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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Meatrix, The Meatrix II and The Meatrix II ½





Free Range Studios claim that over 15 million people have viewed The Meatrix. Personally I can't count past ...say ... a lot before getting bored so am unable to vouch for the figures. All I can say is that it has been a very popular movie in school since 2003, and an absolutely inspired idea. In a clever parody of The Matrix, our trio of Moophius, Leo and Chickity reveal what lies behind the dark glasses. The source of meat is often divorced from the reality and therefore makes perfect sense for The Matrix treatment of worlds within worlds. The screenshots from The Meatrix 11: Revolting say it all. "Leo, look through the illusion of The Meatrix" orders Moophius handing Leo the shades: instead of beaming milk maid we have robot-like machine. In effect the series is a very carefully crafted advocacy for the anti-factory farm lobby, pro-organic food and the like, guaranteed to appeal to young peple in particular. Get involved, is the cry along with countless other nationalities on their international page as well as the mechanisms to enable that involvement. It has been an internet phenomenon. Now my purpose is not to take sides here, though my sympathies tend towards humane treatment of animals and keeping food natural. It is a one sided advocacy however (although what else could it be?) with, in the final episode The Meatrix II ½, meat processed in factories being showered in manure from poorly butchered carcasses and a worker's finger chopped off due to the dreadful work practices. Take away the very clever plots, animations and cute voices and listen to the words and Moophius is a spokesperson pure and simple. Supporting the website is a whole battery of blogs, links, organisations, lesson plans and the like aiming to transform a flash based cartoon series into a massive campaign. And how it succeeds. The voices are excellent - cow/ chicken/ pig/ rascals - fight scenes expertly staged and animated, guaranteed to sustain interest - will Moophius be carted off to the rotating butcher's blade? There are even touches of humour with the mystical beast walking into a rake carelessly abandoned in the factory farm, not to mention a love interest. And there's that underlying blistering brilliance of the choice of name: Moophius. Now that deserves to change 15 million lifestyles.

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