Ranking The Animatrix Short Films

Sky Scorchers

There is another Matrix film coming out! This is very cool! Like many people in the world, I am now re-watching everything Matrix before it happens. The one part of the world of The Matrix I know least is definitely The Animatrix. As such, I decided to do a deep dive into it. If you click on the link above there, you can listen to Matt and I discuss the whole Animatrix. I now disagree with a lot of the things I said in it! Not sure what was wrong with me the first time I watched this one! Honestly, it was pretty embarrassing to listen to this episode back on my front. Maybe this is just a thing you need to re-watch to appreciate or my tastes are just much better now.

8. Kid’s Story

Despite the beautiful and distinct animation, this film mosrtly left me feel empyt and annoyed. This entry tells the story of Neo liberating the annoying Kid from Reloaded and Revolutions in the way that Neo himself was liberated by Morpheus and Trinity in the original Matrix. Nothing can really properly compensate though for the fact that Kid has the most go-away heat in all of The Matrix. He is just so goddamn annoying, and I don’t want to see him at all!!


7. Final Flight of the Osiris

There are some undeniably cool things about this entry. Kevin Michael Richardson and Pamela Adlon are very strong voice actors, and they immediately hook you in after the nonverbal opening fight. The unabashed horniness of said opening fight was very well done. Unfortunately, the animation though just felt very underwhelming. It just had an undeniable cheap quality that really distracted from what was otherwise a compelling little short film. Whether or not it was cheap is not the point. It just looked so crappy compared to what else we were offered in this collection. It was just distracting in how ugly it looked.


6. A Detective Story

A private detective being hired to hunt down Trinity and told/shot in a film noir/hard boiled detective manner is a fairly inspired concept. Ash was so lifelessly voiced by James Arnold Taylor though that it was honestly hard to care. By far the most underachieving of all the entries even if it was perfectly fine. It did end on a high note though of Trinity being forced to kill a human ally because he was actively being turned into an Agent. That is absolutely something that could and should be explored more in any future Matrix shit.


5. Program

This entry featured some beautiful animation but the whole thing really hinges on how you react to the “twist” revealed at the end. The story is of two shipmates going into a training program. One of them tries to persuade the other to join him in reinserting himself back into the matrix (a la Cypher). She resists his overtures and eventually kills him. But of course it was just a training…program all along. Truly touches on the major themes that the original film started to explore while also confronting the reality of a military running what is left of society. The emotional ruthlessness required to survive the apocalypse really calls into question why exactly you would want to survive at all.


4. World Record

One of the more disorienting entries in The Animatrix. For a while, you cannot help but wonder whether or not this was included by mistake (hyperbole, people) as there appears to be no obvious connection between an athlete pushing his limits to beat a world record and the world of The Matrix. As the story unfolds though, it is revealed to be one of the more tragic adventures in The Animatrix. Dan Davis is able to be such an exceptional athlete that his body is breaking free of The Matrix, and he is temporarily free only to be restrained by Sentinels in his human pod. The Agents then ensure his memory is wiped. There is a sign at the end that he understands what happened to him, and that if anything somehow only makes it sadder. Between the surprisingly strong pathos and unique animation, this sneaked into being one of the stronger entries overall.


3. Beyond

No entry in The Animatrix better captures what it was like to grow up with The Matrix than Beyond. The story of little kids and a teenager discovering a glitch in the matrix (or what they think is a weird haunted/supernatural house) captures the pure bliss and joy of feeling like you have stumbled upon something wholly new. The crushing weight of the larger themes of The Matrix do not fully hit until later on in life when you begin to understand how the world really works. But that period of time when The Matrix is just fully exciting and not at all depressing is just a magical time.


2. The Second Renaissance

With absolutely gorgeous animation, this two-part film tells a gripping version of the origins of the machine/humans conflict – the version that at the very least adds up most with our understanding of the mythology of this world after the 1999 The Matrix. It is hard to tell how “accurate” this version of history is but that is not really the point. Regardless of the film’s genuine “validity,” its execution of the story and stunning animation is one of the most purely pleasurable things that has ever come from the world of The Matrix.


1. Matriculated

By far the most intriguing and visually stimulating entry in the series. The idea of an above-ground human resistance group is just terribly exciting and makes the world seem infinitely bigger with more unlimited possibilities. The way they tell this story too just really feels inventive with changes in animation style throughout feel significant in their own right. This felt like one of the most ambitious entries, and it was all the better for it. The idea of the robots being converted to help the humans is a tantalizing possibility.



Make sure you listen to all of our Matrix reviews:

Episode 1 – The Matrix

Episode 2 – The Matrix Reloaded

Episode 3 – The Matrix Revolutions

Episode 4 – The Animatrix

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