The Animatrix – Nostalgia Critic

The Matrix always seemed like a big cartoon, why not embrace it? Next up, The Animatrix.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. That second short is actually one of the sticking points of the entire Matrix franchise to me. I mean, sure the machines are telling it so maybe there’s some pro-machine bias, but if any of that is true that means humanity in the Matrix universe was stupid and self destructive and only exists because of the MERCY of the machines. Seriously there’s no reason the machines couldn’t have wiped us all out and lived on with geothermal or other energy sources. The only reason humans still EXIST in the matrix universe is because the machines, even after all we did, STILL LIKE US, or for lack of a better word have an “instinct” to care for us. That kind of colors the entire movie trilogy in a different light, suddenly you’re rooting for the descendants of the BAD guys! I mean, sure they aren’t the humans who destroyed the world but they haven’t learned anything from the mistake because the history is hidden from them. Of course, I guess that’s what makes the hopeful end of the last movie make sense, the veil is lifted, the secrets are out, and supposedly the history is told, and humans and machines can live together and hopefully DO stuff besides survive…like maybe figure out how to get rid of the eternal black sky maybe?

    • The problem to me is the message is mixed, and it’s especially problematic because that segment was actually done by the series creators. They never seem to know how they want to portray the machines. Both in the sequels and in segments like that one they portray the machines as being pretty much “us”, only under a “different color”. In one of their many “preachy” segments, they’re trying to use the machines in that sense like people of a different ethnicity or race or religion or creed, etc.

      Yet in other parts of their series they’re clearly trying to portray the machines as soulless monsters. The sentinels or “squiddies” pretty much only care about dismembering any human they come across like big nightmare drone octopus monsters, and the Agents, while capable of feeling emotions (unless Agent Smith was supposed to be a “specially-built” agent), pretty much just go about their job soullessly and heartlessly. The few emotions we get hints at from Agents other than Smith are also sadism, such as in “The Matrix Reloaded” when the one Agent driving the truck smirks at the thought of killing Morpheus and the Keymaker in the collision, and also in the other segments of “The Animatrix”. In fact, “The Matrix Reloaded” demonstrates that “rogue programs” that behave like “normal humans” are hunted down and killed by the Agents, implying that feelings like love and compassion are “forbidden by the machine race”, and that the machines themselves make “sub-machines” that function only to be “slave castes” of their own.

      So, to me…any message they seemed to be trying to give was just “noise”. It seems more likely that all of that stuff was in there like NC said: shock value.

  2. I always hated Second Renaissance because of the goriness of the machines working on wiring up the humans. I’m fairly easy to squick out on stuff like that. *shudders*

  3. So this is where SF debris got that one clip from.

  4. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Alot of people say it’s better then the matrix franchise.I think that it looks like it does gotta check it out sometime soon.also i think my toasters has eyes and is looking at me but only in my dreams.

  5. Matrix meets Fantasia ?

  6. I agree 1000% that the animatrix, well parts of it, is better than all three of the matrix films. Matriculated was just… odd and seemed only half thought out. Beyond always seemed like exposition in visual form for the glitches and rouge programs mentioned in the first and second films. Program and World Record are both my favorites since they tell a concise and self contained story using the matrix as a backdrop and have outstanding visuals. Detective story is amusing fluff.

    Second Renaissance is… well I like the first part. The gore is shocking, but I can see humanity reach such massive levels of piety that yah, any threat to its ego would be met with such horrible gore. And the whole mess began when a owner tried to destroy his machine servant, and the machine killed its owner and simply stated, it didn’t want to die. It and other of its product line were terminated since the world saw A.I. as property. Its essentially a drawn out and gory Frankenstein story that takes its time with the creation being estranged from its creator. Part 2 continues the Frankenstein motif, except instead of committing suicide in grief over the loss of its creator, the monster/machines reach out once more in a very, oddly co-dependent fashion. I remember a rumor back when the sequels were a thing that it was going to be revealed that the machines just wanted humanity to finally accept them, which is why they went through all the trouble creating the matrix. Which, when you think about it, holds a lot of weight. Then the Wachowski’s utterly implode all remaining logic to the plot by having the machines try to tell Neo that they don’t need humans, when… yah, you do. You set up your own means of survival based on needing humans whereas you could have set up a project to clear the skies or sought out another energy source.

    Everything else, I can kind of take or leave. Final Flight of the Osiris was amusing, Kids story was… stylish but nonsensical. Second Renaissance may have been needlessly gory and shocking (though if you’ve seen Ninja Scroll it comes across as tame), but if the movies had followed up the plot seeds planted in the short, it may have been the most meaningful story in the bunch. It really gave you the idea that the matrix was ultimately about a child wanting approval from its estranged parent. Instead the Wachowski’s had their heads stuck so far up their literary and pop culture ripping off asses, that they failed to follow through.

    • I very much disagree that it was all about the machines wanting to be accepted that’s what Renaissance part one is about. You see the two machine representatives trying to join the UN as equals but are rejected. Part 2 shows the machines finally abandoning that desire which is why they won the war.

      Look a bit lower to see my big post to see my analysis of the matrix plot, and conclusion on what it’s really about. (oddly enough Matriculated is a direct demonstration of the point of the entire matrix continuity, read my post and then watch Matriculated with that in mind and it will make complete sense)

      • Part 2 shows the Machines Nuking the UN I agree, But if the machines didn’t want acceptance… WHY CREATE THE MATRIX? Smith says it was initially flawed, entire crops were lost initially. Even the Architect says that even when they got it right, they really didn’t due to programs going rouge, glitches, and Anomaly’s like Neo. Also it obviously took a long time for the Matrix to be somewhat stable, If the machines were so fed up, why not just get your energy elsewhere It would have taken less time, and would have been less trouble. But letting humanity continue, and ultimately hinging your existence on them, doesn’t make any sense unless you want them someday to accept you. It was the only thing, based on Second Renaissance which is canon, that adds up and would have made for a more poetic and thoughtful ending than what they came up with. They even initially tried to give the humans a paradise at first, which is strangely altruistic for an intelligence that just freakin nuked the remnants of humanity.

        Im sorry, there are too many plot seeds that paint the machines as being much like The Mary Shelly version Frankenstein, wanting their creator to accept them despite the cruelty they’ve experienced. The only other thing that makes sense, is that the wachowski’s really were too taken with “borrowing” other peoples ideas that they really didn’t think about how well those differing sources meshed.

  7. One other thing that was cute about The Animatrix, is that it was used to tie in Matrix Reloaded (The Kid’s Story is where they got that goofy teen who kept hanging off of Neo), along with the game Enter The Matrix (Part of your role in the game is retrieving the message left behind from Last Flight of the Osiris from the post office). Probably more tie ins than that.

  8. I liked Equilibrium more than any of the Matrix movies.

  9. This is going to be long so please bear with me.

    I’ve hear a lot of criticism about the Matrix over the years mostly how it doesn’t make sense with the most obvious example being the humans as batteries problem. In the Matrix review by NC someone finally posted the end to that specific problem, supposedly originally it wasn’t suppose to be batteries but processors. Which resolves almost all the problems in the whole series. The one main issue would be the destroyed sky but that could be pretty quickly resolved with the sky was ‘destroyed’ by modifying the worlds EM field so a specific kind of radiation was let through that prevented the machines processors from operating at the levels necessary to sustain their AI.

    But even within it’s story it makes quite a bit of sense and it’s pretty well explained (at least I understood it), especially if you take into account that humans are processors not batteries. If the machine race needs human brains to function as their CPUs that gives the humans power over the machines so the machines need to either distract the human brains so they don’t work against them or provide stimulation so the brains don’t shut down and the humans become ‘vegetables’ (either or both could be the reason the matrix is needed). So they need a matrix, but the matrix keeps not working (as the architect told us in Reloaded), so the Oracle found the answer, the humans have to be allowed to choose to stay in the matrix and it mostly works. The problem is the ‘mostly’, by designing the matrix in this way it’s created a systemic error in the system. Eventually the entire program will break down. So the machines came up with ‘The One’ as the solution. Basically the one is the physical manifestation of this error so ‘The One’ has incredible power over the system. In our terms it would be like he’s an administrator of the system giving him power over all the programs and since he can see the entire system he predict the future interaction within the system. But don’t forget Zion is a necessary part of the system too, people who reject the matrix have to be removed so they don’t corrupt the system. All this gives the matrix carefully controlled stability, until ‘The One’ emerges. This demonstrates the system has reached a critical level of damage and must be rest, and only by ‘The One’ merging with the source code and the specific anomaly he represents be corrected and the system rebooted (like getting rid of a computer virus). Since Neo didn’t return to the source the entire matrix starts breaking down even faster as shown by the ‘Smith’ program being able to abandon his parameters and do whatever he wants (he’s basically also become ‘The One’ since hes just another manifestation of the systemic error). (And no they couldn’t have used Smith to reunite with the source since he’s not human and the human element is what they are trying to correct for). In Revolution Smith has completely taken over the matrix and thus is the system by having Neo merge with him becomes the same as him merging with the source allowing the system error to be corrected.

    This makes all the human’s power over the machines make sense if human brains are basically being the machine brains then of course they could influence them while they are in the matrix and why Neo could affect even the sentinels while outside it (there must some kind of wireless network that allows the sentinels to think). So self substantiations could be possible if you could for the system to wake you up.

    What it all comes down to is the machines can’t take away the humans fundamental human nature and so that nature will always emerge as an anomaly in their systems. And in the Second Renaissance it shows that humans couldn’t destroy the AI machines fundamental nature. And in both cases that nature is to be free. So are they really that different, and that is the purpose of The Matrix (and very specifically in Matriculated).

  10. God, The Matrix, all of them, Are fucking stupid! Thanks Futurama and Nastalgia Critic, thanks for acknowledge this! The second animation was so awful, I was pulling my hair out!

  11. The animation itself is ok, but the story is sooo, fucking stupid! We have feelings now, and we’re solar powered– no, you don’t have feelings because you can’t just develop feelings, and using humans as a power source is the worst idea for energy, EVER! You can use anything– especially a battery– that would be more officiant! Also, who the fuck thought that machines wouldn’t have a secondary power source; if you can think, you can come up with another power source, one that actually works! Stupid Flesh bags, making us look stupid, as well as bad! Love and hate, Bender.

  12. Shinya Ohira’s sketchy animation in Kid’s Story is hardly “sloppy”; I knew you weren’t implying it’s bad but “sloppy” is a wrong choice for something that’s loose and crazy in such a carefully controlled way. The reason animators like that are allowed to go nuts to begin with is that they understand stuff very well from a technical perspective and can exaggerate, simplify and stylize everything just right using brilliant design knowledge and solid drawing.

  13. Typical American censorship hypocrisy: shun away from tits, revel in gore >_<
    Personally, i think that Animatrix as a whole is the worst Matrix, after Matrix video games. And i hate sequels.

  14. World Record & Beyond are the only two I remember at all.

  15. This are better then the movie’s

    -First: Looks good.Do you haw something against the sexy lady scene
    -Second: Cool. Humans are idiots
    -Third: Not to bad but nothing great.At least it shows how that kid in the second movie was saved and why he admires Neo
    -Fourth: Samurais are awesome
    -Fifth: Its interesting. Kinda cool looking agents
    -Six: This was good
    -Seven: Noar is cool this was nice
    -Eight: It is strange but it was quite good

    These anime shorts are very entertaining

  16. So, ironically, the best thing that could be done to the Matrix is…take it out of the hands of its creators?

    I don’t know about the Matrix, but I’m sure people are crossing their fingers that that’s what happens with Star Wars Episode VII.

  17. I’m going to go with blocking the sun didn’t stop the machines because that’s not how fucking Solar Power works in the real world (which is half the reason we don’t have it because people are too stupid to understand that) or else nothing solar powered would work at night. Which it does. They store energy from the sun while also running off of it so they can have back up power and be useful when direct sunlight isn’t present. Not to mention if they were isolated and able to advance on their own to the point of causing societal and economic destabilization, they would have clearly upgraded themselves to not have to rely on just solar power because they know humans have the technology to counter act that should they choose to.

  18. random tidbit.. but.. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG MOVIE 1999! *covers mouth* I said nothing.. 0-0

  19. Even if I enjoy the films, these reviews make them better somehow.

  20. The animation is just SO gorgeous! Its a shame so much talent wasn’t put into completely original ideas instead of ones based off of the Matrix universe.

  21. Remember when i saw this and i do agree the animation is awesome.

  22. Of course i liked the first matrix film but i wished there were more short anime movies like this.

  23. ManWithGoodTaste

    This is an great example of how sub-par works with great ideas can inspire other artists to create better works. Inspirations can be inferior to what they inspire.

  24. Just an FYI, the first short is actually supposed to be a ‘prologue’ to the ‘Enter the Matrix’ video game which starts off dealing with retrieving the package they left behind. Yea… Stupid tie-in is stupid, but that’s why it’s there.

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