The Animatrix’s centerpiece at the time of its release was Final Flight of the Osiris, which follows a major plot point in The Matrix Reloaded — a ship’s crew racing to warn Zion of an imminent attack...
... right after the horniest sword fight in history.
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It looks like a particularly detailed video game cutscene now, but Final Flight of the Osiris was a technical landmark at the time, using the tech that powered Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
The rest of the collection rejects any attempt at photorealism, leaning into a dazzling array of inventive animation styles instead.
The Second Renaissance recounts the human-machine war from the winners’ perspective, blending heavy-handed recreations of humanity’s bloody past with nightmarish apocalyptic visions.
Kid’s Story recounts how one character in Reloaded broke free of the Matrix — but is more notable for its beautiful pencil-sketch art style.
Not every short is quite as mesmerizing, and some of the stories are quite forgettable, but the collection as a whole is a marvel.
The Wachowskis wrote just four of The Animatrix’s shorts, otherwise giving free rein to the creators who worked on the collection.
The result is an uneven kaleidoscopic whose segments follow their own logic and rhythm, often ignoring the rules set out in The Matrix.
Some are horrific depictions of war; others joyfully explore glitches in the Matrix and celebrate those who rebel against its control.