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The Fine Print
All text is © copyright VIZ, LLC. No reproduction without written permission. All images are © copyright their respective copyright holders as noted. No reproduction without written permission. All images for The Animatrix © 2003 Warner Home Video
THE FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS
Directed by Andy Jones Written by Andy and Larry Wachowski
The Matrix did what no other film had ever done before. It proved that dazzling sci-fi kung fu action, the sort that had only been rendered before in anime, could be convincingly accomplished with-flesh-and-blood actors. Thus, the almost real, but fully computer-generated "Osiris" feels like a step backward. Like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (also directed by Jones and animated by the now-defunct Square USA) one can't help but be impressed at the sheer level of technical achievement… and then immediately go about looking for flaws in it. It doesn't help that we've seen much of this material already in the live-action film, and even some of it again in The Animatrix. The martial arts simulation battle between Neo and Morpheus (echoed in "Program") is replayed once more. And while it manages to excite, and even generate an intended laugh or two, as when the male and female opponents begin removing each other's clothes in combat, it nevertheless strikes a redundant chord. After all, we've become accustomed to people doing this sort of thing for real. While CG images can only hope to trick us into thinking we are looking at live-action film (neatly paralleling how the Matrix offers its prisoners a false illusion of the real world), it skirts by on pure momentum. A ferocious tempo holds up from start to finish, and only someone who can't appreciate a good action scene would complain about the staging of a chase which cross-cuts between the doomed hovercraft Osiris as it flees from a swarm of pursuing sentinels, and our heroine as she races against the clock to deliver a message to Neo. More of a teaser for the The Matrix Reloaded than a true sibling to the other Animatrix pieces (its special status was confirmed by the fact that it was the only one of the shorts to get a theatrical screening), "Osiris" serves as a reminder, in case we've already forgotten, of the look and texture of the live-action films. And as such, it works best as a lesson in why Final Fantasy failed and The Matrix succeeded.