2003 has been a very busy year for
composer Don Davis. He has composed over six hours of Matrix music for two
full-length live-action sequels, The
Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix
Revolutions, nine Animatrix
anime short films and the video game Enter
the Matrix. For the final installment of the Matrix franchise, Davis wrote the most intense, epic and touching
music heard in the series, in a very interesting and solid musical
evolution from the music featured in the 1999 film.
Matrix had a powerful avant-garde Davis' score, which divided
the screen time with some rock-electronic music. On disc, we had available
one song compilation and a separate 30 minutes long score album from
Varèse Sarabande. For Matrix
Reloaded Davis wrote a lengthier and richer score (unfortunately the
2-CD set omitted great part of it), in some cases combining the singers and
the orchestra with the pulsating electronic rhythms of the Juno Reactor
trio. At last, for Matrix Revolutions
Davis' lush, orchestral music finally is the central source of attention,
with the pop and electronic sounds relegated to a very secondary level.
The 'Revolutions' score album
includes over an hour of music, with almost 50 minutes of orchestral
underscore by Don Davis, performed by over 200 instrumentalists and
vocalists. The only song featured is the misplaced "In My Head" by
Pale 3, which plays in the Merovingian's Hell Club. Also, there are two
score tracks that feature Davis' collaboration with Juno Reactor, and a nine
minute End Credits Juno's re-mix of "Neodämmerung"
("Nevra"), featuring chorus and odd Mid-Eastern female
vocals. However, even in Juno Reactor's score tracks it's Davis' work that
The film depicts the last efforts
from Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity
(Carrie-Anne Moss) against the Matrix and its legion of machines, which have
enslaved the entire human race, to save the last real-world city, Zion. This
epic finale, very criticized for display more action than an intelligent
plot, is largely benefited by two hours of Don Davis music. The score's
greater length was required due to the extensive, epic battle sequences
littered throughout the film. Once again there is a lot of music
missing on the CD, anyway the series final album is complete enough to
satisfy the vast majority of listeners.
In "Logos/Main Title" the
series musical signature, a dual-chord motif on brass, opens the album. As
usual, the main credits sequence is slightly different from the prior films,
even in musical terms. This time the theme is more dramatic, representing
the capital events that will lead the trilogy to an end. "The Trainman
Cometh" and "Tetsujin", the collaborative tracks with Juno
Reactor, are essentially Davis' score with minimal synthesized
accompaniement. The first cue marks the first and brief appearence of Neo
and Trinity's theme, one of the best Davis' creations. The latter displays
an appealing use of the Kodo drums, before the electronic rhythms start.
"Men in Metal" performs a militaristic variation of the Zion motif
first heard in 'Reloaded', while we see the 'Mechwarriors' of the last free
human city preparing for battle.
"Niobe's Run" features
Matrix action music at its best, starting with suspense chords soon to be
replaced by the well known Sentinel motif, that develops into an exciting
chase cue. "Woman can Drive" is a superb action track that
ponctuates Niobe's wild run in the ship, conducted by fast strings and loud
brass. "Moribund Mifune" and "Kidfried" are the best
examples of Davis' battle music that underscores the astounding machine
attack to Zion. The first cue starts with dramatic chorus and strings, with
a sad trumpet at the end to signal the death of the brave warrior. In the
second cue, the ensemble strikes at full force, and rises to poignant levels
when some human bravery occurs on the screen.
"Saw Bitch Workhorse" is
made by powerful music to describe some nightmarish visions at the Machine
City, and to underscore Neo's confrontation with the Sentinels. But
definitively the score's highlight action cue is "Neodämmerung",
which starts with choral chants in Sanskrit with a percussive piano at the
background. The track underscores the final fight of Neo against Agent
Smith, and is plenty of harmony and atonality elements, with the orchestra
providing brilliant statements on some of the film main themes. The next
track, "Why. Mr. Anderson?", is a dramatic cue that ponctuates the
final destination of Neo and Smith.
In a more melodic level,
"Trinity Definitely" is a gorgeous track that, after a sad intro,
delivers the most touching and melancholic rendition of the series love
theme, with great cello and horns performances. Another highlight in this
area is "The Road to Sourceville", which follows Neo and Trinity's
journey to the Machine City with a very nice strings and brass work. The
last score cue, "Spirit of The Universe" employs full orchestra
with choir, a boy soprano voice and a rolling harp adding the religious
tones of the film final message, before the dual-chord theme leads us to
a last, thunderous blast from the orchestra.
In short, Davis'
'Revolutions' combines the well known dissonant Matrix sounds with more
harmonic, melodic and epic music, polishing all the series dominant motifs
and, in the end, creating the best score in the series. Highly recommended.