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Comments about the soundtrack for T-Rex (William Ross)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: James Delphi   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008, at 6:37 p.m.
• IP Address:

(The following donated review by James Delphi was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in September, 2008)

T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous: (William Ross) William Ross first caught my attention with his score for the film Tin Cup, which starred Kevin Costner. There were some truly inspiring moments in that score which I could hardly believe were coming from that movie. Breathtaking stuff. However, that is not how I happened upon this score. I went to see T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous at my local IMAX theater because I love anything and everything with dinosaurs. Even among all the dinosaurs roaring and the fabulous special effects, the part of the movie which I was noticing (and enjoying) the most was the marvelous score which was accompanying it. The finale scene especially caught my ear. When the end credits came up, I was once again surprised to see William Ross's name. I had no idea he was such a great composer.

Ross's style can most easily by compared to Alan Silvestri, which is not surprising given that Ross has been orchestrating for Silvestri for quite some time. The score opens with an almost fanfaric crescendo, and for a few seconds the flutes take the background quietly while the strings perform hints of the main theme, but suddenly the score becomes ten times louder as deep, fast-paced, jungle-type drums begin a frenzy and the brass come in for the first full, bold statement of Ross's majestic and catchy main theme. The few tracks after that are, admittedly, a little repetitive, but not uninteresting. Track 2 introduces us to Ally's theme, which is reminiscent of the main theme from Alan Silvestri's The Parent Trap. It's an attractive (and yes, catchy) little theme which suits itself well to be played by basically any instrument. The next three tracks either restate Ally's theme or represent what could be called "filler" music, but they are not long and don't really become dull.

Track 5 is the first really different cue on the CD. It accompanies the first accidental journey back in time. Ross uses the strings to create an overall sense of awe while the brass back them up. He then implements a number of African percussion instruments (i.e., rainsticks) to make things interesting, and ties it all together for a frightening and wondrous effect. It's all atmosphere, but it's very breathable. Track 8 is especially interesting because it is seems to be a period song (like the songs which were included on the Tin Cup promo), although I don't remember its place in the film. If it had to be included on the CD, it really should have been put at the beginning or the end of the album, because it breaks up the coherency of the score. Skip over it on your first listen.

"Meeting Barnum Brown" will not make sense if you have not seen the film. It accompanies an excavation scene in the West, and Ross scores it with a western theme, very much in the classic western style of Bernstein or Tiomkin. It is very enjoyable, albeit not at all original, and as much as you might expect it to hurt consistency, it opens and closes surprisingly well and actually conforms with the rest of the score quite nicely. The last two tracks of the CD I would have paid $20 for alone. They bring in every element of the score and are amazing pieces of music. Track 10 has a very impressive action cue, with racing strings, dissonant brass, pounding timpani, everything you could ask for in a chase scene. The finale track which follows is without a doubt the pick of the album. It begins with an awesome statement of the main theme, then subsides into Ally's theme for a few minutes before returning to the main theme for an ending that is nothing short of brilliant. The cymbals crash, the timpani rumbles, and the brass take center stage for one final majestic statement of the main theme. It's an incredible finale.

All in all, this is everything you would expect from an IMAX score. Like Alan Williams's popular scores for IMAX documentaries, T-Rex is lush, large, and epic. The score was released on a promo CD about a month after the film's release. All the online soundtrack vendors stocked them, but they were gone quickly, and copies are now somewhat hard to find. It is well worth the time and the money, however. At 37 minutes, it may strike some as short, but keep in mind that the film itself was only about 45 minutes long. The whole score is present and accounted for, and it is well worth its price tag. T-Rex is a great score, and I look forward to the future William Ross hopefully has in front of him. If he keeps up quality work like this, its only a matter of time. ****

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.