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Section Header
Demolition Man
Composed and Co-Orchestrated by:
Elliot Goldenthal

Co-Orchestrated by:
Robert Elhai

Conducted by:
Jonathan Sheffer

Produced by:
Matthias Gohl

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
November 23rd, 1993

Also See:
Batman Forever

Audio Clips:
1. Dies Irae (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

7. Confronting the Chief (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

12. Obligatory Car Chase (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

16. Silver Screen Kiss (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release, but completely out of print. The score album was released a few months after Sting's song album.


Demolition Man
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Buy it... if you love hearing Elliot Goldenthal provide music several levels more intelligent than the film, either as an outward parody or by mistake.

Avoid it... if only the gorgeous, Jerry Goldsmith-styled finale cue captured your attention in the film itself.

Demolition Man: (Elliot Goldenthal) Aside from the fact that it introduced an innocent Sandra Bullock to many movie-goers, Demolition Man hits nearly every guilty-pleasure button known to mankind. Among the "violations of the verbal morality code," the verbiage of "murder death kill," and a villain named "Cocteau," viewers of Demolition Man are still trying to figure out exactly how to use the three seashells in place of traditional paper ass-wipes. The stupidity of the film is oddly compensated for by its purely tongue-in-cheek zaniness, proving that ridiculously dumb movies can indeed catch you watching them whenever they come on late night cable television (though, of course, violations of the verbal morality code lose all their punch on family-friendly channels). Given how utterly juvenile a film Demolition Man really is, another amusing irony is the assignment of composer Elliot Goldenthal to the task of composing the underscore for the film. Goldenthal is, more than any other contemporary composer, known by film music collectors as the "thinking man's composer," an artist whose intellect with orchestral composition has led him to create a phenomenally unique and smart series of scores and live performance pieces. While almost always thinking a few levels above most other composers, Goldenthal also has a tendency to produce music that isn't readily listenable to the ears of the average mundane film music listener... or anybody who places much value in the Titanic score, in other words. In some cases, this intelligence in film scoring has provided glorious results, from the elegant bombast of Final Fantasy to the painfully emotional Frida, which won him an Academy Award for his score. But on the other hand, projects as bizarre as Titus have served to only polarize film music collectors because Goldenthal's approach to such work is so outlandishly creative that you either love it or hate it.

In the case of Demolition Man, Goldenthal does what he does best: over-intellectualizes a score. At some point, you have to recognize that a film not only deserves, but needs a basic score. Goldenthal missed that point with Batman Forever, and definitely misses the point with Demolition Man. Some people argue that a score as varied and creative as Goldenthal's is exactly what a film like Demolition Man needs. Unfortunately for those folks, the only cues that seem to really make sense in the film itself are those that dumb down the equation (by Goldenthal standards). The title theme exists in only one major performance, as Sylvester Stallone approaches his current-day task at the start of the film, the confrontation motif for chopping strings and snare ("Confronting the Chief"), and of course, the lush "Silver Screen Kiss" at the very end... all are notably memorable in the film. This is no surprise, because they all represent action by Stallone, who is a brute from the past, and it's likely that Goldenthal was playing on these primitive flashes of muscle. Sufficing in their role are the two cues for the freezing process, "Guilty as Charged" and "Defrosting," with plucking strings, piano, and harp accented by various banging metallic and wood percussion. But for the rest of the score, Goldenthal is given a license to wail, screech, and produce hard synth rhythms and loops that would make even hardcore electronica fans run screaming. Rhythmic chaos and extraordinarily harsh metallic shades, combined with extremely aggressive unconventional use of traditional orchestra instruments makes Demolition Man a very disjointed and unpredictable venture.

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As always, Goldenthal employs the wavering horn technique, yielding to the full-blown wailing horns, in the opening cue and "Final Confrontation." How anybody can actually enjoy this brass usage is unknown. Goldenthal seems inclined to use this trilling brass whenever he concludes a finale or crescendo that requires the rest of the ensemble to perform in harmony, and it would go on to downright ruin the title statement in Batman Forever. An extended performance of the "Dies Irae" cue (why should this schlock limit Goldenthal's symphony movement cue titles?), renamed "Main Titles" for the common man, was outstandingly arranged and performed by the Budapest Studio Orchestra for a Germany Edel compilation in 1994 (one of the early collections of mostly the City of Prague Philharmonic before Silva began releasing their recordings more regularly), and they do a great job of incorporating, but moderating Goldenthal's wierdnesses in the cue. The same cue was edited down for the original commercial album. On the whole, Demolition Man is widely heralded as yet another underrated score from the talented composer. Completely out of print and never in competition with the widely run song compilation album, the short score album is very scarce. But sometimes you can be too intelligent for a project, and Goldenthal simply got too damn smart for his own good this time around. It's admittedly as fascinating as any other Goldenthal score, but Demolition Man didn't need or deserve it, and that's why the simplistic, borderline parody cues are the only ones that actually function in the picture. A note to American detainment camps in undisclosed countries: forget hooking up those radical Muslims' testicles to electrode devices... some sleep deprivation using Elliot Goldenthal's Demolition Man will do the job! ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Elliot Goldenthal reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.13 (in 16 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.07 (in 15,600 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.85 Stars
Smart Average: 2.9 Stars*
***** 25 
**** 40 
*** 52 
** 46 
* 36 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Bad taste ending
  Terrasidius -- 9/24/08 (2:50 p.m.)
   Commedia Deliarte comes back with new extra...
  Amore_StravaGante -- 7/16/06 (11:35 a.m.)
   Alternative review
  Southall -- 5/22/06 (5:41 p.m.)
   excellent score
  Francisco Becerra -- 5/21/06 (1:03 p.m.)
   Re: Bad taste ending
  Acaimo -- 5/18/06 (4:59 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 29:56

• 1. Dies Irae (1:51)
• 2. Fire Fight (1:35)
• 3. Guilty as Charged (3:58)
• 4. Action, Guns, Fun (1:26)
• 5. Machine Waltz (1:56)
• 6. Defrosting (1:43)
• 7. Confronting the Chief (0:32)
• 8. Museum Dis Duel (1:56)
• 9. Subterranean Slugfest (1:44)
• 10. Meeting Cocteau (1:42)
• 11. Tracking Simon Pheonix (3:03)
• 12. Obligatory Car Chase (3:06)
• 13. Flawless Pearl (1:15)
• 14. Final Confrontation (1:55)
• 15. Code 187 (0:41)
• 16. Silver Screen Kiss (1:30)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Demolition Man are Copyright © 1993, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/24/96 and last updated 2/19/06. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1996-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.