Shortstember: The Final Flight of the Osiris

Studio: Square Pictures

Director: Andy Jones

Writer: The Wachowskis

Wha’ happen?

In a sparring programme, Captain Thadeus of the Zion hovercraft Osiris and his first mate (in more ways than one) Juen swordfight while blindfolded. This doesn’t, as you might expect, result in horrific injuries but instead with them just getting progressively more naked.

This ass is important to the story, shut up.

They’re interrupted when the Osiris comes across an army of half a million machine sentinels and a big fuck-off drill, burrowing into the Earth’s crust right over Zion, the last human city. Rushing to warn Zion, the Osiris flees the pursuing sentinels. Juen volunteers to enter the Matrix leave a message in a dropbox. The sentinels overpower the Osiris but Juen manages to relay the message before the ship is destroyed and she drops dead.

How was it?

Probaby the least “animé” of all the shorts, this one feels most of a piece with the original trilogy. Everything from the score to the colour scheme to the dialogue feels like it could just slot very neatly into the films. One thing I really admired about the Wachowskis was their commitment that everything mattered. There was no “expanded universe”, every part (whether film, short film or computer game) was equally canon. Sure, you don’t have to see Osiris to make sense of Matrix Reloaded but if you have seen it you’re never in any doubt that it happened in this universe. The events here are referenced and are always consistent with the rest of the franchise. I like that. The animation was some of the most jaw dropping CGI I had ever seen in 2003 and in 2022 it holds up amazingly well. Sure, the sword striptease might seem like shameless pandering (and it is) but it’s also a demonstration of technical power. The flesh of these characters moves realistically and organically, these bodies tense and flex and sweat organically. It’s mighty impressive today. Twenty years ago it was bloody witchcraft.

It’s light on story, lighter on dialogue and pretty insubstantial. But as a visually stunning, slick little thriller it gets the job done.

2 comments

  1. I check your site daily for over a week, and nothing happens.

    I don’t check it for another, and suddenly there’s three new updates!

    Dammit… I shouldn’t visit your blog more often! 😜

    All kidding aside, I remember watching the Animatrix DVD back in the day, and this short definitely was one of the better ones. The plot was short, but to the point (swordfight-stripping pandering aside), though I agree that while it wasn’t really deep or meaningful, what really stuck with me back then was the animation (… And the swordfight-stripping.) I also liked the IDEA that this short linked the second movie and the video game together, although in the end it didn’t really amount to much – none of the three were really all that memorable in the end, especially not compared to the first Matrix movie

  2. Very glad to see you doing Animatrix. This one is honestly my least favorite. I don’t dislike it, but I wonder if the animation suffers from not having the memory of seeing it in 2003, instead of the 2020s.

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