The Matrix Resurrections

Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer

" The Matrix Resurrections as a film, as well as a score is negligible. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

The Matrix Resurrections is a 2021 film released long after The Matrix Trilogy. The film is basically a calibrated sequel, with a lot of familiarity, but also many changes. The execution is very flawed.

Generally, I do not feel like reviewing any Hollywood scores, even when they are good; they will probably get a decent amount of coverage, and there's little to add to the discussion. At the time, I went through extensive lengths to investigate the musical qualities of all three previous entries, and became strongly familiar with all aspects of its music. My expertise usually lies in different kind of scores, but I suspect some who have known me for a long time, will verify these specific scores are truly an expertise of mine. Further on, I will ascertain some of my own thoughts on the 'status' of Hollywood scores that are largely of such little interest to me, and very tiresome in terms of debate, but not this time around. Also, I will refrain from mentioning the hugely detailed references to Don Davis' original efforts found in this new score.

I suppose the consensus was that Don Davis crafted a consistent and unique musical landscape for all three films. Yet, with Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer taking the helm for Resurrections, there's arguably more that revives Davis' work than was to be expected, but always with the generic musical choices that have 'haunted' modern film scoring for big budget movies like these, and that still dominates the Resurrections score. Many will be aware of this, but seen from a broader non-Hollywood view, it has never bothered me, as there's still so much strong output written to this day. Even though a lot of these traits shown in franchises and individual films do not bother me per se, and they frequently enhance the in-context experience, and even quite moderately are pleasant listening experiences.... Already, it tires me to write this.

The see-sawing brass, the musical motif people instantly associate with the films, is what Heil and Klimek incorporate the most into their score. But there are so many more things returning, but most of it comes from a calibration of a lot of things that define The Matrix' original sound in the first cue 'Opening, reminiscent of Main Titles/ Trinity Infinity in the 1999 original; the reflective striking of a bowl by the snare of a violin, the whirling string motif, general use of brass (triplets), falling violin figures motif, the rumbling piano... But they are carried over elsewhere in the score, while also including the recurring light strings (as heard in the first five seconds of Resurrection's Bullet Time), the choral texture associated with the belief in the One (also heard in Reloaded cues such as The Lascivious Lift), and now in Inside Io that slightly recaptures it.

Then, there's the action-orientated use of strings, woodwinds, and brass (triplets) recurring quite often, but also some minuscule references, such as the echoing wind ornaments (from Reloaded' The Plan). This last one is one of those things, amongst some others, that almost goes by unnoticed. Near the end of the film, '''Weather he can fly towards the end', reintroduces the moment of awe, including choir and dissonant brass at 2.37 - 2:50, directly quoting The Power Plant (The Matrix 1999). While it feels like nitpicking, there's actually plenty of material returning, but sometimes so brief, or so underdeveloped, or even too obviously, but mostly overshadowed by the generic content of the two composers. It includes the infamous Bourne obstinate, the infamous braaahmmm, uninspiring electronics, which, even when Davis collaborated with Juno Reactor, were so much more interesting.

Cues devoid of the 'Matrix sound' are of little appeal, while the ones using marginalized references, or the ones in which there's a fair divide between both styles, come out increasingly better. There's a new theme for Neo and Trinity, which is a soothing light string and piano dominated theme, which in the plot of Resurrections makes more sense than the original love theme. While I think a lot more could be transported onto this new score, more of the Matrix' many motifs and themes, the original love theme is the only one that would feel entirely out of place. While it is the most captivating new theme for the fourth chapter, apart from some recurring, blunt action motifs, it is significantly less memorable than even the smallest of motifs Davis created before.

Entire scenes, quotes, visuals, and much more reoccur, but the musical references are comparatively outnumbered. There's also an overarching tongue in cheek referential and self awareness theme, which could have benefited from more musical reprises. The first film' original end credits once again start with "Wake Up" by Rage Against the Machine, this time covered by Brass Against, fueling it with a playful brass fanfare. It's this kind of playfulness, inventiveness, and a sense of tongue in cheek, even irony, that's missing altogether. The two composers do introduce a bit of playful bouncy strings, and underscore this theme by sometimes underlining it with a serious quote. Towards the end, as Neo attempts to fly, but finds out he can't, it is underpinned by an attempted quote of the rising motif by Davis. At least, it is precisely matched to enhance the self-awareness theme, unlike a majority of other times, in which the new approach and general use of the Matrix sound does not strike a special chord. Either way, it is so far removed from the inventiveness Don Davis displayed throughout the first three films.

By not seeing this as a Matrix score, which is hard, especially since this is one of the few Hollywood franchises that I (still) cherish in terms of music, I would probably appreciate it as a slightly better score, but it is still very generic music. Especially when I think about two video games, The Path of Neo (2005, scored by Tobias Enhus as lead composer), and Enter the Matrix (2003, composed by Erik Lundborg), which are proof that other composers can recreate Davis' musical world with such finesse. I feel Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer could have gone down a similar path, but also by making decisions that supported the self-conscious, parody nature of The Matrix Resurrections so much more. Naturally, some things may have been out of their control, and they as well as Lana Wachowski are at ease with a fine result, but still. The Matrix Resurrections as a film, as well as a score, is negligible.


01. Opening - The Matrix Resurrections (5:19)
02. Two and the Same (5:32)
03. Meeting Trinity (1:49)
04. It’s in My Mind (4:21)
05. I Fly or I Fall (3:12)
06. Set and Setting (2:33)
07. Into the Train (2:35)
08. Exit the Pod (2:49)
09. The Dojo (3:41)
10. Enter IO (3:10)
11. Inside IO (3:34)
12. Escape (2:14)
13. Broadcast Depth (2:51)
14. Exiles (2:41)
15. Factory Fight (3:44)
16. Bullet Time (4:51)
17. Recruiting (3:12)
18. Infiltration (2:37)
19. I Like Tests (2:29)
20. I Can’t Be Her (2:40)
21. Simulatte Brawl (3:03)
22. Swarm (3:34)
23. Sky Scrape (1:43)
24. My Dream Ended Here (3:14)
25. Neo and Trinity Theme (Johnny Klimek & Tom Tykwer Exomorph Remix) (5:45)
26. Opening - The Matrix Resurrections (Alessandro Adriani Remix) (6:16)
27. My Dream Ended Here (Marcel Dettmann Remix) (6:15)
28. Nosce (Almost Falling Remix) (3:58)
29. Bullet Time (Moderna Remix) (6:26)
30. Back to the Matrix (Eclectic Youth Remix) (5:14)
31. Welcome to the Crib (System 01 Remix) (6:46)
32. Flowing (Thomas Fehlmann Remix) (8:23)
33. Temet (Esther Silex & Kotelett Remix) (8:11)
34. Choice (Psychic Health Remix) (5:26)
35. Monumental (Gudrun Gut Remix) (7:04)

Ttoal duration 77:20

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 3.13/5)

Released by

WaterTower (regular release 2021)