Saturday, October 31, 2020

Netflix Disk in Quarantine: The Animatrix part 2

7. Beyond, written and directed by Kōji Morimoto. 

While looking for her cat, Yoko follows a group of children to an abandoned warehouse where several glitches in the matrix make for very interesting play. Yoko finds her cat, and experiences some of the amazing features of these glitches, but is disappointed to return the next day to find the warehouse gone.

This was a very light-hearted, almost wholesome story. I worried a lot about the cat being hurt or killed (needlessly, it's fine), and some of the stunts the kids have learned within the glitches---bottles breaking and reassembling, falling from heights, and so on---could have easily gone wrong, but the overall story was a good one with a full, if slightly awwww, resolution. The bigger picture here is that we get a look at the day-to-day headaches in running the matrix for the machines, but also the strangeness and confusion that results for the people plugged into it. Where we got only a few explanations of glitches or changes happening in the films---the repeated black cat, Neo's displacement from Merovingian's mansion to a mountain castle, or agents' abilities to just take over random bodies---this examines how such events are experienced by oblivious humans, unaware that they're in a computer program but somehow in touch with how things don't exactly make sense. I liked it a lot.

8. A Detective Story, written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe.  

In this noir-inspired story, influenced (as Neo was) by elements from Alice in Wonderland, Ash seeks a hacker known as "Trinity." 

This was short, sweet, and enjoyable. The style is a very well-done noir: black and white, voice-over narration by protagonist Ash, with the strong feel of a gritty graphic novel come to life. Not to say Ash is uninteresting or unimportant, but really the excitement and anticipation of Trinity (will we get to see her? will Carrie-Anne Moss reprise her voice? Yes and Yes) drove this story. The agents were somewhat slow and sluggish here, as with Kid's Story, and this seemed a little unrealistic when compared with how they were portrayed in the film, but whatever. If you're a fan of film noir or graphic novels in the style of Sin City, you'll likely enjoy this story.

9. Matriculated, written and directed by Peter Chung.

A group of rebels operating in the real world lure machines into their version of the matrix in order to reprogram them. 

I loved this story. I loved everything about it. I almost don't want to say anything more because seeing it without any advance knowledge is, I think, the best way to experience it. I'll just say that the colors are lovely, the idea is beautiful, and it's a fantastic way to end the series of stories because of what it leaves us with, as both an audience and problem-solving humans capable of empathy. It's not too late.