite ones?  Least favorite?  I think this is a very very strong entry for a "side project" for a feature film.  So strong I consider it very much in canon with the entire series.  It means just as much to me as any of the live action entries.  What say you about it?  Leave your thoughts below!

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