It would be easy to dismiss the hype that's about to engulf the movie world with "The Matrix" sequels this year.
I was prepared to thumb my nose at all of the propaganda and marketing -- no matter how wonderfully original the first film was.
"Matrix" universe creators Andy and Larry Wachowski are working to enhance the mythology associated with the film. The most recent example: the release on the Internet of "The Second Renaissance Part I," the first of nine short films that will eventually make up the DVD "The Animatrix."
Computer servers, prepare to crash, because this short feature, which combines computer-generated and Japanese (anime) animation, will be a must once word spreads.
Scripted by the Wachowskis, it's a compelling piece of filmmaking, despite its brevity and the limited scope that a computer monitor offers.
"Renaissance" offers a glimpse into the Matrix world's past, when the rule of men began to end. The narrative keeps your eyes fixed on the screen, and you can rewind and fast forward after the initial download.
The first installment leaves you craving the next one, but, sorry, you'll have to wait until March.
One installment of the series -- "The Final Flight of the Osiris" -- will play before screenings of the Warner Bros. film "The Dreamcatcher," scheduled for release March 21.
"The Matrix: Reloaded" will open in theaters May 15 and "The Matrix: Revolutions" will debut Nov. 7.