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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
These reviews contain a few plot spoilers for the Animatrix shorts.
EPISODE REVIEWS BY PATRICK MACIAS
Here we are, ladies and gentlemen: nine animated peeks into the world of The Matrix. Seven shorts by Japanese directors, two by Americans, but a true collaboration all around in every sense. It makes for a sprawling and diverse body of work, a tasting platter of different visual and storytelling styles. Only one key theme seems to run through all the shorts, and that is a sense of intense pessimism. An overwhelming amount of the shorts end with their protagonists no better off than when their segments began. Still, it's nice to see uncompromised visions of the future again, grim though they may be, especially at a time when pop culture has been retreating into fantasy (a la Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter) of late. Of the nine shorts, I feel that at least three ("The Second Renaissance," parts 1 and 2, "Beyond") deserve classic status. The others may have their own vices and virtues, but all should be considered essential viewing. In the wake of Spirited Away's win at the Academy Awards, the release of The Animatrix heralds a whole new era for animation that is, despite its contents, anything but pessimistic. Note that these shorts are reviewed not in the order that they appear on the DVD, but in the order approved by the Wachowski brothers.