Planet Of The Apes (newly expanded edition)

Planet Of The Apes (newly expanded edition)The modern world of big-screen reboots and remakes presents a minefield to the music department: how do you create music for a story that’s been done before, without doing the same music that’s been done before? (At least one movie remake, the modern remount of Hitchcock’s Psycho, opted to reuse the original music, albeit a new recording of it.) Matters are made worse when the soundtrack of the original version was a groundbreaking, genre-shaking opus that was practically its own character in the film – such as Jerry Goldsmith’s brutally percussive score from 1968’s Planet Of The Apes. In that respect, the 2001 reboot of Apes had a double burden – the original movie and its music were indelibly ingrained into the minds of genre fans. Top that.

Tim Burton tried to, and as he so often does, he brought frequent musical collaborator Danny Elfman along for the ride. Both had an unenviable task ahead of them. Arguably, the music succeeded better than the movie for which it was designed, and La-La Land has re-released the soundtrack to the 2001 Apes remake in an extravagant form, stretching the movie’s almost wall-to-wall music across three discs covering both the original soundtrack album as released in ’01 (which had a pretty healthy selection of music on it to begin with) as well as the complete score as heard in the film (the material on the single-CD soundtrack release differed significantly from the actual film score in many places).

As I was listening to the movie score, the thought struck me that Elfman – despite his seemingly permanent place on Hollywood’s music A-list – hasn’t scored too many sprawling space sagas. Planet Of The Apes isn’t really a sprawling space saga – its “space” scenes are confined to the movie’s opening minutes – but the music for those scenes is an interesting taste of how Elfman would handle the territory that is so often associated with Williams, Goldsmith, Horner and others more frequently regarded as “sci-fi composers.”

When the action comes jarringly down to Earth, the race is on for the film’s hero to outrun the apes, and for Elfman to do things differently from Jerry Goldsmith. As attached as I am to the original 1968 movie and its soundtrack, I found Elfman’s treatment of similar scenes to be more than satisfactory – in fact, they’re hugely enjoyable purely as a listening experience (they didn’t hurt the movie either, though arguably there were things other than the music that did hurt it). In some regards, it’s not entirely dissimilar from Goldsmith’s score because it doesn’t need to be – it’s not a case of anyone’s ideas being ripped off, it’s a case of both composers bowing to the tribally-rhythmic obvious.

The original single-disc soundtrack has been given fresh coat of remastered paint, and sounds great if you’re still attached to the original tracks and running order. (I still admit to enjoying Paul Oakenfold’s movie-dialogue-heavy “Rule The World Remix” as a guilty pleasure; Oakenfold probably does too, since it helped to raise his Hollywood profile, which now includes his own film scores.) Rounding things out are a selection of “source” cues Elfman concocted for scenes which needed “in universe” background music.

Planet Of The Apes was meant to launch a new generation of 20th Century Fox’s venerable Apes franchise for the 21st century, and its hugely-hyped launch seemed to all but guarantee that. Somewhere between the movie just not being as shocking or interesting as the 1968 original, and the inevitable anti-reboot backlash, it managed to fall between the cracks despite the hype. Elfman’s soundtrack remains possibly the most valid element of the movie – much like the re-release of the music from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (also reissued by La-La Land), it was ripe for reassessment despite being 4 out of 4only a decade old. I felt a little let down by the music from Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, so maybe this re-release could serve to remind the director and producers of the next Apes reboot-sequel-prequel-thingie that Elfman’s still out there – and he definitely knows how to go ape.

Order this CD

    Disc 1: Film Score Part 1

  1. Main Titles (film version) (3:53)
  2. Deep Space Launch / Space Station / Power Outage (2:36)
  3. Thumbs Up / Trouble (5:57)
  4. Pod Escape / New World / The Hunt (4:13)
  5. Ape City (2:13)
  6. A Look / Unloading /Thade’s Inspection / Ari Watches / The Branding (3:44)
  7. Ari Buys a Pet (1:24)
  8. Leo Wants Out / Dental Exam (2:12)
  9. Thade’s Desire (1:35)
  10. The Dirty Deed (1:54)
  11. The Escape (3:39)
  12. Trust / Escape (3:32)
  13. In the Forest /Into the Pond / The Messenger (2:29)
  14. Unused / Thade Gets His Way / Ari Connects (3:49)
  15. The Story (3:00)
  16. Scarecrow Stinger / The Camp / Raid (5:20)
  17. Thade Goes Ape (2:42)
  18. Calima (7:22)
  19. The Army Approaches (3:03)
  20. Thade’s Tent (2:10)
  21. Discovery (5:07)
  22. Preparing for Battle (3:51)
    Disc 2: Film Score Part 2

  1. The Charge (4:44)
  2. The Final Confrontation Landing / Showdown (8:34)
  3. The Aftermath / Thade’s Suite (7:31)
  4. Ape Suite #
  5. 4:59)
  6. Ape Suite #
  7. 2:36)
  8. Rule The Planet Remix (4:09)
  9. Thumbs Up / Trouble (alternate mix) (5:57)
  10. New World / The Hunt (alternate mix) (3:20)
  11. Dental Exam (alternate mix) (1:21)
  12. The Dirty Deed (alternate mix) (1:54)
  13. The Story (alternate mix) (2:59)
  14. Preparing for Battle (alternate) (3:35)
  15. The Final Confrontation (alternate mix) (7:14)
  16. The Aftermath / Thade’s Suite (unedited) (7:32)
  17. Camp Raid (percussion only) (4:08)
  18. Rule The Planet (overlay) (3:01)
  19. Source Music Montage (Band Source, Trendy Source, Jazzy Source, Calliope Source, Rave Source) (2:54)
  20. Dinner Source (1:40)
    Disc 3: Original Soundtrack Album

  1. Main Titles (3:49)
  2. Ape Suite #1 (3:52)
  3. Deep Space Launch (4:35)
  4. The Hunt (4:58)
  5. Branding The Herd (0:48)
  6. The Dirty Deed (2:27)
  7. Escape From Ape City / The Legend (5:57)
  8. Ape Suite #2 (2:42)
  9. Old Flames (2:10)
  10. Thade Goes Ape (2:37)
  11. Preparing For Battle (3:26)
  12. The Battle Begins (5:17)
  13. The Return (7:18)
  14. Main Title Deconstruction (4:22)
  15. Rule The Planet Remix (remixed by Paul Oakenfold) (4:03)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2012
Disc one total running time: 75:57
Disc two total running time: 78:24
Disc three total running time: 58:21

Amazing Stories: Anthology One

Amazing Stories: Anthology OneProduced and overseen by Steven Spielberg from 1985 through ’87, Amazing Stories was a lighthearted take on the anthology/playhouse series format that hadn’t been seen on television in two decades. There was no recurring cast of characters, and no connected stories – but unlike The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents or The Outer Limits, Amazing Stories was built on one prerequisite set by Spielberg – a sense of wonder and the fantastic, not the fatalistic. To this end, Spielberg – largely on the power of his own name – drew A-list Hollywood writing, acting and directing talent into his orbit for the show’s first season, and an absolutely stellar, unprecedented A-list of composers, a gathering of genius the likes of which – in all honesty, and not intended as hyperbole – we may never see again on one project.

We’re talking about composers who weren’t even “doing” TV anymore at this stage in their careers. We’re talking Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams and James Horner. We’re also talking composers who were on the brink of making it big – Danny Elfman, Bruce Broughton, and others. How the show looked and felt was up to the individual directors and cast members of each story, but Spielberg put the money up front from the word go to make sure that Amazing Stores would sound amazing.

Although a single-disc compilation of two Amazing Stories scores was released by Varese Sarabande a while back, it was obvious that there was room for more music from this series. Intrada stepped up to the plate with a trio of 2-CD collections, covering several episodes per set and presenting the widest variety of composers’ works possible. Though several episodes were still left out by the time the third and final volume was rolled out, the result is a much more comprehensive collection, sure to please fans of many of the major film composers of the 1980s and ’90s.

John Williams’ music from the first episode, Ghost Train, sits nicely alongside his movie scores from the same era (E.T., etc.), and for a relatively short suite of music (though it’s also every note he recorded for the episode), it all develops beautifully. Two scores with period flavorings follow, James Horner’s Alamo Jobe – which, whenever it breaks out of its western feel into something more traditionally contemporary, sounds like a lot of Horner’s other output from the ’80s – and Bruce Broughton’s more whimsical, century-spanning (and Mark Hamill-starring) Gather Ye Acorns. Georges Delerue’s wistful, low-key The Doll follows, but the next suite – a jarring selection from early Spielberg collaborator Billy Goldenberg’s score from The Amazing Falsworth – is an unsettling wake-up call after Delerue’s calm music.

The second disc opens with a 4-second “station ID bumper” version of John Williams’ main theme, and dives into the music from Moving Day, scored by David Shire, who, fresh from scoring 2010: The Year We Make Contact, brings synth collaborator Craig Huxley with him for some music that sounds remarkably similar to that movie at times. Delerue returns for Without Diana, a heartfelt score that oozes tragedy even without the accompanying visuals. Contrast is once more the name of the game as this is followed up by an early Danny Elfman score, Mummy, Daddy, dripping with the kind of wackiness and whimsy that would become his hallmarks. Hollywood pastiche is the name of the game for another Bruce Broughton score, Welcome To My Nightmare, which brings things to a close (well, technically the Amazing Stories end credit music does that).

4 out of 4Where sound quality is concerned, there are a few quirks that stem mainly from the material being recorded at the twilight of mono sound mixes for television: some of the recordings are in stereo, while others aren’t. But the quality of the recordings is rich and crisp, like the sessions were recorded just last week. The shortest episode suite on this volume is just under nine minutes in length, so the double CD set is more than justified, and the packaging and liner notes are top-notch and informative. Overall, the Amazing Stories collections may be the best thing indie soundtrack label Intrada has ever done, and they’re a treat for fans of the composers whose work appears here.

Order this CD

    Disc one

  1. Amazing Stories Main Title (1:02)

    Ghost Train – music by John Williams

  2. Ohpa’s Arrival (0:30)
  3. Grieving Ohpa (1:17)
  4. Ohpa’s Tales (3:44)
  5. Ohpa Remembers (2:25)
  6. The Ticket (3:05)
  7. The Train Arrives (4:17)

    Alamo Jobe – music by James Horner

  8. The Battle / Jobe Runs (3:01)
  9. Travis Dies (0:51)
  10. First Chase (3:43)
  11. Antique Shop (2:16)

    Gather Ye Acorns – music by Bruce Broughton

  12. The Boy / The Gnome (4:34)
  13. 1938 Radio Source (1:42)
  14. Jonathan’s Room / The Car (0:48)
  15. Nothin’ But A Bum / 1955 / Tumbleweed Connection (2:50)
  16. Regrets (1:27)
  17. 1985 (0:51)
  18. Gas Station Source (2:58)
  19. Holy Moly! / Sow Ye Wild Oats (3:06)

    The Doll – music by Georges Delerue

  20. Doll Shop Sign (1:08)
  21. The Carousel / Doll On Floor / Well, Miss… (3:12)
  22. A School Teacher (0:46)
  23. An Occasional Model (0:36)
  24. She’s Not Married / An O.S. Clunk / Door Opens (1:54)
  25. John Walks To Mantle (2:17)

    The Amazing Falsworth – music by Billy Goldenberg

  26. Falsworth / Strangling / Retrospect (3:30)
  27. Leering / Frigity-Feet (0:30)
  28. Top Floor / Lights (0:53)
  29. All In The Fingers / Lunge (3:07)
  30. Falsworth (E.T.) (0:36)
    Disc two

  1. Amazing Stories Bumper #1 (0:04)

    Moving Day – music by David Shire

  2. Alan’s Dream (1:20)
  3. It’s Not The Same / Discovering The Room (1:37)
  4. My God! (2:40)
  5. Tonight / That’s Alturis (2:30)
  6. Your Ring (2:14)
  7. Departure (2:01)
  8. Finale (0:57)

    Without Diana – music by Georges Delerue

  9. Park (1946) (1:44)
  10. Only Eight / Forest Walk (2:30)
  11. Sorry Policeman / Not By George Alone (2:33)
  12. George In Doorway / Diana’s Story (2:20)
  13. George Will Be (3:22)

    Mummy, Day – music by Danny Elfman & Steve Bartek

  14. Mummy Movie / Baby Chase / Gas Station (3:21)
  15. Country Source (0:26)
  16. Gun Shot / Stinger / Swamp / Old Man / Real Mummy (3:35)
  17. Kung-Fu Mummy (1:00)
  18. Motorcycle / Caught (1:23)
  19. Lynching / Horse Ride (1:25)
  20. Corridors / Caught Again (0:27)
  21. Baby / Finale (1:30)

    Vanessa In The Garden – music by Leonard Niehaus

  22. It’s Lovely / Whoa, Rock, Whoa / I Hurt Vanessa (1:47)
  23. Beautiful Portrait / Humming From The Garden (4:09)
  24. Vanessa’s Laughter / A Summer’s Day / Do It Together / Create A Life (4:07)
  25. Vanessa (piano with orchestra coda) (3:19)

    Welcome To My Nightmare – music by Bruce Broughton

  26. Harry Wakes Up (2:00)
  27. Harry Takes A Shower / Horro Movie / Kate (1:57)
  28. Fraternity Of The Undead / Bad Milk (1:41)
  29. Harry & Kate (0:39)
  30. Harry’s Prayer / The Comet Theatre / Harry At The Movies (7:24)
  31. Back Home (2:13)
  32. Amazing Stories End Credits (0:29)
  33. Amblin Logo (0:15)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2006
Disc one total running time: 64:31
Disc two total running time: 70:33

Men In Black: The Score – music by Danny Elfman

Men In Black soundtrackIf you were as disappointed by Men In Black: The Album as I was, then maybe, this CD should be renamed Men In Black: The Apology. As it is, you will probably have a hard time finding it at the store. Here is a helpful hunt: The Album CD has a picture of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith on the cover and “VARIOUS ARTISTS” on the CD seal, while The Score has MIB prominently on the cover with J and K standing in the I. Even the store clerk at Tower Records was confused, and handed me the album instead of the score.

Anyways, after several months of waiting, and they even missed releasing this CD by the time the Men In Black video was released in late 1997, this CD contains what the MIB movie fan was probably wanting — the complete music score by the talented Danny Elfman. It is indeed worth the wait, as the complete music score from the movie is included. If 4 out of 4you turn up the volume, you will even hear some audio hints and cues that may have been overlooked in the movie. Well done, Danny Elfman.

The booklet is minimalist, giving the track listings, CD credits, and the “little dude in the big dude’s head.” 😉

Order this CD

  1. M.I.B. Main Theme (2:58)
  2. D’s Memories/Chase (3:57)
  3. Edgar’s Truck/A New Man (2:58)
  4. Imports/Quiet Moment (2:22)
  5. J Contemplates (1:18)
  6. Headquarters (1:13)
  7. The Suit (1:28)
  8. Morgue Time (0:48)
  9. Petit Mort (1:42)
  10. K Reminisces (0:48)
  11. Orion’s Belt/Cat Stinger (2:18)
  12. Noisy Cricket/Impending Trouble (2:08)
  13. Sexy Morgue Babe/Icon (5:41)
  14. Take Off/Crash (7:20)
  15. Finale (3:02)
  16. M.I.B. Closing Theme (2:38)

Released by: Sony
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 42:43

Men In Black: The Album

Men In Black: The AlbumAvoid this CD at all costs. Especially if you hate rap music.

I have never been so disappointed in a CD purchase as I was with this CD. While Men In Black was enjoying its success in the theaters, this CD was released to the stores. And, despite having the name Men In Black (plus Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones on the cover), outside of the first track and the last two tracks, this mostly rap album pays only passing reference to the movie. The only tracks worth listening to are Will Smith’s “Men In Black” on track one (which, if you own the video, you already have it), and the opening and closing themes by Danny Elfman (which are also part of Men In Black: The Score).

1 out of 4The CD insert is a long strip, with photos on one side of the strip, and credits for each song on the other side.

If you enjoyed the movie, skip this CD and get Men In Black: The Score instead.

Order this CD

  1. Men In Black (3:45, performed by Will Smith)
  2. We Just Wanna Party With You (4:32, performed by Snoop Doggy Dogg featuring JD)
  3. I’m Feeling You (4:40, performed by Ginuwine)
  4. Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing) (4:11, performed by Alicia Keys)
  5. Just Cruisin’ (3:59, performed by Will Smith)
  6. The ‘Notic (5:20, performed by The Roots featuring D’Angelo)
  7. Make You Happy (4:06, performed by Trey Lorenz)
  8. Escobar ’97 (3:31, performed by NAS)
  9. Erotic City (4:34, performed by Emoja)
  10. Same Ol’ Thing (4:27, performed by A Tribe Called Quest)
  11. Killing Time (5:07, performed by Destiny’s Child)
  12. Waiting For Love (3:46, performed by 3T)
  13. Chanel No. Fever (3:23, performed by De La Soul)
  14. Some Cow Fonque (More Tea Vicar?) (5:09, performed by Buckshot LeFonque)
  15. M.I.B. Main Theme (2:58, written and produced by Danny Elfman)
  16. M.I.B. Closing Theme (2:37, written and produced by Danny Elfman)

Released by: Sony
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 66:05