The Animatrix: Beyond
10-disc box set
for North America
10-disc box set
for the U.K.
|(The Animatrix, segment 7, starring Hedy Burress as Yoko)
- written and directed by Koji Morimoto
- produced by Larry and Andy Wachowski, Michael Arias,
Eiko Tanaka, Hiroaki Takeuchi
- music by Don Davis
- 13 min. action plus 8 min. credits
Story: Yoko searches for her cat in a "haunted" house,
where the neighbourhood kids are playing with the area's anomalies.
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for
those who have already seen the story.
This story is one of the two standout gems of the Animatrix, making good use
of its extra length.
Like the best of science fiction stories, this one is all about exploring
the unknown. Uniquely, it also encourages a child-like acceptance and playfulness
towards its unknowns - a throwback to second density awareness and possible trigger
for the fourth density - which can be seen as
an improvement upon the enemy-centered paradigm and fight-intensive portrayal in
the actual live-action movies. Bravo.
Smartly, we get an easily likeable main protagonist with a simple mission,
to try and find her cat, which helps keep things moving until curiosity kicks
in and takes over. Adults and children alike will have little trouble following
this story's plot, or getting invested in it.
In some ways, this story exemplifies something that the films only touch on
briefly, which is the idea that bizarre "paranormal" phenomena might have an
explanation as a glitch in the fabric of reality, in this case a software problem
affecting the generation of the Matrix. But where the films might be seen as trying
to neatly wrap up all paranormal phenomena inside this explanation, "Beyond" is
much more subtle and open-minded about it. Here it is a definite possibility,
shown by example, without making any attempt to be the only possibility.
Here, the concept is open and very cool.
"Beyond" has an enjoyable visual style as well. There is plenty here that seems
normal in the way that Animé characters are drawn, and in the way that
a normal city neighbourhood is portrayed. On top of that it deserves extra kudos
for the economical way that
it comes alive via multi-layered parallax and other effects to look and feel very
3-dimensional and real, and I must say that the subtle use of sound effects and
atmospherics also adds a lot to heighten the everyday reality of the environment,
which makes the bizarre all that much more effective by contrast.
Perhaps this story benefits from occurring after
"World Record" and to some extent
"Kid's Story", as the motivations of the agents
and their bizarre utility truck are quite clear despite their
very spare appearance and involvement here.
Incidentally, fans of the animated sci-fi series "Futurama" will notice
many of the same voice artists hard at work here on the Animatrix, with
Tress MacNeille being quite busy on this one. A-Team and
Star Trek fans
will want to listen out for Dwight Schultz in these as well.
The narrative of "Beyond" has a good arc to it, and does feel satisfyingly complete
by the time it is all over. Excellent.
In short, this is one episode of the Animatrix that is worth seeing many times
over, and should hopefully be celebrated by Matrix and science-fiction fans everywhere.