(We start off today's episode with lines of code raining down on the screen which not only has random Japanese hiragana, but also words like Bloated, Pretentious, Heavy Handed, Dated and Artsy, all of this being the Matrix Month card.)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Well, seeing how The Matrix clearly ripped off some of Japan's most famous animes, Japan decided they wanted to steal some of that shit back, hence The Animatrix.
(The title of the film appears, then footage of the shorts follow)
NC (vo): After the success of the first Matrix movie and in-between filming the Matrixsequels, several animators and storytellers, including the Wachowskis, decided to get together and do a series of shorts based on the idea of The Matrix. The result is The Animatrix, an anthology that many claim is actually better than the Matrix films themselves. In many respects, they're kind of right. In others, well, let's just say the subtlety of The Matrix mixed with the subtlety of Japan is anything but...subtle.
NC: So let's take a quick glance at one source material stealing from another source material stealing from another source material. This is The Animatrix.
Final Flight of the Osiris
NC (vo): The first one is The Final Flight of the Osiris, a CG short written by the Wachowskis, and, boy, does it show. Aside from the CGI looking for the most part pretty damn impressive, especially when it comes to human textures, it has all the Wachowski trademarks.
(Several scenes about to be mentioned are shown as they're counted down on a caption of the scene's name and a mark)
NC (vo): Totally pointless action scene: Check. Good looking blands trying to sound important but instead sounding disinterested...
Thaddeus: Go. Go. Go!
NC (vo): Check. Horny sexual issues being explored under the guise of avart garde storytelling: Double check. The story is, the Osiris has discovered a drill that the Machines have built to break into Zion, and they have to get that information to Zion as fast as possible. The Matrix, for some reason, is the only way they could get that information to them...does this technological world hate phones for some reason?...and they all end up dying in the process.
NC: Um...sucks to be them?
NC (vo): It would be nice if they actually let us, oh, I don't know, get to know these people so it'd felt more important when they got axed off. But it's pretty obvious it's not the short's intention. The intention, like anything related to The Matrix, is to be an exercise in new technology and looking cool. And for a short, it does that fine. You don't give a shit about what happens to them, but they look so cool while you're not giving a shit about what happens to them. As a fun little demonstration of cool CGI effects and some neat visuals, it's totally passable.
The Second Renaissance
NC (vo): The next one, however, is anything but short. It's another one written by the Wachowskis, describing the history of how the Matrix came into being. And on the one hand, it looks amazing. Some of the imagery is downright inspired and dripping with beautiful animation. With that said, it still doesn't excuse the fact that it makes little to no sense and it's still deep-fried in pretentious batter. I mean, like, extra-crispy pretentious batter.
NC (vo):Kid's Story is the last of the Wachowski-written shorts.
NC (vo): The next one is my absolute favorite.
NC (vo): The next one is pretty well-done, too.
NC (vo): Which brings us to Beyond, which is probably my second-favorite out of the series.
A Detective's Story
NC (vo): Next is A Detective's Story, a story about, what else, a detective.
NC (vo): And the last one is definitely a weird one to say the least.
NC: And that's The Animatrix, and is it truly better than the Matrix movies?
(Clips of The Animatrix are shown as NC gives his final thought)
NC (vo): Personally, I think it is. True, it does have some several bloated moments of self-importance, but I think you've kind of come to expect that from The Matrix anyway. The shorts that work really work, and even the ones that don't still have so much artistic ambition and technical wonder that I still recommend checking them out anyway. Visually spectacular with some interesting ideas, if you're looking for a bit more substance for your ani-money, this is not a bad item to spend it on.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it because...