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The Forbidden Kingdom
Album Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:
David Buckley

Conducted by:
David Sabee

Arranged and Orchestrated by:
Kirk Bennett
Nick Glennie-Smith

Co-Produced by:
Harry Gregson-Williams
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Lionsgate Music
(July 22nd, 2008)
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Regular U.S. release, primarily distributed via download but also available through's "CDr on demand" service.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you have enjoyed the many similar blends of muscular Western orchestra, varied choir, and intoxicating Eastern specialty instruments in the numerous equivalents from other offshoots of the Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams sound.

Avoid it... if no amount of awesome melodic beauty in the melodramatic portions of this score can compensate for its rather sterile and inelegant posture in the action cues.
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WRITTEN 2/27/12
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The Forbidden Kingdom: (David Buckley) Based upon a variety of fantasy stories combined to form a kung fu adventure set in ancient China, The Forbidden Kingdom is best known for being the first movie to ever feature both the legendary martial arts actors Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Their obligatory fight sequence against each other near the beginning of the film is a treat to behold, and the actors confessed to enjoying the ability to shoot their fight scene unusually smoothly and quickly due to their skill level. Chan plays a drunken scholar and Li is a monk in The Forbidden Kingdom, the two teaming up to train a young Boston man (your average, white, urban nerd) transported magically back in time to China with the help of a special staff. This American is the unlikely fulfillment of a prophecy that will bring down the evil ruler of the land and set free the rightful king from a cursed encasement. Along the way, they pick up a young woman seeking revenge against the ruler, forming an unlikely alliance that has to battle through an evil witch assassin and armies of the enemy before tackling the main warlord at the end. The plot is utterly ridiculous and occasionally painful to tolerate in its conversational portions, but entertaining chemistry between Chan and Li salvage the film from total mediocrity. Their pairing did amuse critics and audiences enough to generate substantial profits for the early 2008 picture. Given the branching of the Hans Zimmer and Remote Control-related composing factory into the realm of ancient China at the time, it shouldn't be surprised that the production sought a low-budget ethnic score from this group (and its affiliates) in 2007. The assignment actually went to the offshoot ensemble of artists related to Harry Gregson-Williams, itself not a stranger to these tones. Based in part upon a rejected cue that he had written while supplying additional material for Gregson-Williams' The Number 23, associate composer David Buckley earned a chance to make The Forbidden Kingdom his second feature project. The Englishman had been a collaborator with Gregson-Williams since the mid-2000's, occasionally branching out into his own assignments, but he was one of the better known composer's several ghostwriters for a long enough period to earn an avenue into the industry. With a low budget for The Forbidden Kingdom, Buckley recorded with the sometimes lackluster Northwest Sinfonia and added extensive embellishment with the assistance of Gregson-Williams' own recording studio. The resulting score, not surprisingly, sounds significantly like an variation on the standard Remote Control and Gregson-Williams sound, albeit at its better capabilities.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.66 Stars
***** 61 5 Stars
**** 29 4 Stars
*** 16 3 Stars
** 10 2 Stars
* 24 1 Stars
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jeff buckley
Jason Poopieface - April 26, 2013, at 9:07 a.m.
1 comment  (355 views)
I like the orchestral sounds
Beno27 - April 24, 2013, at 11:41 a.m.
1 comment  (355 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 66:28
• 1. The Mountain of Fruit & Flowers (1:43)
• 2. The Peach Banquet (1:46)
• 3. Monkey Business (4:31)
• 4. China Begins (4:11)
• 5. Hops' Shop (3:07)
• 6. J&J Temple Fight (5:34)
• 7. The Legend of the Temple Staff (1:59)
• 8. Two Tigers - Two Masters (2:49)
• 9. Tea House Fight (5:07)
• 10. The Tyranny of War (5:23)
• 11. Don't Forget to Breathe (0:52)
• 12. Ni Chang & Her Cult Killers (4:35)
• 13. Drunken Master Wounded (3:40)
• 14. The Seeker of the Prophecy (5:05)
• 15. Let the Journey Begin (2:37)
• 16. Monkey King Released (2:27)
• 17. Battle of the Bride (3:01)
• 18. Her Destiny Was Written (4:12)
• 19. As One Tale Ends... (2:46)
• 20. ...Another Tale Begins (1:35)

Notes Icon
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film. As in many of's "CDr on demand" products, the packaging smells incredibly foul when new.
Copyright © 2012-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Forbidden Kingdom are Copyright © 2008, Lionsgate Music and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/27/12 (and not updated significantly since).
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