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The Matrix Reloaded
Album Cover Art
2003 Warner
2013 La-La Land
Album 2 Cover Art
Co-Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:

Co-Composed and Co-Produced by:
Ben Watkins

Additional Music by:
Rob Dougan

Co-Orchestrated by:
Erik Lundborg
William Ross
Conrad Pope
Labels Icon
Maverick/Warner Sunset
(May 6th, 2003)

La-La Land Records
(August 27th, 2013)
Availability Icon
The 2003 Warner album was a regular U.S. release. A "clean" version of that product was also available, with the offensive language on the first CD removed. The expanded 2013 La-La Land Records set is limited to 3,500 copies and available primarily through soundtrack specialty outlets for an initial price of $30.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you were never satisfied with the favoring of harsh dissonance and metallic sound effects over the glimpses of redemptive harmony in The Matrix, a balance that is better resolved in both sequel scores.

Avoid it... on the original 2003 set if you have any interest in appreciating the more nuanced sequences in Don Davis' score, in which case the 2013 alternative is clearly superior.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 5/6/03, REVISED 12/26/13
The Matrix Reloaded: (Don Davis/Ben Watkins/Rob Dougan) So outstanding was the story and its cinematic execution that The Matrix became an international super-phenomenon in 1999. For a number of strategic reasons (related largely to shooting schedules), Warner Brothers released its two mandatory sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, within the span of two seasons in 2003. Despite the tremendous financial returns destined to greet these films, this release tactic worked against Warner to a degree, reducing box office potential and splitting votes in technical categories during the awards season that followed. The still massive popularity of the films is rooted in the highly intriguing but remarkably simple idea that everything we are experiencing in real life is actually an elaborate virtual reality. While we eat our hot dogs and watch our reality shows on TV (in our mind, that is), our real bodies are being harvested in a horrific, actual reality of machine dominance over the Earth. Combine that premise with wildly innovative slow-motion special effects and you end up with a series of films, games, and other products based on The Matrix that will probably continue to reside brightly as a cinematic cult favorite from Hollywood for decades. The religious element of the concept is blindingly obvious, the first film challenging reality, the second one deconstructing the alternate reality that results, and the third one challenging viewers to put their own perspective on what these realities really mean. There's enough messianic messaging in this franchise to overwhelm any audience, though most average movie-goers were likely too enamored with the glitz of the photography and effects, as well as the style of the violence (including one of the big screen's most remarkable highway chase sequences ever filmed), to even notice any deeper meaning. Likely because the original film was not predicted to be the smashing success that it was, the studio did not forcefully interrupt the collaboration between the writing and directing Wachowski brothers and composer Don Davis by flexing its muscle in favor of a mainstream composing name. Instead, the brothers enlisted the very talented, but lesser known Davis for the postmodern scoring project, one that he has often reflected upon as the "dream assignment."

Davis' dissonant, highly challenging orchestral score for The Matrix, littered with unconventional instrumental applications and harsh electronic sound effects, was functional for the film, though fans and critics alike were somewhat disappointed that the sound presented in the original film's trailers (namely, that of the new age group Enigma) was not the genre of music utilized to any degree in the film. Davis' score was short on elegance and long on ambient disillusionment, using various sets of propulsive rhythms at both minimalistic and frightfully incongruous, full ensemble volumes to define the bleak vision of the future and the heroes' desperate maneuvers to counter it. Despite a lack of easy and obvious structural cohesiveness in its motifs, Davis' work for The Matrix was still an effective element in a film that distracted viewers more with its visuals than with its sounds. The most effective aspect of the score is arguably the motif of rotating trumpets and horns pulsating between two slightly disjointed notes nearly an octave apart, a sound that would continue as the defining motif of the series. An accelerating motif for the machines, often slapped on metallic percussion, was also memorable. Provided in hints during The Matrix were both the hero motif (for Neo's transformation at the end of that story) and, more importantly, the love theme for Neo and Trinity that only received two or three complete performances in that score. There was a separate set of challenges awaiting Davis when it came time to tackle the two sequel scores, and foremost was the continuing use of non-score music as the centerpiece of the soundtracks. It didn't take a genius to see that the combination of the Wachowskis' song placements and Warner Brothers' perception of fan response to the original film and its soundtracks put Davis' own work at a disadvantage. The songs and other non-Davis placements continue to be embellished in The Matrix Reloaded, especially with the return of Rob Dougan's "Clubbed to Death," which had been inserted with great success into the "woman in the red dress" training scene in The Matrix. Additionally, with the Wachowski brothers' interest in obtaining outside electronica and techno music came the desire for a larger influence of that kind of music on Davis' own score. Thus, the final result is a score for The Matrix Reloaded that is a collaborative effort.

Despite the flashy tones of the nontraditional score contributions by others in The Matrix Reloaded, Davis' music is largely unhindered by electronica elements for much of its duration, with several key cues featuring fully dynamic, orchestral (and sometimes choral) performances. The film opens with the same rumbling piano and alternating brass motif as the previous entry, a fantastic method of accentuating the mind-numbing visual of seeing and imagining the green numbers that stream down the screen, representing our virtual lives. Davis ensures that this, the scores' most easily recognizable motif, continues to represent the overarching story in both sequel scores. Continuing to restate both the wavering brass motif and the accelerating machine motif throughout its length (and the latter most prominently at the end of "Trinity Dream"), the score for The Matrix Reloaded builds through several coherent and enjoyable cues into an effort that far exceeds Davis' previous entry in terms of balancing those ideas with the harmony of Neo and Trinity's two related themes. Since the plot of this sequel drops much of the shocking horror element and replaces it with religious grandeur, a shift to tonal accessibility in the music was inevitable. His music is allowed to flourish with continued complex structures but without as many awkward synthetic sound effects, with more clearly delineated instrumentation, a dramatic use of choral accompaniment, and, surprisingly, a decent amount of tonal harmony contributing to a more satisfying whole. This time, as special effects slow the frames during spectacular scenes, Davis responds with grand orchestral and choral gestures of whole notes of power and substance. Greatly reduced (but not gone by any means) is the brazenly dissonant approach that truly dominated the previous score, and Davis really does traverse a little closer to the Enigma style of elegance and deeply thoughtful underscore that many had hoped to hear in The Matrix (and that sound, of course, is expanded upon even further in The Matrix Revolutions). Davis does incorporate electronic aids in his solo compositions, and the presence of metallic grinding is perpetuated to represent the continued mind-numbing plot twists, but they play a seemingly minor role compared to The Matrix. So impressive are parts of his choral incorporation that casual listeners will be reminded of Alan Silvestri's memorable The Abyss, a score known widely for its finale of massively beautiful choral simplicity.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.25 Stars
***** 2,304 5 Stars
**** 2,523 4 Stars
*** 2,898 3 Stars
** 1,208 2 Stars
* 1,605 1 Stars
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The Matrix Reloaded score Analyzed
Ed Chang - February 17, 2016, at 5:53 p.m.
1 comment  (710 views)
The Complete Score Rocks   Expand >>
Pudgy - October 31, 2006, at 2:39 p.m.
2 comments  (5320 views)
Newest: May 14, 2007, at 10:55 p.m. by
Mister Frodo
My Amazon review (clue: bashing ahoy!)
G.K. - February 23, 2005, at 3:19 p.m.
1 comment  (1939 views)
Non-promo tracks   Expand >>
robbie - November 15, 2004, at 11:38 a.m.
2 comments  (3855 views)
Newest: November 16, 2004, at 12:46 p.m. by
I have some of the missing tracks - and want some as well
imannoyedatthemoment - November 15, 2004, at 3:47 a.m.
1 comment  (2255 views)
Sound track lyrics
Amanda - September 12, 2004, at 7:01 p.m.
1 comment  (2931 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2003 Warner Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 90:52
CD1: (49:21)

• 1. Session - performed by Linkin Park (2:23)
• 2. This is the New Shit - performed by Marilyn Manson (4:20)
• 3. Reload - performed by Rob Zombie (4:25)
• 4. Furious Angels - performed by Rob Dougan (instrumental) (5:29)
• 5. Lucky You - performed by Deftones (4:08)
• 6. The Passportal - performed by Team Sleep (2:55)
• 7. Sleeping Awake - performed by P.O.D. (3:23)
• 8. Bruises - performed by Unloco (2:36)
• 9. Calm Like a Bomb - performed by Rage Against the Machine (4:58)
• 10. Dread Rock - performed by Oakenfold (4:40)
• 11. Zion - performed by Fluke (4:33)
• 12. When the World Ends - performed by Dave Matthews (Oakenfold remix) (5:26)

CD2: (41:31)

• 1. Main Title - composed by Don Davis (1:30)
• 2. Trinity Dream - composed by Don Davis (1:56)
• 3. Teahouse - composed by Juno Reactor/Gocoo (1:04)
• 4. Chateau - composed by Rob Dougan (3:23)
• 5. Mona Lisa Overdrive - composed by Juno Reactor/Don Davis (10:08)
• 6. Burly Brawl - composed by Don Davis/Juno Reactor (5:52)
• 7. "Matrix Reloaded" Suite - composed by Don Davis (17:35)
2013 La-La Land Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 153:25

Notes Icon
The insert of the 2003 Warner album includes no extra information about the score or film. It crams its credits information into a completely unreadable mess of tangled text on the insert. The 2013 La-La Land set's insert contains extensive notation about the film and score.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Matrix Reloaded are Copyright © 2003, 2013, Maverick/Warner Sunset, La-La Land Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/6/03 and last updated 12/26/13.
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