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Section Header
Leviathan
(1989)
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton
Nancy Beach

Performed by:
The Orchestra di Santa Cecilia di Roma (Rome)

Label:
Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
April 17th, 1989

Also See:
Deep Rising
The Swarm
Total Recall
The Abyss
Alien
Silverado

Audio Clips:
1. Underwater Camp (0:33):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (266K)
Real Audio (165K)

4. One of Us (0:29):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (233K)
Real Audio (145K)

7. Can we Fix It (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

11. A Lot Better (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release, but difficult to find in stores after a few years.

Awards:
  None.









Leviathan

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Buy it... if you enjoyed Jerry Goldsmith's similar suspense and action stance in The Swarm and are often intrigued by his experimentation with sound effects.

Avoid it... if only the best-developed, most rhythmically consistent Goldsmith suspense motifs satisfy your tastes in the composer's more bombastic orchestral works.



Goldsmith
Leviathan: (Jerry Goldsmith) In retrospect, 1989 was the crowning year of underwater suspense and horror. Among others, DeepStar Six, Leviathan, and The Abyss all were released that year, perhaps due to some level of advancement in underwater filming technologies. The premise of Leviathan starts with promise but disintegrates into a poorly executed combination of Alien and The Thing that dozens of other films had already attempted before. An underwater mining crew (consisting of a decent cast of B-rate character actors for the time) searching for precious metals 16,000 feet down is testy as it nears the end of its 90-day shift. Luckily, the group discovers the mysterious wreck of a scuttled Russian ship named Leviathan in the great depths. They plunder various goodies from the ship unaware that among their discoveries is a mutant gene experiment that was likely the demise of Leviathan. The film stumbles badly at this point, especially by the time a few of the crew are transformed into monsters wearing rubber suits and do all the obligatory maiming and senseless killing that films like Leviathan require. At some point, you stop caring if anyone survives and appreciate the fact that the film has a good sense of humor about its own failings, and luckily the $24 million sunk into the production elements of the film was allocated to good use in sets, special effects, and the hiring of Jerry Goldsmith for the original score. While The Abyss was only the cinematic success of the this sub-genre of films in 1989, Goldsmith's score for Leviathan gives Alan Silvestri's choral work for the more famous film a run for its money. The composer's involvement with Leviathan was no surprise given that he and director George P. Cosmatos had collaborated with great success on First Blood. Goldsmith had also proven himself more than worthy of assignments in the monster and science fiction genres in the late 1970's and 1980's, with everything from Alien to The Swarm under his belt. The task for the composer here channeled Alien, but Goldsmith couldn't resist the temptation of a more vibrant ensemble personality and the addressing of the underwater setting as an influence in his music. On the surface, Leviathan is very average Goldsmith work that won't likely earn many firm supporters, but a handful of unique additions to the score help it stand above the substantial mass of other similar works from the composer.

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The deliberate opening titles are one example of where Leviathan excels, with Goldsmith establishing an elegant and slowly building theme for strings over broad brass as counterpoint and an array of whale sound effects for good measure. What follows in the rest of the score is a classic study in Goldsmith suspense, though two tracks distinguish themselves as enjoyable listening exceptions. An affirming piano-led theme of diminished romantic reflection makes a short appearance in "One of Us" and a victorious end titles cue gallops with almost the Western spirit and thematic bounce of Bruce Broughton's Silverado. While out of place given its openly optimistic personality, the variation of theme in "A Lot Better," along with the intrigue of the opening cue, is worth the price of the album despite the reminders it will inevitably give you of Stu Phillips' famous theme from "Battlestar Galactica." But rather than providing bland suspense music for the majority of the middle sections (a format Goldsmith followed in projects such as The River Wild and a host of others during this period), he sustains substantial power and rhythmic development in many of the action explosions. The orchestral presence is powerful and brooding, with one brass motif after another striking you while staccato strings chop mercilessly above them. The true point of interest in Leviathan remains the host of sound effects that Goldsmith employs. The 1980's were his time of prime electronic experimentation, and in an environment as other-worldly as the bottom of the ocean (and with the obvious need to frighten the viewer), Goldsmith's foreign atmosphere in Leviathan stretches from the benign whale calls to the harshest slashing and backwards-mixed effects (heard in the outstanding "Can We Fix It" cue) used in, coincidentally, the film Dark City. The substance of the horror underscore is not quite the quality of The Swarm, but it puts the similarly conceived ideas in Deep Rising to shame. In the film, Goldsmith's score is featured with great force, prominently mixed into the DVD's primary two-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack. While many casual listeners may write off Leviathan as a merely average Goldsmith action and horror romp, it surprises you with its persistence of attitude and quality of enthusiastic performances, especially during its highlighting bookend cues. The original pressing of the album was a rather amusing example of the extremely poor and difficult-to-read packaging on some of Varèse Sarabande's early CD releases, but don't let such trifles restrict you from giving this often underrated score another chance. ****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.28 (in 136,452 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.17 Stars
Smart Average: 3.13 Stars*
***** 60 
**** 70 
*** 67 
** 52 
* 43 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Alternative review at movie-wave.net
  Southall -- 9/1/13 (11:34 a.m.)
   Re: This is the proof
  hewhomustnotbenamed -- 7/15/12 (11:58 p.m.)
   Leviathan Formula
  Bruno Costa -- 1/23/11 (3:33 a.m.)
   Re: What the
  DeadMusicSociety -- 8/1/05 (5:55 p.m.)
   Re: This is the proof
  Frank -- 7/28/05 (7:57 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  




 Track Listings: Total Time: 39:46


• 1. Underwater Camp (3:23)
• 2. Decompression (3:16)
• 3. Discovery (5:24)
• 4. One of Us (1:41)
• 5. The Body Within (4:33)
• 6. Escape Bubbles (5:37)
• 7. Can we Fix It (3:25)
• 8. Situation Under Control (1:49)
• 9. It's Growing (3:10)
• 10. Too Hot (3:27)
• 11. A Lot Better (3:31)




 Notes and Quotes:  


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





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Leviathan are Copyright © 1989, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com 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 6/25/98 and last updated 11/1/11. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.