You've surely seen the trailers for '47 Ronin,' which feature Keanu Reeves teaming up with a bunch of masterless samurai to take on a bunch of supernatural threats. If you saw them and wondered what the heck was going on, you're not alone. Story, at least in the marketing for the film, seems to have taken a back seat to CGI beasties. Thankfully, a new animated prequel to the feature film has arrived to give us a glimpse of what everyone is actually up to in this movie.

The prequel short, told in lovely if simplistic animation, tells the tale of 47 samurai whose quest to rid Japan of all kinds of evil is put to an end when their master dies under violent and mysterious circumstances. Naturally, the only thing for a couple dozen masterless samurai (i.e., ronin) to do is travel the country fighting stuff. And that's presumably where Mr. Reeves will enter the picture.

Here's the official synopsis for the film, which will tell what happens after the events of this animated prequel:

After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people.  Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai (Reeves)—a half-breed they once rejected—as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witchcraft and wondrous terrors. As this exiled, enslaved outcast becomes their most deadly weapon, he will transform into the hero who inspires this band of outnumbered rebels to seize eternity.

'47 Ronin' opens on December 25, so if your family is the kind that enjoys special effects-laden samurai adventures, it will truly be Christmas day in more ways than one.