Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The Future

Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The FutureRemembered these days primarily as a controversy magnet representing an ugly peak in the debate over children’s TV and toy tie-ins, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was also an attempt on the part of its creators to craft a mature sci-fi saga for kids. Sadly, this goal was often elbowed out of the way by Mattel demanding lengthier sequences to trigger features of their quasi-interactive Captain Power toys, and despite actually achieving a lot of what they set out to do, the writers were justifiably disgruntled at the thought of serving two masters. (The story editor, J. Michael Straczynski, ditched Captain Power to take a similar position on the writing staff of an relaunch of the decidedly more adult Twilight Zone.). Captain Power’s meditations on duty, honor, freedom, rights, and war are seldom remembered as often as the series’ status as a half-hour toy commercial.

Also seldom remembered is that this show had a great soundtrack. Assembled by Gary Guttman from his master tapes, the Captain Power soundtrack CD is a testament to the series’ surprising grab for orchestral grandeur befitting its mature storytelling style. Once past the predictably bombastic series theme, the Captain Power soundtrack is ful of startlingly effective dramatic music, wearing its John Williams/Star Wars influence on its sleeve unashamedly. The contrast to the usual kids’ show fare is huge: some shows from this era seemed to repeat a small handful of synth-and-drum-machine loops and call it a day. That Guttman and the producers of Captain Power were willing to go further is impressive, and so is this soundtrack as a result.

The “Love Theme” is more sweeping and romantic than you’d expect from a half-hour live-action kids’ series about a dystopian, cyborg-ruled future, straddling the line between John Williams and James Horner at his best, while action pieces like “Big Battle”, “Soaron”, “Pursued” and “Air Battle”, while obviously performed by a smaller ensemble than the average Star Wars soundtrack, still pack a powerful punch thanks to skillful orchestration. Some of the quieter cues are the bigget revelations here (my personal favorite is the short, sweet, and mysterious “Eerie Mood 3”).

A great many of the album’s tracks are under a minute, which brings us to perhaps the most amazing thing about the Captain Power soundtrack: Guttman composed and recorded all of the music without any footage in hand, essentially creating a library of shorter cues that could be strung together by the series’ music editor as needed. The number of tracks exceeding two minutes in length can be counted on one hand. But it’s a testament to the composer’s work (and, admittedly, the music editor’s work) that the material was composed with the actual footage sight unseen, and yet seems to fit it perfectly.

3 out of 4And all this for an underbudgeted half-hour show about a war against cyborg oppression (and, yes, about a line of toys too). This soundtrack is an impeccable reminder of an era when orchestral scoring for TV, esven kids’ TV, wasn’t the rarity that it is now.

  1. Captain Power Opening (1:32)
  2. Get Ready (1:45)
  3. Love Theme (1:53)
  4. Order this CDBig Battle (2:12)
  5. Sad Heroic Vamp (0:32)
  6. Pursued (1:37)
  7. Jumpship 1 (0:19)
  8. Air Battle (1:41)
  9. Sad Heroic (1:45)
  10. Bursting Through (1:17)
  11. Abandoned Streets (1:14)
  12. Stinger (0:22)
  13. Quiet Buildup (2:25)
  14. Soaron (0:30)
  15. Pursued Vamp (0:41)
  16. Eerie Mood 2 (0:25)
  17. Action Filler 1 (0:14)
  18. Captain Power Beware (0:21)
  19. Land Battle (1:23)
  20. Volcania (0:17)
  21. Sneaking Around (1:24)
  22. Eden 2 (0:47)
  23. Captain Power Vamp (0:32)
  24. Beware Of Dread (0:23)
  25. Power On – Alternate (0:19)
  26. Light Moment (0:31)
  27. Eerie Mood 3 (0:26)
  28. Captain Power To The Rescue (0:53)
  29. Action Filler 2 (0:34)
  30. Quiet Buildup Alternate (0:35)
  31. Action Filler 3 (0:13)
  32. Triumphant Battle (2:02)
  33. End Of Act (0:16)
  34. Captain Power End Title (1:04)
  35. Castle Volcania 2 (0:44)
  36. Seconds Ticking (1:11)
  37. Serious – Somber (2:16)
  38. Flame Street (0:58)
  39. Dark Mist (1:53)
  40. Captain Power Opening: 2012 Version (1:26)

Released by: Goddard Film Group
Release date: September 25, 2012
Total running time: 40:52