- 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
- Doctor Who
- Star Trek:
. - The Original Series (TOS)
. - The Animated Series
. - The Movies
. - The Next Generation (TNG)
. - Deep Space Nine (DS9)
. - Voyager
. - Enterprise
The Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris / Enter the Matrix
10-disc box set
for North America
10-disc box set
for the U.K.
|(The Animatrix, segment 1, starring Kevin M. Richardson as Thadeus,
and the video game footage starring Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe)
- written by the brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski
- directed by Andy Jones
- produced by Larry and Andy Wachowski, Michael Arias,
Eiko Tanaka, Hiroaki Takeuchi
- music by Don Davis
- 10 min. action plus 8 min. credits for the Animatrix segment
41 min. for the "Enter the Matrix" footage
Story: Captain Thadeus of the Osiris makes a horrific discovery
and must undertake a dangerous mission to pass the information on to
Captain Niobe of the Logos....
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for
those who have already seen the story.
So far, the first film and most of the Animatrix segments have been standalone
episodes that take place in the Wachowski universe. But here, that is about to change,
as one overriding A-plot opens its maw to engulf the bulk of the rest of their
franchise, swallowing two live-action feature films, an Animatrix episode,
and a video game.
Final Flight of the Osiris
This first piece of the Animatrix can clearly be seen to tackle two very different
bits of subject matter, which really have next to nothing to do with each other.
First up is a semi-erotic bit of combat, as the segment's two main characters -
Thadeus and Jué - cross swords in some kind of Matrix simulation and seem to
be enjoying themselves. If there's any point to this, it seems to be all about showing
off how "real" they could make animated characters look as of this point in 2003.
It's not completely unimpressive either, with the fluidity of body movement
and the expressiveness of the eyes helping to sell the characters on a level that
was very rare for animation then, although Gollum in "The Two Towers" had slightly
pre-dated this and made much the same point with a slightly less human form.
But of course, in terms of story or philosophy, there isn't much to impress here.
At best, this opening's effect on the rest of the episode merely helps
Thadeus and Jué stand out a little more than the other members of the Osiris crew
and help the audience root for them a little more strongly.
The second part of this might otherwise be a completely different narrative. In this
part, we basically kick-start the main plot of feature films two and three. From here
on, Zion is under immediate threat, and the clock is ticking for all captains and crews
of all the various ships in the trilogy. While it makes sense for the makers of
the Animatrix to put the Osiris segment first to impress the audience with its visual
style, a more narrative-sensitive placement would obviously be to have it come last,
as we have done here. Of course, if you've just seen the whole live-action trilogy
and THEN come back to this Animatrix bit, it feels like a re-run and worthy of a groan,
which will eat into the segment's ranking.
The characters continue to look impressive in their photo-realism, but don't
quite have a chance to shine in the dark interior of a hover-ship while wearing the
usual Zion rags. However, the exteriors with the ship and the sentinels is a close
enough match to those in the feature films that you could intercut them and not
really notice any difference. Not surprising, since both are CGI generated,
and apparently from some identical modeling files.
There's not much story here, and about twice as much external battle and graphics
as one would need for the ideas present, although the creativity surrounding
Jué's acrobatics adds some worthy entertainment value here, and is something
that the feature films would not be able to easily duplicate. Bravo.
Thankfully, it's not too hard to invest in these characters and their goals,
but with that working, it seems that it all ends too quickly and leaves the audience
hanging. Not to worry though, the solution is to jump immediately into the
cut-scene footage shot for the "Enter the Matrix" video game, which quickly passes
the baton to Niobe and the crew of the Logos, and keeps this plot running ahead at
"Final Flight of the Osiris" doesn't actually work too well narratively as a
standalone segment within the Animatrix, and consequently won't rise that high in
the rankings, but it does work as a prelude or teaser sequence kicking off a viewing
of the "Enter the Matrix" game footage, or even the second feature film. In the
Animatrix, it seems like it is trying too hard to show off. In this case,
context is everything.
"Enter the Matrix" video game cutscenes
These video game cutscenes, available as part of the extras for
"The Matrix: Reloaded",
pick up directly where "Final Flight of the Osiris" left
off (even featuring Captain Thadeus giving his last transmission) and show how this
information wove directly into the opening of film two. In many ways, this collection
feels like a set of deleted and extended scenes from film 2, shot in the same style and level
of quality, although in reality they served a different purpose as they were designed to.
What takes place in these scenes happens at the same time as the events of
film 2, and there is much crossover. Occasionally, they merely expand on scenes
that are in film 2, only this time you get to see what happened before
the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar enter the room, or after they left. In these scenes,
Jada Pinkett Smith's character of Niobe is highlighted and quickly comes to the
fore as the main character.
Some time ago I decided that the best way to enjoy these scenes was to edit
them into a new version of film 2, and tack on relevant sections of "Final Flight
of the Osiris" as well to kick things off. At 2 hours 45 minutes,
this "overloaded" version of film 2
is a bit unwieldy but still works and is highly enjoyable. However, Pinkett-Smith
so owns the screen when she is on, that with her getting so many strong scenes
early on, it almost feels that her character is the main protagonist instead of Neo....
though this balance is redressed later.
Even then, it was clear to me that not all of the footage could or should
be included as part of film 2's narrative. For starters, it was designed to be
part of an interactive format, where the gamer chooses to play as either Niobe
or her second-in-command Ghost. In some sections, both Niobe and Ghost repeat
the same scene, with slightly different dialogue, and it is clear that both cannot
be meant to happen during one airing of the film. Typically, Niobe's sections
are relevant to the story seen in the films, while Ghost's versions are off on a tangent
all their own, although an exception occurs during their interviews with the Oracle.
Both offer crucial bits, and only Ghost's interview actually reveals the basic mechanics of
what happened to the Oracle to cause the switch in her avatar shell.
Additionally, we see Niobe and Ghost coming up against a lot of the same
challenges that Neo does in film 2, only they get to those challenges ahead of him
in the chronology. In a game, I'm sure that's all fine. As a part of film 2,
it would only dilute the threat of those challenges and make Neo appear far less
important, so I did leave out many such action-sequence lead ups, particularly since
there is often no footage of the battles - that would be taken care of by in-game action.
It may be important to note, I haven't actually played the "Enter the Matrix"
game, nor seen how its action fits in with the cutscenes. I have only seen
the live-action footage on its own, while taking educated guesses as to what
each scene sets up or leads away from.
Where "Enter the Matrix" shines is in all that
it adds to the tapestry of the trilogy,
particularly characterizations of Niobe's crew and her relationships with both
Lock and Morpheus. There is great perspective on Morpheus' belief system,
and film 2 goes up a significant notch with the relevant scene added in.
This is good stuff, and makes the trilogy more worthwhile
I think. Bane's treachery also gets highlighted a bit better with a few
Adding the "Enter the Matrix" scenes also does one other important thing
to Film 2. It gives us actor Lachy Hulme playing Sparks - the operator on board the Logos -
who provides a sense of comic relief that film 2 is otherwise sorely lacking
(the Merovingian being a bit too sinister to really fill that role as Sparks does).
Once added to film 2, Sparks becomes my favourite character in that whole
heavily populated 2.75-hour epic. He's a bit like Matthew Perry's Chandler Bing from Friends,
while being just serious enough to belong on a Zion crew. Without "Enter the Matrix",
Sparks really only gets one scene in all of Films 2 & 3... charming, but just not enough
"The Path of the One is Made by the Many"
If "Enter the Matrix" adds anything to the philosophical side of the trilogy,
perspective on Morpheus' beliefs aside, it is chiefly coming out in the scenes with
the Oracle. Including all her new scenes in film 2 is problematic, since she will
appear as Mary Alice to welcome Seraph back into her life, then change back to
Gloria Foster to meet Neo, and then back to Alice again for her other scenes.
But we should perhaps take heed of the phrase she repeats in many scenes,
that "The Path of the One is made by the many", which serves to somewhat disperse
Neo's importance - something that happens in the sequels anyway with so
much screen time focused on other characters' contributions. This may well eat into
many viewers' interpretations of him as a "messiah", which is probably a healthy thing.
More on that later.
Then there is the monkey-wrench thrown into the theory that Agent Smith is Neo,
and/or his equal and opposite. Add "Enter the Matrix", and it seems that Agent Smith
is now also Niobe and Ghost's opposite, the Alpha to their Omega, etc. Coming up
with a convenient way to label and analyze Smith just got a lot more
complicated and confusing. I never did like or get convinced by Ken Wilber's
interpretation of Smith as Neo's opposite... it seems too simplistic and born of
the enemy-centered paradigm that the film should be helping us to grow beyond if it's
worth its salt. If these clues from "Enter the Matrix" promote a new theory, good.
Bring it on.
But perhaps it's now time to put the extra scenes aside, and tackle the main theatrical
portions of Film 2 itself....
- A Detective Story
- World Record
- (Enter the Matrix)
- Final Flight of the Osiris
- Kid's Story
- The Second Renaissance