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Twister – music by Mark Mancina

TwisterEvery once in a while, a soundtrack appears that you just kind of order on sight. This was one of those. I was no stranger to Mark Mancina’s propulsive, all-American-sounding score from the 1996 tornado disaster flick Twister, as I already had the original release of the score from that year, but the thought of a complete Twister score release was enough to lighten my wallet a bit…mainly for the love of a single piece of music omitted from the ’96 CD.

One of the film’s best sequences follows a somewhat introspective series of vignettes that nail home, none too subtly, the emotional stakes for the movie’s characters. After a hasty retreat from a decidedly southern meal, the ragtag storm chasers led by Bill Paxton’s character do a bit of ill-advised off-roading without being entirely sure where they’re going to wind up. The orchestral part of the soundtrack begins churning in a steady rhythm with the signature battery of cellos that anchor the entire score, eventually transitioning into “Humans Being”, the song Van Halen contributed to Twister‘s “songtrack” album. It’s quite possibly the best integration of score and tie-in song I’ve ever heard Hollywood pull off, and…it was missing from the original album.

That track, “Walk In The Woods”, tapers off rather than crashing into rock music territory (the Van Halen song can still be found on the readily available song CD), but it sold me on this whole remaster. Unlike some past reissues which doubled the amount of music available or blew our minds with alternates or unused takes, there are probably fewer than ten minutes of truly “new” music to be found on this reissue. But in conversing with fellow soundtrack afficionados, I found that “Walk In The Woods” was the tipping point for them picking this one up too.

4 out of 4The familiar tracks from the original album are renamed and shuffled around a bit from the original 1996 release, but it’s all there – with one exception. Missing from this new release is the snippet of movie dialogue (well, singing, really) in which a couple of the storm chasers sing a bit of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma (particularly badly); if you’re a fan of that few seconds of silliness, you need to hang on to the 1996 release as well as this one.

Order this CD

  1. Wheatfield (film version) (1:25)
  2. The Hunt Begins (3:50)
  3. The Sky (1:03)
  4. Dorothy IV (film version) (1:57)
  5. The First Twister (0:49)
  6. In the Ditch / Where’s My Truck? (2:00)
  7. Waterspouts (2:49)
  8. Cow (5:42)
  9. Walk In The Woods (2:05)
  10. Bob’s Road (2:13)
  11. Hail No! (2:43)
  12. Futility (film version) (2:17)
  13. Drive-In Twister (2:57)
  14. Wakita (film version) (5:19)
  15. Sculptures (film version) (3:06)
  16. House Visit (4:47)
  17. The Big Suck (film version) (1:47)
  18. End Titles (2:25)
  19. Wheatfield (alternate) (1:28)
  20. Waterspouts (alternate) (2:50)
  21. The Big Suck (alternate) (1:14)
  22. End Title / Respect the Wind (9:20)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: January 20, 2017
Total running time: 64:07

Twister – music by Mark Mancina

TwisterIt took a while for this music and the movie from which it sprang to grow on me, but I now enjoy both of them immensely. I’ve heard a few complaints about the hodgepodge of styles utilized by Mark Mancina (who also scored Twister director Jan de Bont’s previous hit, Speed) in the space of a single score, but I find the resulting contrasts to be satisfyingly appropriate. The juxtaposition and combination of rock and contemporary classical elements fit the tone and pace of the movie, and the result – which in places bears more than a passing resemblance to Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” – suits the Oklahoma venue of the tornado-chasing mini-epic. If anything detracts from the experience of listening to the music alone, it’s the scarcity of thematic material (which is more the movie’s problem than that of the score). Three basic themes fill out the score from Twister: a joyous, all-American-sounding motif for the “good guy” storm chasers led by Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, a more urgent and stacatto sound for Cary Elwes’ competing crew of uniformed, professional chasers, and choral overtones ranging from heavenly to menacing for the various tornadoes encountered in the movie. That’s really it. There is no thematic development for individual characters, and perhaps I’m asking too much in hoping for such material. All in all, for the purpose it needed 4 out of 4to serve – underscoring a rather less than complex and not-entirely-accurate action-adventure flick – Mancina’s Twister treatment did the job and stands alone as well. It’s a good thing I didn’t hear this album until many months after my own twister experience, or the sound of the choral tornado motif might give me nightmares!

Order this CD

  1. Wheatfield (1:19)
  2. Where’s My Truck? (0:20)
  3. Futility (2:14)
  4. Downdraft (1:47)
  5. Drive In (2:37)
  6. The Big Suck (1:10)
  7. Going Green (2:48)
  8. Sculptures (3:03)
  9. Cow (5:38)
  10. Ditch (1:28)
  11. Wakita (5:02)
  12. Bob’s Road (2:10)
  13. We’re Almost There (2:58)
  14. Dorothy IV (1:48)
  15. Mobile Home (4:38)
  16. God’s Finger (1:46)
  17. William Tell Overture / Oklahoma Medley (1:06)
  18. End Title / Respect the Wind (performed by Van Halen) (9:17)

Released by: Atlantic Classics
Release date: 1996
Total running time: 51:09