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Comments about the soundtrack for Island of Lost Souls (Jane Antonia Cornish)

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I'm probably in the minority on this...
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• Posted by: TUBA   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, February 10, 2008, at 9:43 p.m.
• IP Address: dhcp-199-74-75-13.res-hall.northwestern.edu

I was all hyped up for this score after reading Broxton's review and seeing the IFMCA nominations. What I was expecting was a massive Williams-Arnold style score. And the opening titles certainly got to me, with a big, rousing, epic theme to send us off into another fantastical realm. But after four listens, the majority of the score just didn't excel in my mind. Williams's Star Wars action music has been criticized in parts for being directionless, but the vast majority of Cornish's action fare does a better job of holding that banner. The flute-xylophone flutterings and brass hits are too similar and don't move the cue in any direction. Most of the music loses track of the main theme too...it roars to life in Escape Through the Forest but then isn't used in any engaging way, or even used that frequently for that matter. There's also not enough sense of wonderment or awe; the Williams-on-autopilot trend towards the action cues doesn't thrill you, and the majority of the score doesn't capture you as a score of this score and grandeur should. Exceptions to that complaint are the choral parts in Shadows and The Cave.

Of the cues that have drawn the most praise, I am divided on them. Final Battle gets loud and apocalyptic, even thrilling in bits but doesn't engage you the whole way through. Given how much others have raved about it, it is a minor disappointment. But Soul Bridge and End Titles offers a window into how great this score could've been. It's a wonderous, gorgeous piece of music that takes its themes to their most beautiful heights and creates a real sense of awe and magic that most of the score is sorely lacking. It is an extension of styles heard in Hook, but here it is much more inspiration than repetition and also more intelligent in its application.

I think Cornish shows a lot of promise here, but Island isn't anywhere close to being as impressive a mainstream debut as Arnold's Stargate was. Releasing only half the score probably hurts our viewing of it, and a complete release probably mends some of the problems that a 38 minute album brings. Overall, moments of this make for a powerful fantasy score, but the inability to transcend the utilized styles into a score that stands on its own ultimately dooms Island to a passable homage. If I want a thrilling and intelligent interpretation of Williams material, I'll listen to Lair over and over, which I've been doing for the past two weeks anyways.

3.5 stars




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