Sunday, December 5, 2010

*Cricket, Cricket...*

If there is one thing I'm really good at, it's forgetting things. Truly. I'm the best at it. There are days I'd forget my own name if it wasn't sewn into my underwear! (j/k -- it's not really sewn in there, that would be scratchy!)

So anyway... yeah... it's been over a year since I last posted anything. Let alone shared anything. I feel like a dolt and a bum, but you know... life is life. It's busy, and I'm impatient. And I forget. A lot. I forget what I'm doing while I'm doing it sometimes. What can I say? I take a lot of pharmaceuticals... wow I spelled that right without spell-check, awesome... and so my brain is a bit swiss-cheese. I can recall the registry of the Stargazer (NCC-2893) or the number of ships blown to bits at Wolf 359 (39, thank you) but not anything important.

So I've dropped in to give a gift, since I'm uploading it for a friend anywhom. It's the expanded edition score of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The film itself was once reviled as the worst Star Trek film ever made, up until 2002's debacle Star Trek: Nemesis which was, somehow, even worse than William Shatner hunting for god as Jim Kirk up against the laughable villain played by C-grade actor Laurence Luckinbill as Spock's never-before-mentioned long-lost half-brother-from-another-mother... yeah, seriously, they went there. Blame Shatner, he directed the farce. Poor guy, he's so passionate and yet... sometimes that passion explodes back in his face.

Oddly enough, his Star Trek books (the first six, anywhom) are awesome. I've re-read those books 2 or 3 times each, and I *do not* re-read books. So... that says that. If you hated his death in Generations, or you wanted more after Star Trek VI... yeah, good stuff. First book was post-TUC, then books 2 and 3 where post-Generations. Second trilogy was all 24th century Kirk. But this is a music blog, so I'll shut up now about books.

So yeah, the film stunk. Final Frontier. Nemesis stunk too, but I'm not talking about it's music. But the music for crappy STV... well, it was a Jerry Goldsmith score. It's about the only thing people liked about the film then, and still is now. In recent years, there have been numerous expanded official scores being released by the new CBS bosses of the Star Trek merchandise properties. They've done the expanded Star Trek's 2, 3 and now here is 5. They've also done the latest J.J. Abrams expanded score, and a massive box-set ($150!) of Ron Jones complete work for Star Trek TNG which I shelled out for, because I want to encourage more such goodies.

I'll try and stop in more often. Try, being the key word. I try to do a lot of things and fail. I tried to fly once... it ended badly... no just kidding again.

But I doubt anyone reading this actually gives a hoot. You're here, if you're here at all, for a link to a file and for me to shut up and go back into the ether of the void of cyber-space from which I came.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


- "I've done far worse than kill you; I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me; as you left her. Marooned for all eternity at the center of a dead planet. Buried alive... buried alive..."

In 1982, one of the greatest science fiction films of all time gave new life to the legend of the Star Trek franchise. Starring Ricardo Montalban as the iconic villain Khan, the film was the franchises fifth and likely final chance to strike it big. After surviving cancellation to have it's third season; after spawning a poorly-made animated kids series; after all but being the flagship for a fourth television broadcast network; after becoming a major motion picture that was panned poorly by critics and fans alike, everything finally came together in this low-budget sequel that has since become a cult-classic and the definition of franchise success.

One of the many elements of that films greatness was it's score. Composed by a then 28-year-old upstart named James Horner, a nobody filling the shoes of the lengendary Jerry Goldsmith, the score - like the film - was a dramatic departure from what had come before. It was another of the many risks taken in the film and the franchise. But like the man said - 'risk is our business' - and when it all came together, it all paid off. Many people credit the films young director, Nick Meyer, and the veteran main-stream producer given charge of a franchise he knew nothing about, Harve Bennett, for saving Star Trek. Without it's score though, would that success have been? Perhaps a third person also helped save Star Trek after all...

Now, more than half a century later, we will finally hear that complete score in all it's glory.

Head over to Film Score Monthly, who've announced it's pending release of the complete score in a non-limited edition. Meaning this is not a finite product that you'll pay an extreme price for.

Rumor has it this gift from the gods is courtesy of a new music executive over at Paramount who is quite enthusiastic about making such things available. Though a box-set of all the Trek film scores is impossible due to the legalities of six companies having their fingers in the pie, this could well be only the first of many new musical trips from the Star Trek universe. Either way, it's auditory ambrosia, and I'm thrilled to get it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Salvation for Terminator...

Last night (Wednesday, May 21) I went to the midnight showing of Terminator Salvation. I'm pleased to report that the future of the Terminator franchise looks good, film wise. While I felt the story was trimmed down far too greatly to meet the needs of action and run-time, the action was truly so fantastic that it really held the film together. Judgment Day and the original are still far superior; but this was a welcomed improvment over Rise of the Machines. Bale was a superior Connor than Nick Stahl by miles. Sam Worthington stole the film to a great degree. Anton Yelchin made a decent Kyle Reese, worthy of succeding Michael Beihn.

As far as the music goes, I'm pleased to report that the Terminator drum-beat, heard in the commercials, was present on three occasions. At the opening, at the reveal of the best cameo in motion picture history, and at the end credits. That it's not included in the score truly infuriates me. That said, it's only one element of the theme. The true heart of the theme was, as I expected, absent in any true and intelligible form. I feel it likely it's lack of inclusion was based purely in financial motives, as McG truly does seem to appreciate the Terminator universe. There where many great nods to continuity throughout the film and he's clearly got his hands on the property.

As far as nostalgia...

It's what gets me and a lot of other people in the seats. So frankly, the studios need to pay more heed to it. Imagine Star Wars without it? Star Trek? Godfather? There is much talk of a Ghostbusters 3, and imagine it not being used? Would any of us not be miffed?

Just thought I'd add my two cents...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hasta La Vista, Theme Song...

I'm currently listening to the score from the latest in the Terminator franchise of films, 2009's "Terminator Salvation" which opens in the USA for early showings this Thursday, May 21st. It will have some (for reasons beyond my comprehension) tough competition in the more family friendly fodder of the latest waste of film to star Ben Stiller. Nope, I'm not saying the flicks name. I know from box office experience that it will likely win the weekend due to being more family friendly, so I'm getting a head start on being upset that it beat the new Terminator flick for number one that memorial day weekend.

Anyway, like I said, I'm currently listening to the score from TS, and... I'll be honest, it's a good score. It's not epic or sweeping thus far, as I've heard. But it's solid, and thankfully, it doesn't sound like a typical Danny Elfman composition for the most part. Don't get me wrong, Elfman has talent - but when it comes to genre stuff, he should be banished to an island and never allowed near it with a ten foot pole. That said, he's managed to hide his normal tones and tunes - mostly - from TS. That all said... it's lacking one very critical thing.

The one thing that every single true Terminator fan wants. And has wanted. Since 2003's disappointment of Terminator 3, and the more recent Terminator TV series.

The god damn mother fucking theme song!

...Seriously. What. The. Fuck?

There are not many films that have a sweeping and well loved theme song that become iconic. There really aren't. I mean, think of 10 and you've likely named them all. Star Wars. Star Trek. Godfather. Jurrasic Park. I can't go much further than that. Because there are not to many films with great iconic themes that are so beloved!

When they didn't use it outside of the closing credits in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines... I was miffed. But at the time, I glossed over it, because it was Arnold as the Terminator again after a 12 year long wait. I was young, naive, and able to gloss over such a (at the time) triviality as the theme song. When they where preparing for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I actually spoke with series compose Bear McCreary (one of my top 3 composers, btw) through e-mail and asked him, point blank: what was happening with the theme? He informed me they (FOX) where trying to secure the rights, and all those involved in production wanted to use it. Alas, all we ended up with was the thump-thump-thump-thump-thump drum beat intro.

When I first heard substantial news of Terminator Salvation, director McG (shit name, right? He knows, he's not a pre-madonna, it's short of McGinty and a nickname he got as a kid because he's the third named Joe in his family, as I recall) first spoke of the film, he promptly addressed the themes. He said he loved them. He said he wanted them. When he hired Danny Elfman, he said he had instructed Elfman to use said themes.

I rejoiced.

I knew Elfman wouldn't use them constantly, I knew we would be lucky to have the opening and closing credits and maybe a specific moment near the climax of the film, but I relaxed as all seemed well and on track for the return of the great theme I'd loved since, literally, childhood.

Yet here I am. Writing, ranting, and grinding my teeth as I listen to the score from Terminator Salvation and... do not hear the themes. None of them. Certainly not the familair "do-do-dooooooo, doo-doo-doooooooo" that so many of us love from the first two films. No, I'm listening to the latest Terminator score sans any Terminator themes! Again!

I feel like pulling a William Shatner and, at the top of my lungs, screaming to the heavens like he did for Khan...




It's no use though. The film comes out in 5 days. There is nothing to be done except to feel a little bitter, a little betrayed, and a little more disenfranchised. And as I type those words, a little sickened too, as I just heard some classic Elfman chaos in track 7 that, to my ears, is nails on a chalkboard. Thankfully it was just a brief moment. Hopefully that's all it will be. But I guess it's "Hasta La Vista, Theme Song" for Terminator.

Have a listen. It's good. It's just not great; and it's lacking that which we all hoped it would contain, the themes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Star Trek (2009) - Original Motion Picture Score

I'm not sure what to say about this yet, as I've not even finished listening to it myself, and I've not seen the film. I know I like it, but I'm not sure on what level I like it, yet. As a Star Trek music conosieur, this is a brave new world. It's the first time in decades that a familiar composer has not been behind the music. I knew Jerry Goldsmith, I know his contemporaries, and I know what they do musically. It's familiar. This isn't. Michael Gianchino, I have very little to base an opinion off of.

Judge for yourself folks, just like with the coming film itself...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Star Trek XI - The Music Begins...

Wow... I really am a lazy bastard, aren't I? It's been a few months, once again, since last I updated. I've returned because I've just come into possession of something truly fantastic.

How many of you have seen the newest trailer for the new Star Trek movie that opens this spring? Most fans are calling it Star Trek XI, as it's the eleventh feature film incarnation. Officially though, they're usurping the name of the classic 1960s series that began the greatest and most durable franchise phenomenon in the history of the entertainment industry. Which yes, makes me a little bitter. Give the film a subtitle and I'll shut up. Call it Star Trek: The Movie or something, I don't care. Just stop trying to get away with calling it just Star Trek. That name, my friends, is taken.

So anyway... I'm on the fence about the film. I don't know what I feel. I wasn't a kid when TOS (The Original Series, duh!) was on TV. So I can't well claim that this new film is "raping my childhood" as so many fan-boys are. Yet at the same time, it irks the hell out of me to see someone else in those pointy Vulcan ears calling themselves Spock! The fact that this film will also feature the original, true Spock, the great Leonard Nimoy is a big help in keeping me from going rabid-dog on things.

There is certainly a lot of energy about this new film. Weird thing is the energy is from outside the community of Trekkies. Normally, no one but us gives a rats ass about these films. Now it's sort of turned on it's head -- the outside world seems to give a frak, and the Trekkies are divided worse than ever. As if we needed more reason to be at odds with each other. TNG began that divide, and DS9 and VGR and ENT (if I have to explain all of those, you shouldn't be here!) only made the divide worse. That said I loved almost all of them and never got bogged down in those divides and arguments. Every show had it's merits and faults.

Now though... I don't know. I just don't know how this new film fits. How the idea of new people as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty all fit into things. We've never faced this conundrum. In all of Star Trek history, there have been exactly two recasts. That's it. Considering there are 5 series, 10 feature films, and something like 700 hours of Star Trek... that's really saying something that only two characters have changed actors. Those beeing Saavik, originally played by Kirstie Alley in The Wrath of Khan and replaced (due to wanting too much money) by Robin Curtis in Search for Spock, and in Voyager, they brought in Susanna Thompson to play the Borg Queen twice, before returning Alice Krige to the role she owns in the series finale.

So why the hell am I rambling on about Star Trek? Right, back to the new third theatrical trailer. If you've not seen it, it's not hard to find. Try for starters.

OK, done? Heard that awesome trailer music, that reminds you a bit of the score for The Dark Knight?

It's from a trailer music company called Two Steps From Hell and the track in question is titled "Freedom Fighters" from (apparently) their ablum Legend -- that all said, the company released a statement in response to the overwhelming response to the music stating it has never been released commercially and that Paramount obtained exclusive rights usage to the track, but that they may still release it on an album. Confused? So am I. Especially since I've obtained the track in question.

I've also obtained the track from the second theatrical trailer. It's entitled, perhaps on purpose and perhaps ironically, "Down with the Enterprise" -- no I don't know if that means 'shoot them down' or 'down with my homies' as someone else asked me. I doubt it's coincedence though. Anyway, besides those two tracks, if you go into the movie website, you'll hear some background music. We don't yet know if it's a sample of the score to come or not. Either way, I've put all three tracks in one zip download for you all. Enjoy, and spread them around!

(PS: Yes, I know I've written this post in a larger font size than previously. I've decided squinting isn't a good thing.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've just today recieved my copy of the Two-Dic Collector's Edition Batman: The Animated Series score and having only yet listened to snipets thus far, I've got to say... if you have yet to purchase this set, do so, right now. I don't care about the economy, or the holidays, or how strapped for cash you are. This is worth it. I've got more or less all of the score tracks from this series that are available to have, in any manner. Trade, bought, shared, what have you. All of it combined does not live up to how truly fantastic in quality and selection the material on this set is. I'm blown away, especially considering how often I'm disappointed in such things.

I'll be writing a more detailed opinion, and (somehow) offering this material to you, though it's going to be problematic what with the volume of material when it comes to uploading... for now... go to and buy it. You'll thank me later.

Also, I'm aware this has fairly well become the "Batman Music" blog of late, but... it's just been a phenomenal year for the dark knight, what can I say? Starting in the new year I'll try to focus back on Sci-Fi. Likely to begin with the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles score by prolific composer, Bear McCreary.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Out of Exile: Dark Knight Score Re-Qualified for Oscar Consideration!

Last month, the Academy (as in, 'I'd like to thank the Academy'?) ruled that the score for The Dark Knight was disqualified from Oscar consideration, because composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard had listed five other individuals who helped them create the unique sounds for the score on the cue sheets. In other words, Zimmer and Howard did the stand-up nice thing of giving credit where credit was due, but not required to be given. For their good deed, the Academy screwed them over and disqualified the score for an Oscar because of some old rules on the books. They had done this before with 2005's Batman Begins and it seemed history was doomed to repeat itself.

Thankfully, it seems that WB has it's Oscar battle brigade out in full force to support their tent-pole and the years highest grossing film. New information submitted by all effected parties - Zimmer, Howard, and the other five folks who helped them make the unique sounds they used - has convinced the Academy board in charge of such things to reverse it's decision. Thus, TDK's score is back in contention for an Oscar. The nominations are still 6 weeks away, and the actual awards ceramony 6 weeks after that, but this is one more step forward in the TDK Oscar crusade. For all of us score fans, it's a big feather in our cap.

Also, in case you've been under a rock for a while and missed it, the 2-disc limited edition expanded score for TDK has been released. Head over to Amazon or anywhere else you might buy such from and snatch it up while you can. It's -- as you know -- exceedingly rare that a studio pays the fees required to put out an extended edition of a motion picture score. If not for TDK's box office revenue, it's likely this would not have occurred. It's one of the few commercial available expanded scores though, and it's financial success could convince studios of the viability of such releases. So buy, buy, buy!

This is the time to put our money where our ears are, folks. We beg, plead, and cry for commercial expanded scores, and 99.9% of the time no one listens. So now that WB has, we have to put up or shut up. Amazon has it going for $47. Yeah, I know, a pretty penny for a score. If we buy it up though, we may open the flood gates and get more such releases in the future. So skimp, save, pinch pennies, and buy!

Same for the article below, for Batman: The Animated Series 2-disc score. Put your money where your mouth is!

UPDATE: I received my copy of the Limited Edition 2-Disc Expanded Score today (well, I didn't get the mail until tonight) and this is the first chance I've had to listen. The presentation of the set is exemplary. The outer box and the interior CD-holding inlays are of a material I can only describe as "leather-like" in feel. The CDs are presented within a 40-page color hard-bound book full of photographs from The Dark Knight. Sadly, no new information of interviews, comments, et cetera. Still, I'm quite pleased. I only wish my computer sound system was better (on an older system these days) so I could enjoy the music fully! Damn technology...

As to why you don't have a link to listen yourself... honestly, I don't know when or if I'll upload it. I know it's hyper-hypocritical of me, but I want people to actually put their money out and buy this one. Why? Because it just might make an iota of a difference in whether or not we get future expanded score releases. So... I'll mull it over. I'm sure everyone has other sites they can locate it from. For me, for now, I just want to encourage everyone to actually pony up the dough for this occasion. It doesn't happen often enough.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Batman: The Animated Series - Limited Edition 2-Disc Set

Hurry up and get over to LaLaLand Records where they have just released for order a 2-disc limited edition score of Batman: The Animated Series. I've known of this release for some time, back when it was just a rumor, and waited here at my computer an hour before it's exact release time - 3 PM EST/12 PM PST - so that I could place my order as soon as possible. By 3:46 PM EST, sources from LaLaLand say the autographed (by composers Lolita Ritmanos and Michael McCuistion) had already sold out. Hopefully, my 3:21 PM EST order will be signed.

The important thing, though, is the music itself. This is the first time, ever, in the 16 years since the series premiered that any of the musical score has been made commercially available. The 2-disc set is limited to only 3,000 copies, and it's expected to sell out within 12-24 hours, if previous rare releases by LaLaLand are any indications. So get your lazy asses over there, now, and order while you still can!

You may also want to grab a copy of prolific composer Bear McCreary's score from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as I did. Bear's work is astounding, and I guarantee we'll be hearing his name during the Oscar ceremonies at some future point. His ground-breaking work on Battlestar Galactica has helped to re-define music scores across the industry, from the subtle to the overt.

I'll have a few review with details, track listing, and images, of both scores at some point post-December 16 (date of shipping for delivery). So stay tuned!

UPDATE: Amazingly, LaLaLand still has copies available for purchase. I'm also told by a source -- webmaster of the linked-to The Scores of Batman: The Animated Series -- that a second volume of B:TAS material is also ready to go, and that a third is in the works. So to get them, Volume 1 needs to sell, folks! Make it happen! I know so many people who have salivated over B:TAS scores for years... here is the chance! Take advantage!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Superman's Doomsday...

If you've been spending too much time in your Fortress of Solitude, you may not have heard that Warner Bros. recently announced it's plans for the future of the Superman franchise. Indeed, it's ambitions for the multitude of DC Comics properties in various stages of development by them. If you really want all of the details, you'll have to google them, but the highlights include the fact that the planned sequel to 2006's iffy Superman Returns is officially dead. Instead, WB and DC are concentrating on a complete 'reintroduction' of the character, in the same way that Marvel recently re-vamped the Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton this summer only a few years after the iffy Ang Lee/Eric Bana film from a few years ago. Likewise, the first effect of the box office mega-hit The Dark Knight (which just passed the $500 million mark this weekend, and has broken more box office records than any other film in history) is that WB and DC are going to try to adapt the "dark, real tone" of TDK to it's other properties.

What in the hell does that mean for Superman, an alien who can fly and shoot heat lasers from his eyes, and is indestructible unless you have a glowing green hunk or radioactive rock that's actually a chunk of his smashed home world? Who the hell knows. I just like the sound of it. What Christopher Nolan has done for comic book films is akin to what Frank Miller did for the character of Batman in the 1980's with his re-invention of the character in 'The Dark Knight Returns' - the ground-breaking graphic novel that 'gave Batman his balls back' after years stuck in Adam West and 50's comic book camp mode. Realism and darkness (likely of the villains) will now be a focus rather than wild fantasy without any explanation. Another important item is that the on-again, off-again Justice League live-action film has been likewise killed. Though it is planned to eventually do such a film, just how, when, and in what form is now in question.

So in lieu of the 'death' of one branch of the Superman franchise, and it's pending return in another form, I thought it might be appropriate to share the score from the fantastic recent animated feature Superman: Doomsday. The story for the direct-to-DVD film is, of course, Superman's apparent death at the hands of the creature known as Doomsday. What happens beyond that I'll not say, as, even though it's obvious Superman could never truly be perma-killed, it's more fun to watch the film than to hear me spell out the plot. It's out now, so go buy it, and give a listen to it's great original score.