“The Matrix Reloaded (Expanded)”
Tenth Anniversary Soundtrack Review
Music By Don Davis
Featuring Kerry Walsh, Rob Dougan &
Ben Watkins (aka. Juno Reactor)
La-La Land Records LLLCD1263
Disc 1: 23 Tracks/Disc Time: 78:17
Disc 2: 9 Tracks/Disc Time: 75:08
In the spring of 1999, a film that would become a surprise blockbuster and would be one of the more innovative and entertaining action-thrillers of the decade would be released. I’m of course talking about that genre bending action spectacular, “The Matrix” starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne-Moss and Laurence Fishburne, which featured effects unlike any other and featured some rather elaborate set pieces and a storyline that would’ve rivaled “Star Wars”. In that film, elite hacker Thomas Anderson aka. Neo (Reeves) a wakes in a world that is the complete opposite of the world that is around us which is an illusion. Guided by the malevolent Morphius (Fishburne) and his eventual love, Trinity (Moss), Neo is trained to fulfill his destiny which is to fight and expose “The Matrix” and the ultimate villian in Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving, “Lord Of The Rings”). After exploding on Video and DVD later that fall, it was a no-brainer that “The Matrix” was a major cash cow waiting to happen and Warner Bros. immediately green lit “The Matrix Reloaded” and its’ concluding sequel, “The Matrix Revolutions”. A very bold move by studio, both sequels would be filmed back to back and given a full year of editing as well as perfecting the film’s even bigger visual effects. The films’ would eventually be released in Spring and Fall respectively of 2003 to excellent box office and solid reviews for Larry and Lana Wachowski, then the Wachowski brothers. (Now, that’s another story altogether)
“The Matrix Revolutions” takes place six months after the events from the original film, Neo has proved to be the prophecy starting to be fulfilled as he has discovered his superpowers including super speed, ability to see the codes of the things inside the matrix and a certain degree of pre-cognition. As more and more humans are being freed from “the matrix” and brought to Zion, the stronghold of the Resistance, a nasty piece of news hits the human resistance as 250,000 machine sentinels are digging to Zion which would reach them in about 72 hours. While Zion prepares for the ultimate war, Neo, Morpheus and Trinity are advised by the Oracle (the late Gloria Foster, “The Matrix”) to find the Keymaker who would help them reach the Source. Meanwhile, Neo’s recurrent dreams depicting Trinity’s death have got him worried and as if it was not enough, Agent Smith has somehow escaped deletion and has become more powerful than before in the form of a virus (which plays off in “Matrix Revolutions” and has fixed Neo as his next target determined to erase him from the program. Filmed with the same exciting and energetic flair as its’ predecessor, the film was a visual eye candy that really thrilled fans of the original film and in particular the ultimate battle on the California freeway which is still amazing ten years later. Despite the films’ rather disappointing double cliffhangers, which really would’ve been better off stopping with the first great shock and just started off “Revolutions” with that great ending.
With the simple instructions of making everything much much bigger, Composer Don Davis who’s memorable fanfare is still fresh in the minds of those who’ve heard it (“Main Title / Trinity Vs. Car”) from the original film. Davis really upped the ante remixing the score with alot of electronica beats aided by Ben Watkins (Juno Reactor) that aided to the scores’ pure action moments of the film in the tracks “Burly Brawl” and the grand highlight, “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, which really featured the great skilled collaborations of both composers with full throttle energy. Rob Dougan also contributed as well with memorable tracks such as “Chateau” and “Furious Angels” that are in keeping with Juno Reactor and Don Davis’ solid work. While Davis on his own provided some musical powerhouse action in “Double Trouble”, “Smith Vs. Smith / Free Flight”,”Truck vs. Truck/The Plan/Final Flight Of The Vigilant” and “The Problem Is Choice/Window Switch/Neo Miraculous/No More Nebuchadnezzer/Conclusion Confusion” which led to the films’ second cliffhanger ending.
There is also a sense of drama within this score unlike the original which was very hip, contemporary but still featured Davis’ solid orchestrations throughout. He also reintroduces us to the choral readings of the original score to underscore Zion with the tracks “The Wonder Of Zion / The Lascivious Lift / Link And Zee”, “The Purpose That Created Us”, “Morpheus On The Mount / Zion Drum Source” along with Fluke’s contribution, “Zion”. Davis also underscores the film’s dramatic moments with solid orchestrations in “Oracle Oratory”, “Choice Is An Illusion” and “Sample This”. Very solid material that also includes the wonderful Parisian sounding vocal by Kerry Walsh, “Niaiserie” which was written by Davis and it’s very romantic. La-La Land’s premire release of the complete score for the film, features about two and half hours of music that was mostly left off Warner Bros./Sunset original release of the soundtrack which featured only 30 minutes of Davis’ score which disappointed many fans. Just in time for the film’s 10th Anniversary, this has been happily rectified because Davis’ score features many neuances and unique material that was sorely missed and now here in complete form. I have to admit, that this isn’t one of my favorite scores in the series and the reason why is because there’s just too many cooks in the kitchen from Davis’ score to Juno Reactor and all the source material that was featured in the film. It was a little bit too much for one’s liking. I do enjoy the score for what it is, a solid follow up to the original film score which I still do love and enjoy. I will give it a marginal thumbs up for this one and I can’t wait for an expanded release of “Matrix Revolutions” which should rectify even more missing music from that film and was a stronger balanced score overall.