Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Soundtracks on the shelf

Before I hit OVER THE HEDGE and THE DA VINCI CODE tomorrow (which will be the featured reviews); here's a look at a few "oldies." Let's see what good stuff we can scrape together.............

The Mask of Zorro film was certainly better than last year's sequel. However, the same cannot be said of the soundtracks to each film. Legend of Zorro (also composed by James Horner and containing the epic "Train" cue) was far better then the '98 version, which I'm speaking of now. Still, Mask had some good stuff, primarily in the opening tracks. "The Plaza of Execution" started off brilliantly with tap-dancing providing the main instrument. Then the cue spun off into a wild and heroic Mexican salsa....which was still quite good. But then the socre broods through much of the rest of that track, and then through the next three as well, with a few interesting bits sprinkled in. "The Fencing Lesson" is some fun Horner (original, too), but the good stuff soon fades to more meandering mexican swashbuckling, which falters dismally where it should have shone the most (especially in "Zorro's Theme"). I thought I'd never say it, but it was actually a relief to get to the pop song at the end "I want to spend my lifetime loving you," as it was actually rather good, and certainly more enduring than 7 of the score's
instrumental tracks. ** 1/2

In case anyone's in the mood for some excellent suspense stuff, check out Christopher Young's Shipping News (for the 2001 film). It works off of some base Irish themes; working them into a couple simply glorious motifs, including the opening track "Shipping News." The action cuts are more or less mood pieces or the typical thriller stuff, leaving the real beauty to simplistic violin motifs backed (again) by Irish woodwinds. "Dog of Fire" is an excellent example of this structure. *** 1/2 (out of 5)

I also should say a word or two about the cacophony of Graeme Revell's Out of Time soundtrack......it's....wild! Said soundtrack.net: "The hub of the score is a breezy salsa and rhumba concoction, utilizing acoustic guitars, xylophones, shakers, bongos, solo trumpet and various South American percussion instruments to set the sound of heated South Florida." Mmmhmm, that about sums it up. This one pans out; give Revell's The Crow score a listen if you'd like a better effort! * 1/2

Pinocchio. Don't go running!! The digitally remastered 1992 soundtrack of the 1938 animated flick contains loads of previously unreleased music, including (my all time favorite) "Clock Sequence," a charming 53-second cue. The score had been lost for over 30 years before it was rediscovered on old magnetic reels in a practically abondoned vault at one of Disney's Studios. The new version also contains the full "When You wish Upon a Star" and Main Titles, as well as songs by the original voice cast. Great fun; even the suspensful action cuts with Monstro!! **** 1/2

One more quick note: check out Howard Shore's charming soundtrack for the Robin Williams comedy Mrs. Doubtfire. It's what can be accurately called an "enchanting score" full of fun and zest and the total orchestral involvement we've come to expect from the man behind the music of The Lord of the Rings! ****

That's all I have for you tonight......... Have a great one, folks!

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