This collection of nine animated films (actually eight, one arbitrarily divided into two parts) inspired by THE MATRIX (1999) explores aspects of Matrix-mythology glossed over in the feature films. The first, "Final Flight of the Osiris," played briefly in theaters shortly before THE MATRIX RELOADED (2003) opened. Animated in the photo-realistic style of 2001'S FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN and written by the Wachowski brothers, "Osiris" follows the ship's last doomed mission. Its crew, Jue and Thadeus (voices of Pamela Segall and Kevin Michael Richardson), are the first to spot the drilling machine and sentinel army that threaten Zion in RELOADED, and Jue makes a daring leap into the Matrix to deliver a warning. "The Second Renaissance, Parts I and II," also written by the Wachowskis, constitute a prequel to both MATRIX features. The conceit: We're viewing Zion historical file 12-1, which chronicles the rise of the machines, from their earliest, mindless incarnations to the sensational murder trial of BI66-ER, the first android to kill its masters, and the founding of the machine nation Zero-One. Persecuted by a coalition of fearful human nations, the citizens of Zero-One fight back; in a last-ditch effort, humanity blots out the sun in hopes of starving the machines of solar energy. But they compensate, eventually enslaving their former human masters. In "Kid's Story," alienated hacker Michael Popper (Clayton Watson) gets a call from Neo (Keanu Reeves) and makes a perilous escape from the Matrix. "Program" follows Cis (Hedy Burress) as she participates in a favorite fight simulation set in feudal Japan. But her training partner, Duo (Phil LaMarr), has made a deal to return to the Matrix; Cis can join him or die. "World Record," the least attractively animated film in the group, chronicles the unusual awakening of Dan Davis (Victor Williams), an Olympic caliber runner who pushes himself beyond the bounds of human endurance and creates a rip in the veil of the Matrix. In the spooky "Beyond," teenage Yoko (Hedy Buress) tracks her missing cat, Yuki, to a local "haunted house" where neighborhood kids have discovered the laws of nature don't apply. Cans float in midair, a broken light bulb appears and disappears in a flash of light, youngsters turn cartwheels in the air and drift to earth like feathers. They're experiencing a glitch in the Matrix, and debuggers are on their way to fix it. Writer-director Koji Morimoto's haunting short story offers a genuinely different view of the world of THE MATRIX, from its old-fashioned Japanese architecture to its quizzical ending. The B&W film noir pastiche "A Detective Story" reaches back into Trinity's (Carrie-Anne Moss) pre-Neo life as a super hacker, and follows the efforts of a hardboiled dick (James Arnold Taylor) to track her down. Finally, in "Matriculated," human revolutionaries try to convert machines to their cause by creating a Matrix of their own. Though the premise is clever, writer-director Peter Chung ("Aeon Flux") gets bogged down in psychedelic images that make his film look like a Frutopia commercial. MATRIX completists will revel in the films' interlocking stories and animation buffs will appreciate the range of talent the Wachowskis brought to bear on these shorts, including noted anime directors Yoshiaki Kawajiri (VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST) and Shinichiro Watanabe (COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE). -- Maitland McDonagh
Visit the TV Guide Store and purchase our lenticular Matrix cover set!
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 2003
- Review: This collection of nine animated films (actually eight, one arbitrarily divided into two parts) inspired by THE MATRIX (1999) explores aspects of Matrix-mythology glossed over in the feature films. The first, "Final Flight of the Osiris," played briefly in… (more)