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Section Header
Composed and Produced by:
Marc Streitenfeld

Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Ben Foster

Additional Music by:
Harry Gregson-Williams

Sony Classical

Release Date:
June 12th, 2012

Also See:
Alien 3
Alien Resurrection
Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem
Robin Hood

Audio Clips:
4. Life (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

20. Space Jockey (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

21. Collision (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

25. Birth (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Regular U.S. release.



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Buy it... if you're an enthusiast of the music for the Alien franchise and can forgive Marc Streitenfeld for creating something of a tribute to his predecessors while cranking up the organically melodramatic aspect of the concept.

Avoid it... if you expect the four new themes in this score to develop into a clear narrative, a task made difficult by the intrusion of significant and challenging sound design into the mix for the suspense and horror sequences.

Prometheus: (Marc Streitenfeld/Harry Gregson-Williams) At war in director Ridley Scott's 2012 visual stunner Prometheus are audience expectations for neatly-wrapped explanations of a classic old story and the filmmakers' desire to tantalize those audiences by raising more questions than they answer. The franchise that followed the 1979 Scott movie Alien never explained many of the original story's mysteries, and in the early 2000's, Scott and Aliens director James Cameron sought to explore a prequel that would expand upon the fascinating scenes in Alien that continued to baffle with their origins. While the intrusion of the Predator franchise into the scene ultimately drove Cameron away, Scott revisited the Alien concept in his much revised story for Prometheus, setting the stage for the events later seen in Alien without actually establishing a narrative that directly flows into the 1979 film (defying the format of The Thing prequel in 2011). The famous scene of the giant, dead "space jockey" creature in Alien inspires much of Prometheus, though Scott explores existential and mythological territory (akin to Blade Runner) surrounding that race's activities in the universe. These "engineers" seem not only to be responsible for the creation of the human race, but also the genetic experimentation that leads to the establishment of the feared "alien" race of unknown purpose. Whether the classic aliens are meant as a biological weapon specifically bred to wipe out humanity is as much a mystery as the engineers' role in creating humans in the first place. A strong feminine hero, a somewhat creepy android, and a whole lot of gruesome killings are showcased in typical Scott fashion, utilizing visuals that were almost universally praised by critics. Response to Prometheus was mixed due to the filmmakers' decision to leave the door open for a direct sequel rather than explicitly explain the involvement of the specific engineer in the context of Alien. Musically speaking, the Alien franchise has never enjoyed any remote level of musical consistency through its decades of rotating between directors and composers. While the soundtrack for each individual entry has its own merits, the general approach to all of these entries has varied wildly since Jerry Goldsmith's first score in 1979. Perhaps one of the most interesting developments in Prometheus is the choice to pay homage to several of the previous franchise scores' themes and techniques rather than blaze an entirely new trail.

Composer Marc Streitenfeld has been Scott's regular composing collaborator since the mid-2000's, replacing Hans Zimmer, who had mentored the younger German associate for several years prior. The quality of Streitenfeld's output for Scott has varied considerably, his work for American Gangster clearly superior to Body of Lies and Robin Hood thereafter. The intelligence of his motific development for The Grey earlier in 2012, regardless of the poor listenability of the score, bode well for similar thoughtfulness in Prometheus. Strangely, also contributing to the continuation of the Alien concept is composer Harry Gregson-Williams, another connection to Zimmer and Scott (the ill-fated Kingdom of Heaven). While Streitenfeld is responsible for most of the music in Prometheus, the more established Gregson-Williams contributed a theme for the mythological angle of the story that weaves throughout several vital scenes, including the opening credits ("Life"). Fortunately, the material by Gregson-Williams is executed in a sound similar enough to Streitenfeld's music to avoid any glaring stylistic continuity issues, and mainstream listeners won't likely notice any difference in the music by the two men here. The approach Streitenfeld took to Prometheus will please film music collectors familiar with the franchise and worried about the dilution of the concept with the kind of brainless, Remote Control-derived music that embarrassed Battleship earlier the same year. Very conscious of the franchise's history was Streitenfeld, who seemingly took inspiration from Jerry Goldsmith, Elliot Goldenthal, and John Frizzell for the various facets of his score. The eeriness of Goldsmith's original returns, fluttering woodwind figures and disparate high and low tones in strained atmospheric haze eventually culminating in a credited full statement of the 1979 theme. The nod to Goldenthal is in the texture of the orchestral element, meandering brass pitches (and other brass usage) and percussive techniques reminiscent of the epic brutality of Alien 3. Meanwhile, often overlapped is Frizzell's infusion of electronic sound effects for Alien Resurrection, much of the sound design portion of Prometheus similarly conveyed. One of the unfortunate absences in the 2012 score, while understandable to an extent, is the ball-busting militaristic tone of James Horner's Aliens for the new action sequences. Still, while ripping action motifs are not a part of Prometheus, Streitenfeld replaces them as necessary with a sense of grandiose harmonic astonishment, building from the hopeful tones of Gregson-Williams' material to several statements of tonal awe that are not common in the franchise.

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The scope of the grand, accessible fantasy portions of Prometheus is more respectful and restrained than in Brian Tyler's seemingly intentionally over the top Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, endeavoring to achieve a feeling of mystery beyond all else. This approach clearly directs the themes for the film. Streitenfeld conjures three recurring themes for his score, the main identity related to the aspiring character of Gregson-Williams' mythology theme for the picture. Heard on lonely brass and oboe early in "A Planet," this primary theme is finally conveyed in full by strings at 1:25 into that cue. The first plaintive lines of this theme are heard throughout the score in hints, most notably in "Small Beginnings," though it does occasionally blossom in its more obvious form again, as in "Collision." The two secondary themes are also established in "A Planet" and reprised fully in "Collision." The minor-third rhythmic phrase for the alien threat, essentially the scary identity of the score, is introduced at 0:30 and expanded at 2:05 in "A Planet," likewise applied frequently as a background device in the score. Its use in "Going In," "Not Human," and "Birth" makes it, in some ways, the work's most memorable motif. The most interesting idea in Prometheus is Streitenfeld's final theme, arguably an interlude to the main theme that expresses the tragic gravity of the journey in the film. This noble interlude is expressed best at 1:42 on brass in "A Planet," massively at 0:16 in "Space Jockey," and twice in "Collision," transferring slightly to "Dazed" and other cues requiring a melodramatic touch. Gregson-Williams' theme seems somewhat redundant, its light choral majesty guiding similarly conceived cues by Streitenfeld. Officially credited with writing "Life" and "We Were Right" was Gregson-Williams, though his comparatively upbeat theme (recalling John Williams' Krypton opening from Superman in "Life") does venture into "Earth" and inform other Streitenfeld cues like the appropriately creepy "Weyland" and "Try Harder." Together, all of these themes form a surprisingly cohesive core for Prometheus, though don't expect the identities to really develop throughout the work in a way that will define a focused narrative. Therein lies the greatest weakness of this music; instead of building a clearly delineated foundation for perhaps another franchise of films, it instead relieves listeners because of what it is not and, in so doing, typically reminds of others' writing. Outside of the Alien universe, Streitenfeld even recalls the work of Marco Beltrami, especially with connections to I, Robot in "A Planet." The mass of sound design for the horror and suspense sequences is as disappointing as the somewhat limited action material, and a listener will need to rearrange the album experience to condense the melodic portions into a solid 15-minute presentation. Overall, it's an organic and melodramatic surprise, albeit a fragmented one. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 56:54

• 1. A Planet (2:37)
• 2. Going In (2:03)
• 3. Engineers (2:29)
• 4. Life* (2:30)
• 5. Weyland (2:04)
• 6. Discovery (2:32)
• 7. Not Human (1:49)
• 8. Too Close (3:20)
• 9. Try Harder (2:03)
• 10. David (3:00)
• 11. Hammerpede (2:42)
• 12. We Were Right* (2:42)
• 13. Earth (2:35)
• 14. Infected (1:56)
• 15. Hyper Sleep (2:01)
• 16. Small Beginnings (2:11)
• 17. Hello Mommy (2:04)
• 18. Friend From the Past** (1:14)
• 19. Dazed (4:29)
• 20. Space Jockey (1:29)
• 21. Collision (3:05)
• 22. Debris (0:44)
• 23. Planting the Seed (1:35)
• 24. Invitation (2:16)
• 25. Birth (1:24)

* composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
** contains music composed by Jerry Goldsmith

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film. The actual credits and thank you section of that insert does not recognize Harry Gregson-Williams in any way.

  All artwork and sound clips from Prometheus are Copyright © 2012, Sony Classical. 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 6/10/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.