"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance.
So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2]
-- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation.
Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix
trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster.
Using a blend of faux documentary footage
and visual metaphor
, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world.
Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions
galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for.
But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix
franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix
, a collection of nine superb anime films
in a wide variety of styles
designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies.
Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics
, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some
of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Feb 14, 2011 -
Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo
series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory
-- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels
, a wiki with over 7,000 articles
, and one of the most successful ARGs in history
(including a full-fledged radio drama
). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes
and epic music (lots of free previews)
to top-shelf anime
and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST
, Deliver Hope
-- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9
). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima
from Red vs. Blue
, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top)
, gorgeous artwork
, hours of recorded dialogue
, complete transcripts
of hidden apocrypha
, and more factual analysis
, story speculation
, and casual discussion
than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica
, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site
, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org
posted by Rhaomi
on Jan 31, 2011 -