The Animatrix is a 2003 direct-to-video anthology film based on The Matrix trilogy produced by The Wachowskis, who wrote and directed the trilogy. The film is a compilation of nine animated short films, including four written by the Wachowskis. It details the backstory of the Matrix universe, and the original war between man and machines which led to the creation of the Matrix.
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” – an electronic library entry which appears to serve a world after the Matrix movie timeline. It describes history 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, and though it is not made clear within the cartoon if it takes place before or after Trinity met Neo in the original film, another official source places it before the events of The Matrix.
- “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.
The other four shorts (“Program”, “World Record”, “Beyond”, and “Matriculated”) are independent of the events of any other installment. While they generically deal with the virtual reality of the Matrix, and the Zion rebels, conceivably they could take place at any point in the generations-long struggle between the human rebels and the Machines running the Matrix.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film: