"I take orders from the Octoboss."

The Animatrix

A widely circulated anecdote about THE MATRIX (I believe coming from an interview on the DVD extras) says that when the Wachowskis pitched the movie to producer Joel Silver they showed him Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime film GHOST IN THE SHELL on video and said, “We wanna do that for real.”

The internet being the internet, that story evolved into the usual exaggerations – THE MATRIX is nearly a scene-for-scene remake, so close they had to ask permission, bullshit like that. There’s a cool video on Youtube showing images from THE MATRIX that seem inspired by or lifted from GHOST – lines of green code, plugs in the back of necks, a cool way that Neo lands – but it runs 1:16. There are quite a few other parts in THE MATRIX, in my opinion.

Still, the influence is undeniable, and the Wachowskis have been open about it. You can see what they were interested in there: the intersections between man and machine, super-powered battles in the midst of or above a large city, badasses in sunglasses taking on a bunch of armored cops, or being clawed at by inhuman machines. They did all that for real.

While promoting the movie in Japan the siblings took the opportunity to visit some of the animators they admired, and the idea came up that there could be anime inspired by the movie inspired by anime. So while working on the live action sequels, they also recruited several directors and animation studios to turn their anime-for-real into a real anime, creating nine shorts exploring the world of THE MATRIX from different angles and in different styles.

Released in proximity to THE MATRIX RELOADED, a few of the shorts fill in backstory or set up events and characters in the sequel. Others tell stories about new characters within the universe. Four of them were “released over the World Wide Web” on thematrix.com starting in early 2003. It was quite an event, not only because it was a cool idea to see THE MATRIX in animation, but because people were hungry for hints about what the fuck the upcoming sequels were gonna be. Also it took forever to load videos back then, so you had some extra anticipation time there.

Two months before RELOADED’s May 15, 2003 release date, The Final Flight of the Osirus played theatrically in front of DREAMCATCHER. The full ANIMATRIX anthology was released on DVD and VHS in June.

Written by the Wachowskis and directed by Andrew R. Jones, The Final Flight of the Osirus is actually not anime at all. Rather than hand drawn animation, it continues in the photorealistic computer animation style of its soon-to-be-defunct studio Square USA’s uncanny-valley-istic FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN.

The crew of a hovercraft much like Morpheus’s Nebuchadnezzar discover a massive army of Sentinels (the robotic squids) drilling toward the human-survivor-city of Zion. They know it’s too late to get away themselves, but they try to stay alive long enough for Jue (Pamela Adlon, THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE) to enter The Matrix and drop a package into a mailbox that will act as a warning to Zion. Apparently this sets up the associated video game Enter the Matrix, and the brave actions of the crew are also referred to in RELOADED. The Sentinel army now known to be approaching are a threat throughout the movie.

The main thing I remembered about this one was the animation style, though I believe at the time I recognized it was an improvement over FINAL FANTASY. According to an NBC story at the time the short on its own cost $5 million and was animated over 13 months on about 800 machines. The article says it “arguably stands as the best big-screen example of computer-generated imagery, or CGI” and marvels at details like visible veins, pores and goosebumps on the characters, which it says are made up of around 8 times as much information as the FINAL FANTASY characters. Even so, they were wise enough to open on two characters wearing blindfolds, since dead-looking eyes were the biggest weakness of the technology at the time.

In the long run Jones won the argument about photorealistic animation – he was later the animation supervisor for Jon Favreau’s JUNGLE BOOK and LION KING remakes. (I thought the former was really good and the latter at least looks beautiful.) And watching Osirus now I’m able to just go with it and appreciate this as a cool little story of sci-fi valor. It also brings some horniness into The Matrix – before the trouble starts, Jue and Thadeus (Kevin Michael Richardson, BASEKETBALL) spar in a simulation like Morpheus’ dojo, but they playfully slice each other’s clothes off with swords and then try to peek at each others’ junk.

Who could stay mad at these guys?

The Second Renaissance Parts I and II, written and directed by future FURY ROAD concept artist Mahiro Maeda, based on a comics story by the Wachowskis and Geof Darrow, is the world-building-est portion of the project. Presented as a video file from the Zion Archives (which remind me of “the Akashic Records” on the Prince album The Rainbow Children), it uses a narrator and animated file footage to fill in details about the rise of the machines and the fall of humanity.

While the machines in THE MATRIX are a faceless evil, The Second Renaissance shows that mankind fuckin started it. In the mid-21st century, artificially intelligent robots work as servants, and have no rights. When one named B1-66ER is put on trial for killing his owner to avoid being junked, it leads to worldwide unrest. Eventually machines segregate from humanity and form their own massive city called 01. They try to make peace and send android ambassadors (one with a top hat and mustache!) to the U.N., but humans fear them and start a nuclear war. It turns out the sunless skies we see in the movie are not a result of the nukes, but a later, separate plan to pollute the air and take away the machines’ access to solar power, thus leading to their “let’s just use humans as batteries” plan.

Though unmistakably a “here, let me explain the backstory I came up with” presentation, I find The Second Renaissance captivating and at times powerful. Maeda and the animators skillfully mimic handheld news cameras, chyrons, various video formats and glitches to add a sheen of realism to disturbing segments of man’s inhumanity to machines. I kinda think it’s in poor taste that they have an allusion to infamous Vietnam War execution footage, but it definitely gets the point across.

I don’t consider this the best of the bunch story-wise, but it’s definitely the one that most informs the live action sequels. Seeing the machines’ point of view doesn’t take away the righteousness of Neo’s cause; though the machines started out in the right, their lack of humanity leads them to indefensible actions like experiments in human torture and, of course, using us as a power source without permission. That they tried nicer things first and we should’ve worked something out doesn’t make this outcome any less unacceptable. But this history does show that it’s much more complicated than we knew, and therefore the solution may not be as straight forward as we’d hope.

Kid’s Story, written by the Wachowskis and directed by Shin’ichirô Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), is another direct tie-in to RELOADED, an origin story for the new character The Kid (Clayton Watson). Living as an ordinary high school student in The Matrix, this kid senses that something isn’t right, communicates with Neo, gets chased by agents at school, rides a skateboard through the halls, and “self substantiates” – wakes himself up without a red pill, previously believed to be impossible (even though somebody had to have done it at some point, right?)

I like the sketchy, flowing animation on this one, but the story creeps me out. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen that documentary A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX, where we hear from that guy who murdered his parents under the delusion that he was really living in The Matrix. It’s hard not to think of troubled minds like that when The Kid jumps off a school building, committing suicide in The Matrix but waking up in the real world.

My other complaint about this one is that it sets up unreasonable expectations for The Kid to do some sick kick flips or rail slides in RELOADED. He is never seen with a skateboard in live action. Shame on you, Wachowskis.

Program, written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (NINJA SCROLL, VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST, HIGHLANDER: THE SEARCH FOR VENGEANCE), is the first real standalone story in the collection, and definitely one of my favorites. In a more clearly Japanese tradition than the others, it centers around a high flying rooftop battle in another training simulation. Cis (Hedy Burress, VALENTINE) is practicing in an artificial feudal Japan when a dude named Duo (Phil LaMarr, REAL STEEL) shows up in samurai armor. They spar and talk and eventually he lets slip that he’s trying to pull a Cypher – he has sold the squad out to the machines, hoping to return to the plugged in coppertop lifestyle, and he wants her to join him.

When she wakes up out of the simulation (spoiler) it turns out to have been a ruse – the program was designed to test her loyalties. She does not react to this news with the relief they seem to expect. This is a good mix of animated action and emotional wallop.

World Record, written by Kawajiri and directed by Takeshi Koike (Afro Samurai, REDLINE) is one of the most visually interesting shorts and the most imaginative as far as trying to find something that’s Matrix-applicable but entirely different from what everyone else is doing. This one’s about a competitive runner named Dan (Victor Williams, BOGGY CREEK II: AND THE LEGEND CONTINUES) whose intense concentration while trying to break the world record for the 100 meter dash causes him to become aware of The Matrix. The gangly-but-muscular character designs (described as “deformed” in interviews) and offbeat camera angles seem influenced by Aeon Flux and expressionistically capture the awe of elite athleticism.

In the spirit of Bullet Time, the world slows down to show the movement of his body in stunningly animated detail. It’s harrowing and almost painful to watch the muscles in one leg snap and pop a piece at a time, and to see him somehow maintain balance and momentum to miraculously keep going and just barely stay out of the reach of a mob of agents.

Beyond, written and directed by Koji Morimoto (ROBOT CARNIVAL, MIND GAME [remix]) is a great one that almost wouldn’t have to take place in the MATRIX universe, but it makes it cooler that it does. It’s about some Japanese kids who like to sneak into an abandoned lot to play. They think it’s haunted, but we gather it’s actually a glitch in The Matrix that causes strange phenomenon like objects floating and broken bottles reassembling. They goof around and do things like jump face first in a place where they know they will float inches before hitting the ground. (It reminds me of that great part in POLTERGEIST where she discovers the spot in the kitchen that makes you slide across the floor.) Eventually agents catch on and ruin the fun. Ain’t that the truth.

The detailed backgrounds, natural looking light and immersive sound design really create a strong sense of place and of what it’s like to be a kid hanging out and playing all day. That’s what makes this one really great, regardless of the sci-fi trappings.

A Detective Story is from the same director as Kid’s Story, this time writing as well, and coming up with something much more interesting. As the title implies it’s a hard boiled detective yarn, and it’s about a private eye named Ash (James Arnold Taylor, FOODFIGHT!) who’s hired to track down a hacker called Trinity. (Yes, Carrie-Anne Moss does the voice.) Ash eventually finds her and meets with her on a train. She removes one of those robotic bugs from his eye and together they try to escape the Agents who are using him to trap her.

This is a cool little story animated with a black and white mimeograph sort of look, and I like how it’s not really required to be consistent with the movies. Its version of The Matrix is a retro-present with lots of fedoras and manual typewriter computer keyboards kinda like in BRAZIL.

The last and in my opinion best segment is Matriculated, the one that actually is written and directed by Aeon Flux creator Peter Chung. (Which means this isn’t anime either – Chung and the studio, DNA, are American.) It’s about a group of red pilled human rebels running an unorthodox operation on the surface. Alexa (Melinda Clarke from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD III!) captures a “runner” robot and brings it to a lab, where they plug it and themselves into a machine to explore a bizarre psychedelic virtual world together.

Maybe it’s meant to be another simulation, but I like to think they’re jacking this machine into the human subconscious – The Matrix in reverse. Machines subjugate humans by putting them into a metaphorical dream, while these humans are trying to free a machine by putting it into a literal dream. Their goal is to convert machines to humanity’s cause by making them experience the human mind and emotions. They discuss that it would be easier to try to reprogram the robots, but they think the only way to do it is to give them free will, and let them decide on their own. A very principled approach, and not necessarily portrayed as probably-foolish like Dr. Frankenstein’s plan to domesticate zombies in DAY OF THE DEAD.

During the 2003 Seattle International Film Festival I was waiting in line at the Egyptian Theatre for a movie – it might’ve been the world premiere of Stuart Gordon’s KING OF THE ANTS – and THE ANIMATRIX was screening before it. After it ended I saw a guy talking to a camera crew out front, was told he was one of the directors who had been there to do a Q&A, and realized he was Chung. I remember his hair was very tall at the front, kind of like a pompadour, or like a hairstyle that one of his characters might have.

That’s my whole story. I don’t know why I told you that. But that guy is a genius, I wish he got to make more stuff. Right after this he did the half hour animated movie tie-in THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: DARK FURY. I enjoyed seeing his unique designs and animation in the Riddick universe, but it definitely seemed to be a for-hire apply-cool-visuals-to-our-script kind of job, which is not the best use for such a fiercely original artist. Matriculated, on the other hand, feels pure – a genuine opportunity to use the ideas behind the MATRIX movies as a jumping off point for his own bizarreness and philosophical explorations. It’s also just some stunning looking animation – his recognizable design style with the advantage of digital coloring techniques that didn’t exist when he made Aeon Flux, and seamless integration of CG elements such as the robot characters.

THE ANIMATRIX was just a cool idea, and one that seems pretty natural in the world of comic books the Wachowskis came out of. The Hellraiser series they did some writing for (credited to Lana under her previous name) was an anthology of short stories with wildly varied art styles (often fully painted), with different writers introducing new characters and places in the Hellraiser universe – what if a building was a puzzle box, what if Cenobites were in the old west, etc. Lana’s contributions included a story set in Apartheid-era South Africa and three volumes of Book of the Damned: A Hellraiser Companion which, foreshadowing their approach to The Second Renaissance, attempts to expand on the movies’ mythology in the form of clippings from diaries, tomes and research manuals.

Just by its very nature as animation and a DTV release, I don’t think THE ANIMATRIX was as widely known or seen as the live action features it was a companion to. But it reportedly sold 2.7 million copies, and I think it was generally pretty well received. It was also somewhat influential. In 2008 Warner Brothers used a similar format for BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT, made up of six anime shorts by different directors and meant to take place in the same world as the Christopher Nolan DARK KNIGHT trilogy. (So, just for the record, Killer Croc exists in the Nolanverse. No takebacks.) More recently, Disney produced a series of anime shorts called STAR WARS: VISIONS, though these were presented as separate episodes on Disney+ rather than an anthology.

I enjoyed all of the aforementioned projects, but the latter two are fun just because you get to see different artists interpret or play off of famous Batman or Star Wars concepts. THE ANIMATRIX has that going for it too, but I think it really expands the scope of the story between chapters, and with The Second Renaissance and Matriculated it adds new depth and perspective to the live action movies.

By the end of this movie we’ve seen anime interpret the Wachowskis’ interpretation of anime, we’ve seen their stories told in animation and their concepts filtered through animators’ brains, we’ve learned how and why the machines rose and took over the world, and that there’s a possibility some of them could learn to sympathize with us. And I think that makes it an integral part of the larger story. Not bad for what’s basically internet marketing and a promotional DTV tie-in movie.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 at 9:55 am and is filed under Cartoons and Shit, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

23 Responses to “The Animatrix”

  1. I remember this being my first disappointment of the MATRIXverse.I rented the DVD the day it came out (The good ol days of going to the video store right after school and being able to snatch most of the new releases), but thought that most stories were boring and nearly all of them were depressing as fuck. Not to mention that the backstory was a bit of a lame take on the classic I ROBOT plot, made the whole thing extra disappointing to me.

    It was indeed quite the even though. Just a week or two after its release, it even ran on free TV, in a heavily advertised last minute schedule change. (I think they dropped new episodes of FUTURAMA and MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE for it and it became only the day before know, that they were going to show it.)

    WORLD RECORD was for some reason my favourite. Can’t remember why, but something really clicked with me, that didn’t click in any of the other stories.

  2. I find 2nd Renaissance the best parts of this, by a lot, actually. I like the whole and find it all very interesting and great additions to the story of this reality.

    Seeing the robots go from AI servants to rulers of the earth felt very inevitable, and it still managed to feel very harrowing and desperate from the human PoV. Humans kept making “no going back” decisions and continually dug themselves deeper to the point of no return.

    Big fan of the whole thing, however. Much better addition to the Matrix story than II and III IMO.

  3. The most commonly cited resale DVD c.2006-2009. Shelves of the bloody things.

  4. BTW, let’s all appreciate that, outside of the actors that were reprising their roles from the movies, the voice cast is pretty much filled with real, professional voice actors. FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS alone has Tom Kenny, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tara Strong and John DiMaggio. I don’t know if Warner Bros either thought it was a waste of money to hire celebrities for a bunch of web shorts in those old times, or if the Wachowskis used their powers to hire the real deal, but I’m glad it happened that way.

  5. I saw this at probably too young an age–2nd Renaissance definitely fucked me up a little with all the violence. When that dude got ripped out of the mecha-suit, leaving behind his limbs–ouch!

    I dig the multi-media approach taken with the Matrix sequels. The story is told via blockbuster movies, animated shorts, and a video game. It would be cool if someone else tried to tell a longform story that way, but in a more intentional, disciplined manner. Like, imagine if instead of just having sequels in the same format, why not follow up a movie with a TV show, a [graphic] novel, a video game? And you could tailor the story to the strengths of the format, e.g. include big spectacle and special effects for the movie, focus on characterization and world building with the TV show, explore the interior lives of characters via novels, and as for video games…uh, fetch quests?

    I know Marvel and Star Wars kind of do this with stories split between movies, comics, and TV shows, but I think it could be done in a different and cooler way by really asking fans of the story to follow the material across different media, where each entry is on an equal footing.

  6. I think the celebrification of voice acting hadn’t really trickled down from Disney\DreamWorks films to TV yet, web shorts being closer to TV than film I guess.

  7. Peter Chung is the man. I’m glad you shared that anecdote, Vern. Not only is Aeon Flux one of my favorite media artifacts ever, it was also a gateway drug for me to engaging with music differently than I had been as a kid/preteen— since it was what first lured me away from VH1 and into the wicked waters of MTV.

    That Chung designed the characters for both the tv version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles AND the Rugrats is a fact I would not have been able to tell you without having looked at his Wikipedia entry a minute ago. I wish he’d release more work than he does too.

    Since 2004 I’d been remembering The 2nd Renaissance as his, though! Clearly, another piece of proof that the Mandela Effect is real. (that’s a joke)

  8. Didn’t know about Ninja Turtles, but he directed the introduction to Rugrats. Think about all those weird camera moves and grotesque angles and it makes sense.

  9. Glad to see you’re going through these movies for a revisit. I have a strong memory of being super disappointed in THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS when it came out, after really loving RELOADED and being hyped for months for part 3.

    Revisiting them all this week made me wonder what I was thinking. These movies go hard from the very start; the ending is not only unexpected, subverting expectations that I had in 2003 (I guess), but it follows logically and today feels (ahem) inevitable. Plus they leave it wide open for this fourth movie. The ending is fully satisfying on its own, in much the same way the first one was — you’re excited at the prospect of more, but if you never get it you can feel good about the story you’ve been told.

    The action is top tier, despite the noodly CGI (which I’d love for them to someday fix; it’s even more jarring now than it was then). That freeway chase in RELOADED is legit thrilling. I had the thought, several times, that in nine attempts to outdo this exact scene, the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise has not really achieved it, despite each film being more outlandish than the last. That’s not a dig at F&F; I love those movies. But the Wachowskis brought it hard back in 2003 and nobody really has been able to duplicate it in my opinion.

    And while I remember being slightly annoyed that they step back from “he stops bullets and flies” and downgrade Neo to kung fu again, there’s actually some effort to justify that. While I took it at first to be a joke (and it is), I recognize the “hmm, upgrades” line as a simple, in-context attempt to say “hey yeah, we wanted to do some kung fu again, but we also thought about how to make it feel organic” which I really appreciate. Plus the action is faster than in part one. Especially that Neo vs Seraph fight. And hey, he still stops bullets and flies, too. Obviously Neo kinda enjoys a nice bout of high-flying fisticuffs as much as we do.

    I dunno, I sat there for a good fifteen minutes as the credits rolled on REVOLUTIONS trying to figure out what I was disappointed by back then, and I think it boils down to just.. I was upset that (SPOILER) Neo and Trinity die at the end. What I love about it now is first that it’s not played for shock value; a major theme of these films is the price we pay for the choices we make, and this is just the natural and (again) inevitable consequence for what they’ve chosen to do with their lives. It would’ve been a cheat if they had made it through all that and come home as triumphant heroes. If the desert of the real is anything in this universe, it ain’t a place where that happens. All the big heroic moments have serious consequences, and you just don’t see big hollywood tentpole movies doing that sort of thing very often.

    Anyways, I’m looking forward to your revisits of the next two (assuming that’s what you’re doing in the leadup to next week’s premiere), Vern. Honestly, as much as I can blame my new perspective on just being a fuckload of years older now, I’ve also learned a lot about what makes a movie fit my definition of “good” from you. So, thanks (in case you needed any feedback beyond this diatribe).

  10. I never played any of The Matrix video games, but it is interesting that the Wachowski’s were telling multi-platform stories long before Marvel tried doing the same. It’s just another example of how ahead of their time the two were. Hopefully, Steam of GOG re-release those games so that those of us who missed them can have the full Matrix experience.

    I only watched The Animatrix once a few years ago when I was rewatching the series, and it was well past midnight, and I was a little tired, so it didn’t really impress me, but maybe I should give it another go. I do remember really liking the Riddick cartoon, and I kind of love the idea of opening up these worlds to other artists and storytellers to see their take on it. I probably should check out the Star Wars anime thing at some point.

  11. I feel that no Matrix retrospective is complete without this:

    [Futurama] The Matrix

    For the 20th birthday of The Matrix

  12. I adore Beyond. The fact that they were given the chance to play in the Matrix sandbox and came up with a tone poem… beautiful.

  13. Believe it or not, I’ve actually never seen the intro to Rugrats before now. Youtube just provided an acquaintance. Totally makes sense, yeah! Even without the Chung knowledge beforehand I suspect I would have been wondering if a Peter Chung fan had made it if I saw it randomly— the use of those little lines to indicate shadow, as well as all the extreme angles and zooms.

    (Was the whole show as trippy? I’ve never seen anything but ads for it, but from those I always assumed it was pretty safe and predictable— not the type of thing that’d take the risks, gentle as they may be, that the theme song does.)

    The TMNT design credit surprised me until the character of Vernon was shaken loose from my deep memory; then it all made sense.

  14. No, from what I remember the show was more static than that intro. That was kind of like Thundercats, where they went all out to make the intro animation spectacular.

  15. That was quite common in animation, back in the 80 and early 90s. The intros often promised you way more awesome shows than you got in the end. It’s also one of my favourite subtle jokes in FREAKAZOID, where the HUNTSMAN segments had a pretty impressive intro, but the actual segments were barely animated (together with the fact that nothing ever happened in them and they were often shorter than the opening credits).

    Also no, RUGRATS was sadly just one of those kinda lame Klasky/Czupo cartoons, that weren’t exactly bad, but obviously more on the square, family friendly side, than the prestigious Nicktoons label of that time suggested.

  16. Whereas I would say the first three seasons of RUGRATS were funny and weird and charming, but I found, and continue to find, FREAKAZOID to be a thoroughly irritating and unfunny exercise in corporate-mandated “wackiness”.


    Crossing the streams here to say the Peacock CGI revival of RUGRATS is one of the most cynical examples of the celebrification of voice acting; the kids are voiced by the original actors, but the parents are all actors parents know from their favourite sitcoms and HBO shows. “Look guys, we’ve got the babies back, so you’ll take your Anna Chlumsky recorded on lunch break from VEEP in place of Tres MacNeille’s incredible performance as Angelica’s Mum and like it!”

  17. I’ll also go to bat for Rugrats (as a father, they’re fairly present in my brain). It’s aimed at a very young audience, and is very very gentle, but still found pockets of out-there humor and as mentioned above it’s charming as hell. About Klasky/Czupo… I’d need to watch it again to see if it holds up, but I loved Duckman back in the 90s – it had a blaxploitation episode and everything!

  18. Sorry that my description of RUGRATS came out harsher than I wanted it to be. I promise I don’t hate the show, I just never liked it either and you know I’m not above enjoying stuff that was made for a kids audience. And RUGRATS, plus most of the other Klasky/Czupo stuff of that time, always felt a bit “too nice” to me, even for my non-edgy taste. But it’s an award winning show that was/is liked by is target audience and critics alike, so take my words on it as a matter of my personal taste.

  19. For me it was the Disney Afternoon stuff* which I found a little too “nice” to be fully engaging (a little too restrained/well mannered might be closer to my sentiments), and I was far from an anti-Disney kid (I was even into SILLY SYMPHONIES cartoons!). RUGRATS was and is by no means my favourite show, but I would probably rather watch it than REN & STIMPY, which no doubt was hugely influential and touched by genius in a way few cartoons of the past half century have been, but was extremely hit and miss even when it actually got episodes out, and my low tolerance for gross out humour (lower when I was a kid believe it or not) didn’t help. My favourite Nicktoon was/is ANGRY BEAVERS.

    *DUCK TALES aside, which is technically not part of the Disney Afternoon shows but obviously of the same mould. I can’t stand the DUCK TALES reboot, which is currently a lot more contentious in the world of people who care about kiddy animation takes than not liking RUGRATS!

  20. I just vaguely remembered that I saw a theatrical Rugrats movie and I believe Busta Rhymes was the voice of Reptar?

  21. I believe it was that they had a Reptar-wagon that played this track (with Busta saying “I am Reptar, hear me roar; I am Reptar, kind of dinosaurs”) on a loop whenever it moved. That’s probably what gave it the edge to become the first $100million grossing non-Disney animated film (beating PRINCE OF EGYPT by about a month).

    Rugrats Movie - On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go

    Rugrats Movie - On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go

  22. Not a fan of The Animatrix on any level but a couple of Matrix-related topics that have cropped up here are worth a comment.

    In terms of games the Shiny-developed ENTER THE MATRIX serves as cut content from THE MATRIX RELOADED, allowing the player to inhabit either Niobe or Ghost and play through linked elements mentioned in the film. The Wachowskis designed the game and shot extensive footage that has the same production quality of the movies. The game wasn’t ready but pushed out the door anyway (common for publisher Atari that generation) and received ok to negative reviews. Most complaints were about the premise as much as the jankiness, critics and gamers alike asking why they weren’t playing as Neo. I think the idea and scope of the game fit in well with the multimedia designs of the sequels but the bugs make it a tough play.

    Two years later THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO hit from the same developer and publisher and basically let you play through the major set pieces of the 3 movies as Neo. Feeding the fans what they wanted made this one much better received, and without the same release pressure it doesn’t suffer the same technical faults as its predecessor.

    The same year THE MATRIX ONLINE was released and touted as the “future” of the story. Since this was a PC-exclusive and an MMO I never played it but it received an excellent “Death of a Game” video from NerdSlayer if you’re curious:

    Death of a Game: Matrix Online

    Time to plug into the failure of Matrix Online.Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/nerdslayerAmazon: http://www.amazon.com/?tag=nerdslayerg-20Twitter: https://w...

    The first two games are not available from any current PC storefront and while I’m sure Atari would have no problems but I’m sure there’s some licensing entanglement or they’d have been trotted out again to coincide with the sequel.

    As for movie tied into othyer media from the start the only one that really stands out is DEFIANCE which Trion Worlds launched as an MMO shooter with accompanying SyFy TV series and other multimedia lore projects. They definitely took a bath on that and the company was sold off with the game finally shutting down this year. Given the budgets required for AAA gaming nowadays I’m not sure if anyone will ever risk such a launch ever again.

  23. One of my friends (for brevities sake, let’s just say we were friends) at that time was was a hardcore MATRIX fan (Matrixian? Not sure what they are called) who did stuff like go to the Midnight Screening of MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, which seemed pretty exotic to me in the pre-geekification world of the mid-2000s in one of the UK’s least trendy cities. I remember he was pretty excited that he would be able to get “guest” slots on some kind of MATRIX fan radio site where he would be able to do commentary on other players playing the MATRIX ONLINE game; the idea of someone providing commentary on other people playing video games was an unusual idea which sounded completely unappealing on either side of the experience to me, and still does honestly, but in the long run I guess a lot of people disagreed with me about that.

    I also remember the TV ads for PATH OF NEO, which flashed the words “You! Are! Neo!” at the screen, an enticing proposition which I have yet to take up. I suppose those adds must have been a not terribly subtle response to the backlash to ENTER THE MATRIX, which I was not aware of the time. Wasn’t ENTER THE MATRIX the most expensive game ever made at the time?

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