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ANIMATRIX, THE: DVD

SYNOPSES: 
Final Flight of the Osiris 

Written by Andy and Larry Wachowski; Directed by Andy Jones
Animation and production design by Square USA, Inc.
The crew of the hovercraft Osiris must get a message back to Zion, a message of vital importance. Easy to do, but for the armada of Sentinels between them and Zion.

The Second Renaissance – Parts I and II
Written by Andy and Larry Wachowski; Directed by Mahiro Maeda
Animation and production design by Studio4°C, Tokyo
The Genesis of the Matrix: the last cities of mankind, the war with the machines, and humanity’s ultimate downfall. An epic guided tour of the Zion archives and the history of the Matrix.

Kid’s Story
Written by Andy and Larry Wachowski; Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
Animation and production design by Studio4°C, Tokyo
Sitting in his high school classroom, THE KID gets a personalized invitation from Neo (voiced by Keanu Reeves) to escape the Matrix. But finding an exit proves more difficult than he ever imagined.

Program
Written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Animation and production design by Madhouse Studios, Tokyo
In the simulated world of a Samurai training program, CIS, a soldier of Zion, is forced to choose between love and her comrades in the real world.

World Record
Written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri; Directed by Takeshi Koike
Animation and production design by Madhouse Studios, Tokyo
Through an incredible combination of will power and physical strength, DAN, a world-record-holding sprinter, breaks out of the Matrix and gets an all-too-brief glimpse of the real world beyond.

Beyond
Written and directed by Koji Morimoto
Animation and production design by Studio4°C, Tokyo
In a quiet town where all is not as it seems, YOKO finds a bug in the system: an abandoned mansion in which anything seems possible. And then the exterminators arrive to “de-bug”.

A Detective Story
Written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
Animation and production design by Studio4°C, Tokyo
Hard-boiled private investigator ASH tracks cyber-criminal TRINITY (voiced by Carrie-Anne Moss) through the looking glass…

Matriculated
Written and directed by Peter Chung
Animation and production design by DNA, Seoul
A small group of rebels have captured a sentient robot and proceed to program it to act as an ally for their cause. They succeed too well in teaching the robot to prefer their “human Matrix” to machine reality. And the robot’s appetite for the “human Matrix” may exceed the humans’ ability to supply it.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This DVD is full of cool stuff for the Matrix generation. That’s the generation that is growing up on the dividing line between real and virtual entertainment, where nothing is impossible and where animation and live action intersect. It used to be said that animation was the filmmaking technique to use when what you wanted to do couldn’t be done in live action. The Wachowski brothers have changed all that, and this teaser disc takes viewers into the depths of the new witchcraft of animaction. 

The Matrix trilogy is an influential film event for that reason: their images replicate what previously only anime would or could do. The meeting of Japanese anime and western action sensibilities has spawned a hyrbid child for cinema. A cross breed that will alter forever the language limits of filmmaking.

This disc goes some way towards exploring, explaining and examining this fusion. 

The seven shorts are each striving for their own space in this new element. Strangely enough, the ones that have the most appeal for me are the ones that share the old with the new at their extreme ends. What I mean is best exemplified by Detective Story, a noir anime with cool humour, made in black and white and grey (except for the flame of a Zippo), with retro design juxtaposed with the new age technology, and an enigmatic ending.

Kid’s Story also has intriguing, compelling elements, and is freshly animated with a good sense of character – and some fancy skateboarding. World Record is muscly and different, with eye popping animation; Program is visually exciting, too, but the voices (like in many of these) don’t really fit the character images.

The extras - Bonus Data – are fuller and more satisfying than I expected, and the disc’s only weakness is some hard-to-see selection options in the menus here and there. But overall, the sound and image combination is B I G, and needs a decent sound system to be appreciated. The soundscapes in all the shorts are part of the total creative effort and deserve your attention. It’s a trip.

Published June 5, 2003



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ANIMATRIX, THE: DVD (M)
(US)

CAST: animation

DIRECTOR: various

PRESENTATION: 2.35:1 widescreen, 16:9 enhanced; DD 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Scrolls to Screen – the history and culture of Anime; making of featurettes with interviews and behind the scenes; four audio commentaries; Enter the Matrix game trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: June 3, 2003







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