The Calgary Sun (Ca), March 20, 2003

The Matrix gets animated

HOLLYWOOD -- Hunger for the continuing saga of the Matrix is growing, as May 15 -- the release date of The Matrix Reloaded -- draws near.

To whet appetites of the film's fans, producer Joel Silver is releasing the 11-minute animated short The Final Flight Of The Osiris in tandem with the theatrical release of Dreamcatcher today.


"The Final Flight Of The Osiris is not a trailer for The Matrix Reloaded. It is its own film. It is what we like to call chapter 1.5 in The Matrix trilogy," says Silver.

The Final Flight Of The Osiris is one of nine original short films conceived by Larry and Andy Wachowski, creators of The Matrix trilogy.

Silver recalls that when he and the Wachowski brothers went to Japan in 1999 to promote The Matrix, the filmmakers "were already huge fans of the Japanese anime style of animation, but seeing more of it, we're determined to employ it in some way for The Matrix films."

When they saw what director Andy Jones had accomplished on the animated feature Final Fantasy, they asked him to direct The Final Flight Of The Osiris.

The other eight directors are from Asia.

"We wanted to push what we'd accomplished in Final Fantasy to a new level," says Jones.

"We had created believable human characters, but we hid their bodies under clothing. In Final Flight we take off most of the clothing to show how the muscles and skin react."

Though the animated characters in Final Flight are eerily real, Silver says, "we are not attempting to create virtual actors. No one in our group is thinking of replacing actors.

"This kind of animation is a tool to aid directors to achieve things they can't with real actors."

Two of the other eight animated films are already available on the Internet.

"We've had more than four million downloads in the month they've been available. We had 250,000 downloads in the first hour we posted the second one on the net," says Silver.

The Animatrix, as the complete series is known, will be available in early June on video and DVD.

"We're releasing The Animatrix between The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, which debuts in November, to keep fans happy."

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