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Section Header
Tomb Raider
Composed and Produced by:
Graeme Revell

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Rick Wentworth

Co-Orchestrated by:
Nick Ingram
John Bell
James Shearman
David Arch
Kevin Townsend

Elektra Entertainment

Release Date:
June 26th, 2001

Also See:
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Red Planet
The Saint
The Negotiator

Audio Clips:
1. Tomb Raider Main Titles (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

6. Home Invasion (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

8. The Letter (0:29):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (224K)
Real Audio (139K)

14. The Planetary Alignment (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Regular U.S. release. A song compilation album was released at the same time as the film's debut in the theatres.


Tomb Raider
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Sales Rank: 104850

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Buy it... if unorganized music consisting of screeching, pounding, and grating sound effects pumps you up as much as seeing Angelina Jolie writhe around in the title role.

Avoid it... if you take the Graeme Revell for his word, because this is one of the rare occasions in which a composer has apologized to his collectors for providing such a poor listening experience.

Tomb Raider: (Graeme Revell) Despite boasting a supposedly perfect formula of over-marketing a film rendition of a popular video game, the 2001 adaptation of Tomb Raider fizzled after only modest gains. Repulsive to critics, the endeavor still managed to unite Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight into the same picture (with the sex appeal of the former gaining steam by this point in her career), and a green light was given for a 2003 follow-up. Perhaps the somewhat unenergetic initial response to this film was due to its frantic rearrangements made in post-production, a time when the studio was concentrating more on sport utility vehicle and cellular phone tie-ins with the concept rather than the tidy completion of the film itself. No less of a mess was the situation with the music for Tomb Raider. While a compilation of songs was a mandatory event for the album coordinators to plan well in advance, the composition of the original score was an abhorrent miscalculation from the start. This was mostly due to inactions and poor communication by the producers of the film. First, they hired video game composer Nathan McCree for the job, which is not surprising, though they eventually decided that a feature length film needed a feature-name composer. So they hired Michael Kamen, despite the fact that his score for the similarly cult X-Men the previous year failed to arouse the interest of many of the concept's followers. Kamen wrote and submitted a demo for Tomb Raider, but no feedback on that music was returned by the director or producers. Only during the process of recording a second demo did Kamen finally hear back from the Tomb Raider team, and by then, the lack of enthusiasm for the relationship on both sides caused Kamen to seek other projects that were more promising to him (namely, the HBO show Band of Brothers, requiring 10 hours of music). Thus, the producers of Tomb Raider created the circumstances of their own panic and were forced to hire another composer at the very last minute. The fact that any score was produced for Tomb Raider at all, with its June screen date approaching with just a couple of weeks to spare, is impressive. The poor man hired for the tortured, last minute assignment was Graeme Revell.

Why Revell took the job is beyond understanding, other than the fact that the movie promised to be somewhat cool in concept before the public discovered otherwise. The composer certainly had many other interesting projects upcoming, including one that promised to reunite him with Red Planet partner Emma Shapplin later in the year. Revell was given only ten days to score and record Tomb Raider (some reports placed that number at 12, but in either case, it was an insanely short amount of time for any project requiring an orchestra). Instead of the 90+ piece orchestra best suited for a production of this magnitude (Revell would argue otherwise, perhaps just being modest when he claimed that orchestral bombast would have been inappropriate for Tomb Raider), the composer was given a London performing group of 65 for only part of the score, immediately causing a larger portion of the work to rely upon electronics. In his favor, however, was the contracting of a 50 member choir, as well as his comfort level in taking a more synthetic approach to the film from the start. So fast paced was the composition and recording of his music that Revell never stepped within a thousand miles of the performing group, writing from the United States and sending the music to London, where his team of associates (one of which being his own brother) would record it and send it back over the internet for him to approve. Such methods in scoring were occurring more often than not by the 2001's, and unfortunately, too many composers resolve themselves to being unhappy with the resulting final product. In a rare event, Revell actually issued a public apology to his fans for the lesser quality of his score for Tomb Raider (presumably in comparison to his other scores, which have usually proven at least interesting, if nothing else). He stated on his own website that the album release from Elektra is seriously flawed, with tracks mislabeled and the quality of music generally subpar. He recognized that the time factor was too "prohibitive," and specifically apologized to fans for the poor listening experience. Revell should have been commended for getting any score done at all, earning a paycheck in the process, and it was perhaps good fortune that the movie wasn't terribly good anyways.

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Revell shouldn't have apologized because the music is intolerably bad, but rather because it is simply as nondescript as ten days of composing would entail. Unlike his just-previous Red Planet, which remains one of the most provocative scores of his career, Tomb Raider is one of the least interesting scores of the entire decade. Outside of about five minutes of inspired electronic and choral combinations, the score is awash with simplistic rhythms, extended minimalistic meandering on electronics, and no thematic development worth speaking of. Its robotic textures are the main feature, and with some of them intolerable in their grating and slapping tones, they can't sustain the album. In general, while the electronics work well enough to create a basic atmosphere, there are several cues that are so harsh with electronic disharmony and pounding rhythms in their entirety that they cannot be tolerated. The opening main title cue is by far the lone highlight (perhaps composed first by Revell, when he still had some decent sleep), however this enjoyable choral-accented piece is only two minutes long and bleeds into less engaging material by its end. Because the music was recorded in London, a somewhat lengthy score album was made financially possible. The 49-minute product was a disastrous affair for Revell, who attempted to have the CD stopped just before pressing in order to correct the Elektra's erroneous titles of the tracks. But the pressing had already begun and the mislabeled products are what fans found on the shelves. As Revell himself suggests, the Tomb Raider album is definitely not the best representation of his talents. The production quality of the album is sparse, matching the content of the music. Revell has been known to take underdeveloped ideas from previous scores which did not receive the best of treatment and incorporate them into his larger and better works at a later date. The title sequence of Tomb Raider shows a glimpse of something that could have been very entertaining had Revell been able to record it with a fuller orchestra and chorus after a decent amount of development time. As it stands, you have to give credit to him for getting anything done in this situation, but the album cannot escape the circumstances which led to 45 minutes of bland and uninspiring material. The film and score are best forgotten, though some redemption came with Alan Silvestri's much stronger music for the 2003 sequel. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Graeme Revell reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.74 (in 19 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 2.72 (in 15,558 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 1.88 Stars
Smart Average: 2.11 Stars*
***** 122 
**** 118 
*** 151 
** 533 
* 979 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: To the composer of this review
  Richard Kleiner -- 12/2/09 (8:18 p.m.)
   To the composer of this review
  CC -- 11/18/09 (9:12 a.m.)
   help me find a song from the first movie
  stratospheres -- 12/16/07 (10:25 a.m.)
   Re: Where Can I Get Tomb Raider 2 Game Musi...
  Tarah -- 11/8/07 (12:18 p.m.)
   Re: Soundtrack-Help me find this song.........
  Emsie -- 7/16/07 (11:20 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 49:03

• 1. Tomb Raider Main Titles (3:14)
• 2. Lara Croft at Home (2:13)
• 3. Powell and the Illuminati (2:58)
• 4. Lara Dreams of her Father (1:46)
• 5. The Clock (3:01)
• 6. Home Invasion (3:59)
• 7. Alex West and Mr. Wilson (4:05)
• 8. The Letter (1:25)
• 9. Journey to Cambodia (1:59)
• 10. Angkor Wat (7:36)
• 11. Lara Battles Stone Monkeys (3:32)
• 12. The Brahman (1:31)
• 13. Siberia (2:52)
• 14. The Planetary Alignment (5:08)
• 15. Lara Defeats Powell (3:38)

(The packaging's listings are erroneous. The first track is actually "Tomb Raider Main Titles" and "Lara Croft at Home" together, with each following title moved up one track until #10, which should be titled "Deep in the Temple.")

 Notes and Quotes:  

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

  All artwork and sound clips from Tomb Raider are Copyright © 2001, Elektra Entertainment. 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 7/17/01 and last updated 1/20/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2001-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.