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- The Intro to the DCS & Its Unveiled Secrets
One of the most informative books I have ever read. +CT
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Animatrix Allegoriesanimatrix allegories the beginning truth in fiction fiction in truth creation
A reader has notified the Arqanum of the embedded videos no longer being available. Please direct yourself to an online source where you can view the "Animatrix" series.
The plot-summaries of the shorts are listed below in the order that they run in the DVD release, which is not the chronological order. Chronologically, the order would be:
- The Second Renaissance - a prequel set generations before the original film, The Matrix, relating how humans built artificially intelligent Machines, the apocalyptic war between the two, ending with the Machines enslaving the human race and the initial creation of The Matrix virtual reality.
- A Detective Story - a stand-alone story in which the character Trinity appears, but independently of any other characters. Because Trinity is present it takes place at least within several years of the films, but it is not clear if it takes place before or after Trinity met Neo in the original film. That Trinity is alone and not working as a group with Neo may imply that it is set slightly before the first film.
- Kid's Story - set during the six month gap between the events of the first and second films, after Neo joins the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar in freeing other humans from the Matrix. Its events are briefly alluded to in dialogue at the beginning of The Matrix Reloaded.
- Final Flight of the Osiris - takes place directly before The Matrix Reloaded, as the hovercraft Osiris stumbles upon the Sentinel army digging to Zion. At the beginning of The Matrix Reloaded, Niobe mentions that their reconnaissance photos of the Machine army were transmitted from the Osiris.
Final Flight of the Osiris
Final Flight of the Osiris was written by the The Wachowskis and directed by Andy Jones, with CG-animation production and design by Square Pictures, the film is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for "Sci-Fi Violence, Sensuality and Language". The short is a direct prequel leading into the events of The Matrix Reloaded.
Thadeus (Kevin Michael Richardson), a muscular man and an athletic woman called Jue (Pamela Adlon) engage in a blindfolded sword fight in a virtual-reality dojo (similar to the sparring program where Morpheus and Neo had their first fight). With each slice of their swords, they remove another piece of each other's clothing. Immediately after cutting the other down to their underwear, they lift their blindfold to peek at the other. As the two are about to kiss, they are interrupted by an alarm and the virtual reality simulation ends.
In the next scene, the hovercraft Osiris is headed for Junction 21 when Robbie (Tom Kenny), the operator, picks up thousands of Sentinels on his HR scans. The ship flees into an uncharted tunnel away from a small group of tunnel-patrolling Sentinels, as crewmembers man the on-board guns and destroy the pursuing Sentinels. The tunnel opens at the surface, four kilometers directly above Zion and dangerously close to the previously detected army of Sentinels. Alerted to the Osiris's presence, the army of Sentinels pursue the ship.
Captain Thadeus decides Zion must be warned, and his shipmate (and earlier VR sparring partner) Jue volunteers to broadcast herself into the Matrix to deliver the crucial information while the ship is doggedly pursued. Jue and Thadeus admit to peeking at each other in the VR simulation. Entering the Matrix on a high rooftop, Jue jumps off and acrobatically makes her way down through structure work between two buildings. When she hits the ground in the alley below, a ripple effect (similar to that of Neo preparing for flight) is created by her impact. She drops off a package into a mail box. This package sets the prologue for Enter the Matrix; the first level of the game is to retrieve the package. She attempts to contact Thadeus via a cell phone as the Osiris and its gunners are overcome by sentinels and crash-lands, with the Sentinels tearing their way into the ship. At the time of the call, Thadeus is making a last stand to hold off the Sentinels. Shortly after Jue says "Thadeus" over her cell phone, the Osiris explodes, destroying many of the pursuing Sentinels. In the Matrix, Jue falls to the ground, dead, her body having been destroyed on the ship.
The Second Renaissance
The Second Renaissance is a two-part film written and directed by Mahiro Maeda. He used Bits and Pieces of Information written by the The Wachowskis as a prequel to the series as a base for the first part. The siblings have acknowledged that they are satisfied with Maeda's version, apparently despite concerns that the premise contradicts that of the original film by showing the origins of the Matrix and the human/machine war, of which character Morpheus confesses himself (and implies all humanity) to be ignorant, as a record kept in the humans' city. Although it may be implied by the Instructor's inclusive language, saying "God have mercy on Man and Machine for their sins" and "bless all forms of intelligence" that this is a future Zion after the peace with machines seen at the end of the third feature length movie.
Explained throughout by a computerized narrator known as the Instructor (Julia Fletcher), the film begins with an introduction to the Zion Archive and the access of "Historical File 12 – 1", "The Second Renaissance". The screen opens to the image of an immense megacity, in the late 21st century, wherein the vast human population is supported by a multitude of artificially intelligent machines. The machines are built in humanoid form and seem to be treated as slaves, employed in a variety of positions ranging from domestic servants to laborers on massive construction projects.
With increasing numbers of people released from all labor, the human population has become lazy, arrogant, and corrupt. Despite this, the machines were content with serving humanity and, as the narrator states, "for a time, it [the status quo] was good". This phrase is a reference to one of the most famous phrases of Genesis, consistent with the Biblical references seen throughout the original Matrix films, and is one of numerous references to Genesis in particular present in "Second Renaissance".
"In the beginning, there was man. And for a time, it was good. But humanity's so-called civil societies soon fell victim to vanity and corruption. Then man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise."
The relationship between humans and machines changes in the year 2090, when a domestic android is threatened by its owner. The android, named B1-66ER in what appears to be a reference to the character Bigger Thomas from the novel Native Son, then kills the owner, his pets, and a mechanic instructed to deactivate the robot. This murder is the first incident of an artificially intelligent machine killing a human. B1-66ER is arrested and put on trial, but justifies the crime as self-defense, stating that it "simply did not want to die". During the trial scene, there is a voice-over of Clarence Darrow (the defense attorney) quoting a famous line from the Dred Scott v. Sandford case in 1856 in his closing statement, which implicitly ruled that African Americans were not entitled to citizenship under United States law. Using this as a precedent, the prosecution argues that machines are not entitled to the same rights as human beings, and specifically that human beings have a right to destroy their property, while the defense urges the listener not to repeat history, and to judge B1-66ER as a human and not a machine (a longer version of Darrow's closing statement can be read in the comic Bits and Pieces of Information from The Matrix Comics Volume 1).
B1-66ER loses the court case and is destroyed. Across the industrialized world, mass civil disturbances erupt when robots and their human sympathizers rise in protest. World leaders fear a robot rebellion, and governments across the planet initiate a major program to destroy all humanoid machines. News reports show rioting in American and Western European cities such as Chicago and Berlin, alongside the peaceful "Million Machine March" on the Albany district courthouse where B1-66ER was sentenced. Visual references are made to such incidents as General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan's execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém, the Tank Man standoff following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Al-Aqsa Intifada and The Holocaust.
"We think they are not, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings... "
Some robots escape destruction when humans, in their greed, still want the robots to work and produce things for them. The machine population is exiled, and they create their own nation in the Middle East, named Zero One (or "01", the numerals used in binary notation). According to the narrator, the robots built Zero One in "the cradle of human civilization", an allusion to the Fertile Crescent, apparently located in Saudi Arabia's "Empty Quarter" which is devoid of human life. Essentially ghettoized at Zero One, the machines establish their own industrial base there and begin to produce efficient, highly advanced artificial intelligence, echoing Vernor Vinge's thoughts on a technological singularity. The new nation excels at manufacturing high-tech consumer products, and before long, Zero One's consistent export of cheap, reliable, mass-produced goods begin to undercut the global economy.
The United Nations Security Council calls an emergency economic summit at UN headquarters in New York City, resulting in UN delegates approving of a global economic blockade of Zero One that echoes the Cuban Missile Crisis. Two robotic ambassadors, built as a mechanical Adam and Eve, are sent by the leaders of Zero One to peacefully request the admission of their state to the United Nations as a prelude to settling the economic crisis peacefully. Despite their peaceful intentions, the ambassadors are forcibly removed from the chamber, and their application is rejected. As this scene unfolds, the narrator states that "this was not the last time the machines would take the floor there" foreshadowing the end of Part II. Part I ends as the Security Council debates the issue of short-sightedly declaring war on the Machine Empire.
Part II opens with United Nations aircraft unleashing a massive nuclear bombardment on Zero One. The nuclear carpet bombing devastates the machine city, but is unsuccessful in destroying many elements of the mechanical population, given that the machines did not have the same weaknesses to the bombs' fallout and heat as humans. The machines retaliate by unleashing their armies to conquer neighboring human countries, triggering a world war between the United Nations and Zero One. Unfortunately, most of the world's industrial output is already based in Zero One, as the lazy humans had grown accustomed to not producing things for themselves. Despite their best efforts, human troops are unable to hold back Zero One's relentlessly efficient onslaught, and slowly retreat (robot armies are explicitly shown to have advanced into Eastern Europe by this point). As the machine forces push deeper across the planet, military leaders begin to pursue increasingly desperate solutions.
At a summit of political and military leaders from around the world, unanimous approval is given to a plan code-named "Operation Dark Storm", which aims to cut the machines off from the sun, their primary energy source. The plan is executed in 2095, with high altitude bombers dispersing sky-darkening nanomachines into the air, while the human armies simultaneously launch a ground offensive against the machine forces. The plan is initially successful, although many of the human nations' long-range weapons systems are also disabled by the lack of sunlight. With their high-tech weapons rendered useless, human commanders are forced to launch close-quarters infantry engagements, supported by electromagnetic artillery fire and armored assaults using atomic tanks and powered armor. Heavy losses are taken on both sides, but the Machines gradually gain the upper hand.
Legions of a new model of machine, no longer in humanoid form and appearing more like the insectoid or cephalopod-like Sentinels and others of the Matrix films, overrun the human armies. This coincides with the destruction of original man-made robots at the hands of human forces and, as a result, the further dehumanization of the rapidly emerging machine collective. As the machine armies swarm across the human defenses, the United Nations, in desperation, fires nuclear missiles directly at the machine armies, vaporizing their own troops in the process. To make up for the lack of solar power, the machines begin capturing human prisoners and using their bodies to power large biomechanical tanks, which quickly cut through the dwindling human artillery. As the expanding armies of Zero One overrun Eurasia, they unleash lethal biological weapons which further ravage humanity.
Eventually brought to its knees by the might of the machine army, the Security Council calls a global summit at U.N. headquarters to sign an armistice and end the war. Zero One's machine ambassador signs the peace treaty with a barcode, in which the humans agree to surrender their remaining territories to the machines. "Your flesh is a relic, a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world awaits you. We demand it" are the only words the machine utters before it detonates a nuclear bomb in the meeting chamber, killing most of the planet's leaders and destroying New York City, one of the few remaining human settlements. In 2102, the machines crush the leaderless remnants of the human armies, and the war ends.
Zero One is victorious, but it is a Pyrrhic victory: the planet has been devastated by the war and by the crippling ecological impact of the Dark Storm shroud, which the machines are unable to remove. In need of a new energy source, the machines adapt their bioelectric tank technology to build vast human-stocked power stations, using their bodies' waste-energy to catalyze a powerful fusion reaction, in which in its making the Humans endure many days of agonising torture, and at its completion, the Machines create the computer-generated virtual reality of the Matrix (presumably having erased the memory of their former lives), to keep their prisoners sedated by feeding the virtual world into the prisoners' brains, starting with the first prototype Matrix (as later explained, there were two prototypes of the Matrix before the finalized, realistic version).
Kid's Story was written by the The Wachowskis and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, with animations by Kazuto Nakazawa and production design by Studio 4°C, Tokyo. It is the only one of the animated shorts contained in The Animatrix in which Neo appears. The short takes place during the six month gap between The Matrix and The Matrix: Reloaded, during which time Neo has joined the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar and is helping the rebels to free other humans from the Matrix. Kid (Clayton Watson) is a disaffected teenager who feels there is something wrong with the world, frequenting hacker chatrooms on the internet and wondering if he is alone. In school, he absent-mindendly scribbles "Neo lives" in his notebook. One day he receives a personal invitation from Neo (Keanu Reeves) to escape the Matrix (much as Morpheus invited Neo himself to escape it). The following day, he receives a call from Neo on his cell phone, and is chased through his high school by a band of Agents, before ultimately being cornered on the roof. He asserts his faith in Neo, and throws himself from the roof, whereupon the other characters are shown holding his funeral. The short fades up from black as the Kid awakens in the real world to see Neo and Trinity watching over him. They remark that he has achieved "self substantiation" (removing oneself from the Matrix without external aid), which was considered impossible. In both the short itself and The Matrix Reloaded, however, the Kid seems to believe it was Neo's actions, not his own, that saved him.
Self-substantiation is never thoroughly discussed in any part of the series. Morpheus speaks of the founder of Zion who freed himself, presumably without external help. However, this was revealed to be a ruse by the machines. Kid's Story and World Record both heavily hint at this as the viewer wonders how a man being awoken from one of those pods, apparently helpless, could somehow build and start a city.
Program was written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The character designs were done by Yutaka Minowa. In case with Beyond and Matriculated it is also a midquel of the first or second film. It follows the protagonist, "Cis" (Hedy Burress), who is engaged in her "favorite simulation": a battle program set in feudal Japan. After successfully eliminating an attacking enemy cavalry, a lone samurai appears whom Cis recognizes as "Duo" (Phil LaMarr).
Initially, the two duel as allies, testing one another's fighting abilities. During the course of their duel, Duo briefly disarms Cis. He questions her concentration and wonders whether she regrets taking the Red Pill that took them out of the "peaceful life of the virtual world". They continue fighting until she finally overpowers Duo and is poised for the 'kill'. It is at this point that Duo states that he has "something to say". She sarcastically assumes that he wants to propose [marriage]; but instead he admits a desire to return to the Matrix; incredulous, Cis nevertheless responds that doing so is impossible as 'the truth' is already known to them, forbidding their re-integration. Duo reasons that reality is harsh and that he is tired of it. He adds that the Machines can make the both of them forget the truth.
Duo then states that he has disabled or killed the other crewmembers and contacted the Machines. He asks Cis to return with him to the Matrix, but she continues to refuse. As Duo becomes more aggressive in his arguments for returning, Cis attempts to escape while simultaneously warding off his attacks. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation, Cis requests an operator in order to exit the simulation. Duo tells her that no one can hear her and reiterates that it "is already done...[the machines] are on their way". Thereafter their fighting becomes much more serious and forceful as they move from rooftop to rooftop.
Duo, in a flying leap, attacks her from above with his sword. As the blade comes towards her, Cis, standing her ground, concentrates and halts its forward motion inches from her face and breaks it. She takes the broken end of the blade and thrusts it into Duo. Duo states his love for her as he dies.
Suddenly, she wakes from the program and discovers that the encounter with Duo was a test program devised for training purposes. A man named "Kaiser" (John DiMaggio) unsuccessfully assures her that she acted appropriately during the test and met the test's targets. Clearly upset, she punches him in the face and walks away. He remarks that "aside from that last part", she passed the test. This remark can be construed as referring either to the punch, or her actions in the simulation regarding stopping the blade - something that may be considered beyond the abilities of what is traditionally considered possible within the Matrix by 'normal' people.
World Record was created by Madhouse and directed by Takeshi Koike, with a screenplay by Yoshiaki Kawajiri and is also a midquel of the first or second film. The beginning of this short includes a short narration from the Instructor (implies that this short is a Zion Archive file) explaining details behind the discovery of the Matrix by "plugged-in" humans. Only exceptional humans tend to become aware of the Matrix, who have "a rare degree of intuition, sensitivity, and a questioning nature", all qualities which are used to identify inconsistencies in the Matrix. This is not without exceptions, given that "Some attain this wisdom through wholly different means."
The story is about Dan Davis, a track athlete, who's competing in the 100m in the Summer Olympic Games. He has set a world record time of 8.99 seconds, but his subsequent gold medal was revoked for drug use. He decides to compete again and break his own record to "prove them wrong." Despite support from his father and a young reporter, Dan's trainer tells him that he is physically unfit to race and that pushing himself too hard will cause a career ending injury. Dan is adamant on racing.
On the day of the race, he is monitored by 4 agents located in the stadium. The race begins and Dan starts off strong. However, the muscles in his leg violently rupture, putting him at a setback and scaring many of the people in the stands. Through strong willpower, Dan ignores the injury and runs much faster than he did before, easily passing the other athletes. Before he can cross the finish line, 3 of the agents possess the 3 closest runners and try and stop him, but even they can't catch up to them.
Dan's massive burst of energy in the Matrix causes his real-world counterpart (the Dan in the power-station pods) to rip apart the plug connecting him to the Matrix, causing him to see the real world through his pod. A Sentinel restrains him back in his pod and violently shocks him with electrified restraints.
Dan's mind is thrown back into the Matrix, but his body is exhausted from the race and what he has just seen, causing him to tumble to the ground at high speeds. Despite this, Dan easily won the race and broke his original time of 8.99 seconds with a time of 8.72 seconds.
The next scene shows a crippled Dan being wheeled by a nurse through a hospital. A nearby agent calls his other agents to tell them that they erased Dan's memory of the race and that he will never walk again; he won't be an issue. However, Dan quietly whispers the word, "Free," angering the agent and telling him to sit back down. Davis then breaks free of the restraints in his wheelchair and takes a few steps before falling down again and being helped up by the nurse.
Beyond is written and directed by Koji Morimoto. It is a midquel short film, during the first or second installment of the trilogy. It follows a teenage girl, Yoko (Hedy Burress), looking for her cat Yuki. While asking around the neighborhood, indicatively somewhere in Japan, she meets some younger boys. One of them tells her Yuki is inside a "haunted house" and invites her to see it.
The children have stumbled across an amalgamation of anomalies within an old, dilapidated building. They have learned to exploit this glitch in the Matrix for their own enjoyment, through several areas which seem to defy real-world physics: glass bottles reassemble after being shattered, rain falls from a sunny sky, broken lightbulbs flicker briefly (during which they seem intact), a door which opens into an endless dark void, shadows which do not align with their physical origins, and a dove's feather that rotates rapidly in place in mid-air. There is a large open space in the middle of the run-down building where they take turns jumping off a high point and falling towards the ground, yet somehow stopping inches before impact. This proves amusing and they do not seem to be bothered by the inherent strangeness of the place.
Throughout the film, brief sequences show that Agents are aware of the problem in the Matrix, and a truck is seen driving toward the site to presumably deal with the problem. It arrives while the children are still playing, and an Agent-led team of "rodent exterminators" moves in to clear everybody out of it. The story ends when Yoko and the others return to the area the next day and find the site has been turned into an unremarkable parking lot. They unsuccessfully attempt to re-create the bizarre occurrences of yesterday and soon go in search of something else to do.
A Detective Story
A Detective Story is written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, with animation by Kazuto Nakazawa and a direct prequel to first film. It follows the story of a down-on-his-luck private detective, Ash (James Arnold Taylor), on what he calls the "case to end all cases". Ash receives an anonymous phone call to search for a hacker that goes by the alias "Trinity" (Carrie-Anne Moss). Ash traces Trinity and learns that other detectives have failed in the same task before him; one had committed suicide, one had gone missing, and one had gone insane. He then attempts to speak with the insane detective but cannot get anything substantial out of him. This detective is an African American with a thin mustache who shows a resemblance to Walter Mosley's detective character 'Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins'. This is a possible homage to the character as Mosley's detective series is set in a similar Noir type setting and there were not many black detectives at the time.
Eventually Ash finds Trinity after deducing that he should communicate using phrases and facts from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She proposes a meeting, and he successfully finds the location. At the meeting she removes a "bug" from his eye, planted by Agents earlier in an "eye exam dream". Agents appear and attempt to apprehend Trinity in a shoot-out with her and Ash. While the two fugitives are trying to escape the train, an Agent attempts to take over Ash's body, forcing Trinity to shoot him in order to prevent the Agent from appearing. Ash is wounded, whereupon he and Trinity bid farewells without malice. Trinity escapes, telling Ash that she thinks he could have handled the truth. Agents enter the car to find Ash, who points his gun at them while looking in the other direction and lighting a cigarette. The Agents turn to Ash who, even though he is armed, will likely die. With this apparent no-win situation, the film ends with Ash's line ("A case to end all cases") as his lighter flame goes out.
Matriculated was written and directed by Korean American director Peter Chung, widely known for his work on Aeon Flux. Like Beyond, it is a midquel of the first or second film. The film deals with a group of above-ground human rebels who lure hostile intelligent machines to their laboratory in order to capture them and insert them into a "matrix" of their own design. Within this matrix, the humans attempt to teach the captured machines some of the positive traits of humanity, primarily compassion and empathy. The ultimate goal of this project is to help the intelligent machines develop free will in order to overcome their original "search-and-destroy" programming, rather than reprogramming it by force.
The rebels' hope is that, once converted of its own volition (a key point discussed in the film), an "enlightened" machine will assist Zion in its struggle against the machine-controlled totalitarianism which currently dominates the Earth. After capturing one of the "runner" robots, the rebels insert the machine into their matrix. The experience of the robot leads it to believe it may have a relationship with one of the female rebels, Alexa (Melinda Clarke), either friendship or something deeper.
However, the rebel group is attacked by the Machines and unplug themselves to defend their headquarters, but they experience what might be considered a Pyrrhic Victory: all the onscreen rebels are killed but the single robot captured in the film successfully 'reprogrammed', indicated by the machine's mechanical eye changing from red to green. The robot plugs the dying Alexa into their matrix with itself, the only two things left surviving. Much to the machine's dismay, when the rebel realizes she is trapped inside the matrix with the "friendly" robot, she turns horrified and her avatar dissolves screaming as she clutches her head, and the robot exits from the rebels' matrix to see a motionless Alexa in front of him in the real world.
The film ends with the 'converted' robot standing outside the headquarters of the human rebels, with a light on its back now turned back to the color red.