28 September 2003 | Jeremy Bristol
Makes the whole Matrix phenomenon worthwhile.
I'm not a rabid fan of The Matrix (too many logistical flaws), though I have seen the two live action movies and plan on seeing the third (though I have to wonder why it is that so many movies lately are transition movies--Star Wars Episode 2, Matrix 2, X-2, etc).
My main reason for purchasing the Animatrix was that I am an animation lover, and not just of Disney or anime. I love Looney tunes, peanuts, Max Fleisher, Watership Down, Ralph Bakshi, Fantastic Planet, Wallace and Gromitt, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Simpsons, etc. You get the picture. Of these nine stories, I can only say I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Not only is it beautifully animated, it has an imagination that rivals Miyazaki's. "Beyond" adds to the matrix mythology the essential element that it has been missing from the beginning: humanity in concrete terms. Unlike most of the rest, including the live action movies, it doesn't *talk* about what it's like to be human, because the characters are too busy being humans. It isn't about the mumbo jumbo of freeing one's mind to escape this seeming prison; instead, it shows someone, raised to believe the prison is not a prison, and she reacts realistically to it. Unlike the movies, it creates the sense that the people aren't automatons and are worth saving. (Not to take it too seriously, but just think of how many people they waste in all those shooting sprees--what, are they not worthy? Just because they don't buy into Morpheus' truth? Shouldn't they, ethically, knowing how these people will react to them, try to avoid conflicts with the caged humans, or at least attempt to use less-than lethal force? After all, is someone still a hero if they have to become the villain to save the world?).
The only real problem with Beyond is that it depicts animals as being as real as the humans (they're not, remember the deja-vu scene). But then, with the ending of Matrix Reloaded, perhaps there will be answers to this in Matrix Revolutions.
9/10. Seriously. You should see this even if you hate the matrix.