A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although these short films are animated, they're rather violent. In some cases, the violence is no different than that in a video game, but in others the graphic nature of the violence rivals live-action movies. Heads are crushed, a person is torn limb-from-limb, a teenager jumps to his death from a roof, and many characters, men and machine alike, die. Strong bonds of love and loyalty between men and women and friends are also touched upon, but the action often intervenes. A realistic, 3-D animated woman wears a thong bikini, but sexual content is minimal and at most, suggestive.
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What's the story?
Based on the popular sci-fi thriller The Matrix, THE ANIMATRIX is a collection of nine short animated films. "The Second Renaissance" is a history lesson told in anime. The short develops an inspired and complex back-story, including the how's and why's of the war between humans and machines, as well as the genesis of the Matrix itself. It makes for a cyberpunk mini-epic that helps The Matrix transcend blockbuster fad status. The other seven shorts revolve around the world of the Matrix in a similar manner. One of the better films is "Kid's Story" -- from the creator of the hit anime Cowboy Bebop -- which re-tells the opening of the first movie through the eyes of an alienated adolescent.
Is it any good?
Some tasty bait for fans of The Matrix, this collection broadens the movie trilogy's world, but not as much as they could. In fact, only two of the entries really flesh out the overall story. The other seven-ninths are like chum -- albeit, quality chum. For fans, the two-part "The Second Renaissance" might be the main draw. The other seven shorts also taste great, they're definitely less filling.
The Animatrix should be a veritable feast that extends the story's universe, as should the video games. But after "The Second Renaissance" closes, more or less it devolves into a series of entertaining yet disposable ten-minute morsels. Like the end of Matrix: Revolutions, one can't help feeling there could be something more to it.
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