- Film 1: The Matrix

- The Animatrix:
.. - The Second Renaissance
.. - Kid's Story
.. - Program
.. - World Record
.. - Beyond
.. - A Detective Story
.. - Matriculated
.. - Final Flight of the Osiris /
.........Enter the Matrix

- Film 2: The Matrix Reloaded
- Film 3: The Matrix Revolutions

- Return to Source Documentary:
Philosophy and the Matrix

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- Star Trek:
. - The Original Series (TOS)
. - The Animated Series
. - The Movies
. - The Next Generation (TNG)
. - Deep Space Nine (DS9)
. - Voyager
. - Enterprise

The Animatrix: Kid's Story

Region 1
10-disc box set
for North America
Region 2
10-disc box set
for the U.K.
(The Animatrix, segment 4, starring Clayton Watson as "The Kid")
  • story by the brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski
  • written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
  • produced by Larry and Andy Wachowski, Michael Arias,
    Eiko Tanaka, Hiroaki Takeuchi
  • music by Don Davis
  • 10 min. action plus 8 min. credits
Story: Michael Karl "The Kid" Popper struggles to make sense of his drab teen life, until a chance computer chat with Neo alerts agents to the Kid's highschool.

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the story.

The Animatrix becomes far more tolerable at this point, and starts to show a bit of cool. "Kid's Story" easily has a few good points, while also suffering from a few major minus marks.

The opening montage is stunning and attention-grabbing, and deserves a lot of kudos for its audio-visual execution. I'm on the fence about it being used twice in a film this short, but I think they can just about get away with it. It's one of an all too small collection of good tidbits in this story, the other main one being the skateboarding action sequence.

But what's really going to eat into this story's marks is the fact that not very much of it is all that original, particularly the main plot. It looks way too much like Neo's own journey from the first film, and solicits far less investment from the audience. This despite the fact that we introduce a character who inhabits his own subplot in the live-action film sequels, and we bring Neo and Trinity into the mix for good measure. We even have all the castmembers from the Matrix live action films recreating their roles through voice work, although they somehow don't quite seem recognizable in this. If you want to learn what is at the heart of the conversations between Neo and Clayton Watson's character of "the Kid", you get to come here to witness it.... only the story kind of falls down on that point. (Pun not intended, but welcomed as appropriate.)

Perhaps the biggest problem here is that the Wachowskis and company are trying to be vague and mysterious about basic plot mechanics, and do so in the very dangerous area of teen suicide. I have very sharp criticism of any depiction of using suicide as a method of exiting a dream, and think it might really miss the mark with action-film fans looking for healthy proactivity from their protagonists, but my criticism in this case is compounded by this story's lead up with what easily looks like teen depression, identity crisis, and various forms of tension at school. In short, this is a poor example and message to leave lying around where teen Matrix fans might find it and drink it in.

And if "The Kid" is actually doing something to avert the deadly fate that seems to befall every other character who meets his end in the Matrix while his body should otherwise be fine on the outside, the filmmakers keep such secrets to themselves. The most we get is a line from Trinity saying she didn't know that "self-substantiation" was possible. If that term has any more meaning, please share. As it stands, the story leaves far poorer ideas hogging the stage.

In the end, we really haven't learned much of anything about the relationship between Neo and "the Kid", specifically their repeated arguments of modesty over who was responsible for what. On the plus side, we finally get a bit of a better name for this character, as "the Kid" is very silly. Michael Karl Popper - (although you might hear it as the not-too-inappropriate "Pauper" before you see it on the tombstone). Not a great name, but much better. Don't be surprised if you see me calling this scrapper "Karl the Kid Popper" from now on.

The critics' audio commentary on the sequels reveals that they think they've got this character's story arc pegged the minute they lay eyes on him, and it seems they aren't very far off either, in terms of how his type usually fits into action movies. I think though that there's far more useful and unpredictable territory for Karl on the philosophical side of the movies, representing a type of self-debasing over-enthusiastic über-believer that deserves to be deflated a bit and taught the value of discernment. But perhaps I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here.

Well, I must say the imagery is much more acceptable in this story than the last, although it's still not really wholesome or inspirational. Better things are in store as the Animatrix continues.....

Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Animatrix: Program"

This story is available on DVD and Blu-ray as the fourth segment of "The Animatrix" in The Ultimate Matrix Collection.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Standard DVD version: Blu-ray version:
DVD NTSC Region 1
The Ultimate Matrix Collection
10-disc set
for the North American market:
Region 1 NTSC

Region 1 NTSC

Region 1 NTSC

DVD PAL Region 2
The Ultimate Matrix Collection 10-disc set
for the U.K. / Europe:
Region 2 PAL

Blu-ray Region A/1
The Ultimate Matrix Collection
for the North American market:

Region A/1

Region A/1

Bilingual Set

DVD Extras for "Kid's Story" include:

  • making-of featurette (10 min.) for "Kid's Story" and "A Detective Story", with director Shinichiro Watanabe,
    producers Michael Arias, Eiko Tanaka, and Hiroaki Takeuchi, design director Hashimoto Shinji,
    casting and voice director Jack Fletcher, sound designer Dane Davis, and composer Don Davis.
  • short text biographies of the directors & producers of "The Animatrix".

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Animatrix: Program"

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