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Animatrix: World Record

The scene opens on a packed stadium. An Olympic stadium. Tens of thousands of spectators gathered. A narrator's voice explains. "Only the most exceptional of people become aware of the Matrix. Those who learn it exists, must possess a rare degree of intuition, sensitivity, and a questioning nature."

Two dark, sleek legs step into the picture, upon the track. The athlete they belong to, Dan Davis, is competing for the USA. An agent is watching from a covered archway at the side of the track. He is co-ordinating with other agents that the situation is stable, but he will keep the frequency open. They obviously suspect something.

The narrator continues as Dan gets into his starting block for the upcoming sprint. "However, very rarely, some gain this wisdom through wholly different means. This man is one of those few."

The starter calls out, raises his pistol and fires. All goes black. It's a flashback to one of Dan's earlier races. He set the world record 100 metre sprint time of 8.99 seconds some years back, then lost it all. He used performance enhancers. His medal was revoked, although his time stands.

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Another flashback of his dad telling him he will go on, over the phone. Back to the present, and Dan pushes off from the starter's block, all his effort going into forward thrust. Cameras flash, and a timer slowly counts up the hundredths of a second.

The agents watch on from the stands, as Dan and the other competitors give it everything they've got and then some. Not even a second has passed yet.

Another flashback, to his trainer, in a gym. His trainer yelling at him that this race is no good. He has pushed himself beyond his limits and his muscles are about to burst. Dan was first in qualifying, but if he races in the Olympics - in the race we're in - he will finish up in a wheelchair. He has done enough. Injure himself now, and his body will just collapse. It will all be over.

Dan says that no-one will ever beat his record. He achieved it thanks to the drugs. This is his last chance to prove it can be done, without drugs. He set the world record, he is the one to break it.

His trainer says that Dan'll be doing it without him. There is a flash, and we return to Dan's track shoe thumping down on the grit as he propels himself forwards, yet faster. His body begins to contort, as through sheer force of will, he moves it beyond its limits. Muscles twisting and turning as the laws of physics try to keep up with his raw desire and determination.

Another flashback. A redheaded reporter asking him some questions. She wants to know what it felt like to hit 9.08 in the qualifying race. He states "It feels like you are released from the world. You are totally free."

Back to the race, and his body is contorting further and further. His knee looks like its on the verge of exploding out of his skin with every hammer strike. Face distorted, buckets of sweat pouring off, his gait is becoming ever more unstable as he forces his body ever faster.

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Suddenly an inner explosion rips up his right leg as the tendons just snap. The line of his leg is totally gone, and the pain shoots straight up to his face. He tumbles, almost biting the dirt hard. Somehow he keeps to his feet, and finding strength from somewhere, he ploughs on. His knee is busted, useless, yet he has attuned to the Matrix somehow. His raw determination granting him powers like a Zion broadcaster. The agents begin to be seriously concerned.

His kneecap explodes under the continued stress. Blood spurting out. Yet, Dan keeps going, and begins to close on the race leader. His lower body collapses around him as the goal is in sight. Dan pulls hard on his will again, directing everything he has to winning the race, being free of the world, and suddenly the stadium vanishes.

The Matrix obeyed his desire. He's just logged out.

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The machines are not prepared to let him go. As he awakens, screaming, a robot on clambers down the generator tower, to the outside of his pod, and peers in. Seeing the waking man, it slams the restraints tight and they pulse with electrical power as the machine forcibly thrusts him back through the login procedure.

He's back in the Matrix, just crossing the finishing line. The clock displays 8.72 seconds. He's done it, he set his record. His will spent, he slips, and his leg buckles. He collapses and rolls. All he remembers are the experiences in the pod. The race, the race no longer matters. He set an all time world record, but it no-longer matters.

The world fades out, and back in to a Matrix hospital. Dan is in a wheelchair, being pushed by a nurse.

An agent steps in, and comments on his radio. "An interesting case, but I don't think we have to worry about the effects. He will never run again. He will never walk again for that matter. We'll continue monitoring."

Dan drops two walnuts he was carrying in his hands, and the nurse stops the chair to pick them up. Dan grunts, and leans forwards. The agent stares in horror, "sit down!"

Dan is struggling to stand. The complex arrangement of screws and braces on his legs, pinning them in position, apparently no-longer pinning quite so well. They break, screws flying off as bracing plates pass maximum tolerance. Everyone knew he would never walk again. Yet.,.. his will refuses to bow to the limits of the Matrix, the memory of outside string and vivid. Dan utters one word, a wistful "Free!" He then takes a step forwards, and another, his useless legs somehow supporting him, pure will over simulation, once again.

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Dan's hair rises up as if gravity has lost its hold, and the walnuts he dropped, slowly rise off the floor. Dan's will is bending the laws of the Matrix again.

The agent starts running for Dan, his voice rising as he commands him to sit down. Dan takes another step, then another, then collapses forwards onto hands and knees. He's not going to give up. He is not going to surrender. He will walk again, and then, then he will be free.


Running time: 8:45

Written by by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Directed by Takeshi Koike


Purchase This

The Animatrix

The Animatrix is a collection of nine short animations, a mix of CG and hand drawn animation, starting with this one, and moving through eight others, each with a unique point of view. Some are deeply philosophical , some wax poetic. All are filled with information on VR, on what it could and can quite easily be, beyond the matrix series itself.

Ironically, Flight of the Osiris is the odd one out, as it is the most plot-canon of the nine, and has the least to offer in philosophical or technical musings about VR. That said, the CG still gives us a great deal to muse over visually, but the others too, are well worth a look.

Review also links to all nine short films.

The Ultimate Matrix Collection

The 'Ultimate Matrix Collection' is actually rather less than ultimate, since it does not include the Matrix philosophy books, and other add-ons. However, what this bumper DVD collection does include, is all three films, and the Animatrix.

Other Links

Resource List: Everything Matrix

A resource list held on VWN, attempting to index everything we have, Matrix related. It continues to grow steadily over time

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