Final Flight Of The Osiris
Prologue to The Matrix Reloaded that doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, but looks nice while doing it.
This is best considered a short story, a prologue to Reloaded. It concerns the good ship Osiris, presumably a sister ship of the Nebuchadnezzar. Thadeus, a Morpheus-alike in look and name (standard issue ships captain, apparently) and Jue, an aesthetically pleasing Asian lass start off the show with a sparring sword-fight duel in the familiar training dojo, which somehow turns into a striptease, the pair carefully slicing more and more of the others garments away. All the expected acrobatic flippy-floppy-jumpy-pose bits are present and almost correct. This is supposed to be the big main jaw-dropping sequence, but the way the characters move and fall in certain places just isn't quite right, which makes it that little bit harder to suspend disbelief. The fight lasts for a few minutes, a sizeable percentage of its runtime, before being interrupted by an alarm.
The ship has ran into a sizeable patrol of the Sentinels, and they have to take a few chances to escape them, flying down uncharted tunnels. It's odd seeing this here, as obviously the similar scenes on The Matrix are CG too. Despite having substantially less budget, the chase scenes here are very well done, although never going to be mistaken for the 'real' thing.
They end up out on the desolation of the surface, finding a huge army of the Sentinels and a very large drill. A quick shuftie at their maps indicate that they are directly above the last human city, Zion. This sets alarm bells ringing, and they decide they have to warn Zion by inserting someone into the Matrix and send a message through a drop-off point, which in a rather useful metaphor is a mail-box.
Under attack from a vast army of Sentinels, the crew valiantly try to hold off the swathes of robots attacking them with the weapons available to them, which looks good, as Jue makes an acrobatic dash through the city, which does not. The same problems apply as before, the motion isn't quite fluid enough and too much time is taken up with posing.
The facial detail and animation on the characters is certainly up there with Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within for the main characters, but not quite so detailed on the rest of the adjunct crewmembers. This isn't too much of a problem as they're rarely on-screen.
This has no pretence at being a great story, but there's little to nothing to elevate it above a technical demo. We're not really given any reason to care about anyone here, and it would be nearly impossible to do this given it's short runtime. The plot itself suffers mostly from being something we already know, unless you have somehow avoided the trailers for Reloaded. There's nothing to surprise you here, apart possibly from the shockingly awful dialogue that's present on the few occasions speech is necessary. At least the excellent score helps build the atmosphere.
It's a nice piece of eye-candy, but that's pretty much all it has going for it. It makes a nice companion piece to The Matrix but ultimately leaves us wanting the real thing, which is of course the point of it. Unfortunately the only way to see this at present is as a short before Dreamcatcher, which is the absolute worst thing I've seen at a cinema in some time, and I couldn't recommend anything which would add to the box office of that travesty. Doubtlessly it'll appear to download as are the other parts, or picked up on a DVD for the completist. It's an interesting but ultimately pointless little exercise, but as another trailer for Reloaded it succeeds well.
I've no real idea how to score this. It does nearly everything well enough in the time allotted to it, bar a few (fairly minor, truth be told) niggles in the motion animation. Let's not think about it too much and give it 3/5 TippyMarks.
Pamela Segall (Jue)