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Musings on the Matrix Resurrections
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• Posted by: AhN   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Saturday, December 25, 2021, at 5:15 p.m.
• IP Address:

Saw the film today. I've now heard the score in full twice on its own. I'll stay away from specific plot points or scenes when talking about this but I will talk about the movie's general themes so tread carefully if you're that wary about having the film spoiled. And I cannot guarantee the ensuing thread won't get into spoiler territory.

So first thing, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I wasn't sure at first whether I actually thought it was good though. But after discussion with my roommate afterward, I think it is actually good. Wachowski took a very gutsy approach to the film that I'm sure is going to be divisive. Good on her for taking a swing like that, if you hated it I will probably understand and while I loved it I don't care enough to get into an argument lolol.

Second thing, the score sounds great in context. Very well mixed, it's prominent a lot of the time, a couple motifs will stick with you, there are a few scenes where other sound elements take a back seat and let the music take charge.

Now, onto the actual score. In a vacuum, this is a good score. Not great, but good. I've enjoyed my previous listens and will probably come back to it a good amount. The issues arise when you factor in that it's the fourth movie in a series whose previous three scores by a different set of composers are arguably all masterpieces of modern composition, let alone film music. So instead you have two experienced, skilled composers writing solid action music that has the same texture of the previous scores but without as much of the spice. (I'm tempted to keep this food metaphor going but I'm afraid of how far the rabbit hole goes.)

The problem isn't choice. (of the composers, specifically, see how I was trying to do a callback to Reloaded?) We can't see past the decisions we don't understand (see that reference was much clearer), and up to this point a lot of us have been stuck on the "wtf isn't Davis scoring this?" Which again, I understand. Davis deserves far better than he's gotten in Hollywood. Aside from some rumors about his relationship with the Wachowskis (and by rumors I mean speculative Doug Adams tweets extrapolating from their butting heads during Reloaded and Revolutions, which means they're probably rooted in reality), I can make a case for getting Tykwer and Klimek instead of Davis for this one.

So this film is *very* meta about the nature of franchises and sequels and reboots and whatnot, to the point of questioning the wisdom of its own existence. It's part of what's going to make this movie polarizing. So for a movie like this, why hire Davis when you can get someone else to use the same tools to make an inferior version of a Matrix score, a pale (three) imitation of what's come before? It gets the job done on its own terms, hits familiar beats, comes close at times to capturing that same magic, but doesn't quite scratch the itch or match up to the excellence of the originals. In which case the music also becomes a commentary on franchises and sequels and weaponized nostalgia.

There's one problem with this though. Set this problem aside and I'd be all aboard on that absolutely ridiculous take I laid out in the paragraph above. But this flaw is so unforgivable that there's no escaping it.

I don't think it's a spoiler to say that the movie is centered around Neo, Trinity, and their connection. You could make the argument that their love is what propels the plot of the entire series, and that continues into this film. And yet, for all the familiar motifs and phrases Tykwer and Klimek do make callbacks to, they never reference Davis' love theme. Not a single time. And this torpedoes the whole score for me. Actually, it's not just that, it's that they write a new theme for them and it's nowhere near as good. Like, it's barely passable. And not only do they write a new theme, they put a remix of it on disc 2 of the score album. There's even an hour long version of it on youtube! ( )

How could they have the nerve to do this? They took one of the best elements of the previous trilogy and tossed it aside, basically taking the Neo-Trinity story and getting rid of one of the things that made it so great and special, and replacing it with mediocre, forgettable fluff. They kept the artificial elements everyone knows that'll trigger the nostalgia switches (the opening brass, the rumbling ostinatos) and forgot about the actual heart of the music.

Wait, that's exactly what I'd expect a bad sequel score to do...

No, nope, nuh-uh. The meta can only extend so far. I'm gonna stay mad about this one. The irony is that because the score is so well-placed in the mix the shortcomings are accentuated.

Anyway, I guess the TLDR is I like the music, I like the concept, not a fan of the execution, and the one flaw it has is arguably fatal. If I had to give ratings, I'd say 4/5 on album, 3/5 in film/franchise context.

Anyone else see/hear it yet?

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