What it’s about: Nine animated shorts created as side-stories and back-stories for the 2001 blockbuster The Matrix. The highlight is without a doubt “The Second Renaissance”, but most of the other stories are really, really good too.
Why you should watch it: The Wachowskis drew a lot of inspiration from anime, so they returned the favour by bringing together a star-studded crew of directors and animators – Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), Mahiro Maeda (Gankutsuou), Takeshi Koike (Redline), the list goes on and on. Each vignette is markedly different from the others, spanning a wide range of genres, settings, and styles. there’s something for everyone here.
Caveats: You do need to be familiar with at least the original Matrix film. If you’re not, you might want to see about fixing that anyway. The opening segment, “The Final Flight of the Osiris”, was picked as the lede because of what was at the time a groundbreaking quality of CGI. But that was over a decade ago, and now it really doesn’t showcase the rest of the shorts all that well. Skip to “The Second Renaissance” if you don’t care much for what you see in Flight.
Themes: Transhumanism, xenophobia, the struggle for greatness – each of the shorts has a different message, so it’s hard to find an overarching theme.