In he long awaited sequel to the 1999 hit movie “The Matrix,” the Wachowski brothers continue the saga in “The Matrix: Reloaded” which comes to theaters May 15. However, more to the story of the Matrix is given not in just the movies, but also in the anime shorts entitled “The Animatrix” and the video slated for release the same day as “Reloaded,” “Enter the Matrix.” Creators Larry and Andy Wachowski have created an entire multimedia package to tell the story, intertwining plot lines through film, anime, and video game mediums. In order to fully understand the plot of “The Matrix,” you must take in both films, the anime and the video game to get the full Matrix experience.

Revolving around the idea that the world as we know it is not actually real but a computer simulation created by machines, “The Matrix” was one of the top grossing films of the summer in 1999. Machines have conquered the land and use humans as a heat and energy source, creating a synthetic world, dubbed the “matrix,” is to keep the humans completely unconscious of reality.

The second film in the series, “Reloaded,” is expected to be an early summer blockbuster. The “real world” and the last remaining human stronghold, Zion, will now be shown more extensively to the viewers. Rumor has it that “Reloaded” will open with events leading to an attack by machines on Zion itself, skipping from the end of the original film. This jump in plot may seem as a strange way to start the sequel, as apposed to a direct continuation from the first film – the missing sequences will be covered in the anime shorts entitled “The Animatrix” however.

Several new key characters are added in “Reloaded,” along with the return of Neo, Morpheus, Trinity – Carrie-Anne Moss – and even Agent Smith – Hugo Weaving. Jada Pinkett-Smith plays Naomi, a fighter in the rebellion against the machines and rumored former love interest of Morpheus. Monica Bellucci plays Persephone, rumored to be a sentient program like the Agents who tempts Neo to lead a different – and probably sinister – path.

Very little information on “Reloaded” has been leaked by the directors or actors, although there are several rumors floating around the internet. Agent Smith returns as the dominant evil villain again, despite appearing to be destroyed in the first film. He now has the ability to replicate himself many times over, which is evident in a fight sequence in the “Reloaded” trailer, available at the official Matrix Web site – www.whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com.

Several animated shorts have been created in order to flesh out some mysterious portions of the plot of the Matrix, along with some interesting side stories. Titled “The Animatrix,” several well known Japanese artists and directors have been called upon to create short vignettes about the Matrix universe. A DVD, to be released in mid-June, contains all nine episodes of “The Animatrix.” Three shorts are available for free to download from the Animatrix website – ww.intothematrix.com and a fourth will be shortly before the airing of “Reloaded” in May.

The first of the released Animatrix episodes, entitled “The Second Renaissance,” includes history of the events in the early 21st century during the rise of technology and eventual segregation of robots from humans. Divided into two parts, the second portion will be available in May, and explains why the events in “The Matrix” occured and why robots and machines took over the world. This short brings up the interesting question of who the “bad guys” really are – humans or robots? The two other released episodes seem more like side stories, one depicting a training simulation and the other a detective trying to catch up with the elusive hacker Trinity, although neither deals directly with the plot of the Matrix. Apparently, the most important of all the stories is the episode “The Final Flight of the Osiris,” which is rumored to show the story leading up to the opening of the second film.

The final piece of the Matrix puzzle lies in the video game “Enter the Matrix,” developed for multiple platforms. This game includes information vital to the storyline of the Matrix,as the Wachowski brothers worked hand-in-hand with the video game developer, Shiny Entertainment, writing a massive 300-page script for the game itself. Both the game and the second movie have several common points, only creating a full story when both are experienced. This idea, revolutionary in the video game industry, has received rave reviews so far. The game will be available May 15, the same day “The Matrix: Reloaded” hits theaters.

The first Matrix movie was heralded as a superb mix of fantasy, action, and science fiction elements that covered a broad spectrum of adiances. The special effects in the first filmed amazed moviegoers, and the new technology being used in the second one will surpass the wonders of “bullet-time” from the first film. Be sure to check out “The Matrix: Reloaded,” and don’t forget to pick up “The Animatrix” on DVD and “Enter the Matrix” on your favorite video game consoles, or else you’ll be just another unknowing slave stuck in “The Matrix.”

Re can be reached at sre@campustimes.org.



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