Stars: Dane A. Davis, Debi Derryberry, Julia Fletcher, Dwight Schultz, Jill Talley
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 89 minutes
Matrix writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski commissioned seven artists from Japan, America and Korea to make nine short films set in the world of their feature trilogy. Some of the top anime directors contributed to this anthology, including Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll), Koji Morimoto (Robot Carnival), and Shinchiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop). Some of the films tie directly into the narrative of the live-action movies. Drawn in a style reminiscent of Jean "Moebius" Giraud, Mahiro Maeda's The Second Renaissance (Part I & Part II) depicts the human-machine wars that caused the enslavement of humanity and the creation of the Matrix. The duel between two flamboyantly costumed Kabuki warriors in Kawajiri's Program is an expanded version of the cybernetic training Neo (Keanu Reeves) undergoes in the first Matrix film. Watanabe evokes the look of old newspaper photographs in A Detective Story, which falls outside the storyline of the features. Fast-paced, violent and grim, The Animatrix is an uneven but intriguing compilation that represents a new level in the ongoing cross-pollination between Japanese animation and American live action. (Not rated, suitable for ages 16 and older: considerable violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
The prolonged barrage engulfed Zero-One in the glow of a thousand suns. But unlike their former masters with their delicate flesh, the machines had little to fear of the bombs' radiation and heat. Thus did Zero-One's troops advance outwards in every direction. And one after another, mankind surrendered its territories. So the leaders of men conceived of their most desperate strategy yet. A final solution: the destruction of the sky.