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Section Header
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Composed and Co-Produced by:
Steve Jablonsky

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith
Gavin Greenaway

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Walter Fowler
Yvonne S. Moriarty
Rick Giovinazzo
Kevin Kaska
Ed Neumeister
Penka Kouneva

Co-Produced by:
Alex Gibson

Reprise Records

Release Date:
June 24th, 2011

Also See:
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The Island

Audio Clips:
2. Sentinel Prime (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

11. Shockwave's Revenge (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. It's Our Fight (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

17. Our Final Hope (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Commercial download release only, available at initially unreasonable prices of $14 to $16. A CD offering with identical contents was originally planned and advertised, but delays in the CD album's approval caused it to be delayed indefinitely.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon

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Buy it... if you love hearing brute Hans Zimmer hybrid action scores and other related music regurgitated by his Remote Control associates, even if such arrangements border on plagiarism.

Avoid it... if you expect full development of either the guilty pleasure anthems from the first score in the franchise or the smooth, easy-listening portions of the second, both mostly absent from the album for this incohesive and unsatisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: (Steve Jablonsky) A few constants have come to define the Michael Bay-directed franchise of live-action Tranformers films. First, you still won't visually recognize any of the robots easily if you were a fan of the 1980's show and its associated Hasbro toy line. Secondly, the script won't make a whole lot of sense if you try to compare its arc to that of the original concept, either. Third, footage from prior Bay films will be incorporated for a myriad of reasons. Fourth, revered critics will pound the film with overwhelmingly negative reviews that dismiss the endeavor as juvenile and incomprehensible. Fifth, audiences will flock to the movie anyway, making it a huge box office success domestically and worldwide. Altogether, once the premise was rebooted in 2007, you knew what to expect from its sequels, and nothing about 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon will surprise eager audiences. After the substantial script issues with 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, at least Dark of the Moon had a better organized plotline from the start. It opens and closes many doors about the history of the machines and their Cybertron homeworld, though because of Bay's lack of interest in making another sequel in the franchise, many of the major characters are destroyed and the overarching franchise storyline is largely concluded by this entry. These films remain brainless entertainment made incomprehensible by the devastation of the concept's original water-tight mythos and, of course, Bay's often impossible shooting style. It's no surprise that Hans Zimmer spin-off composer Steve Jablonsky has been along for the ride in this trilogy rather than really making much of an impact on its artistic trajectory. He's become the ultimate laid-back yes-man for Bay, even writing generic library music during production for the director to play with and insert into the third film wherever he wished. Fortunately for the composer, the production schedule for Dark of the Moon was far friendlier than on the previous entry, allowing him to ultimately write over two hours of music for the densely-scored film (no additional composers are credited on the release, but they reportedly were employed). Because of Bay's ridiculously choppy style of shooting, Jablonsky mostly disregarded writing a score significantly tailored to synchronization points in the movie, instead simply serving as an ambient pace-setting device.

By instruction of the director, Jablonsky also took a darker, weightier approach to Dark of the Moon, leaving behind the prior heroism and comedy in favor of a serious tone that gives electronics an enhanced role over the orchestra. Grittier synthetic effects, distorted electric guitars, and mutilated samples are the prime order of the day this time around, though Jablonsky still believed that an orchestra consisting of only strings and brass was necessary to give the score the clout expected of a blockbuster. An excess of the deepest base pounding possible is evident in Dark of the Moon, Jablonsky even instructing a baritone guitar to strike the lowest, most aggressive note possible for a specific effect. In general, the demeanor of Zimmer's material in The Dark Knight is what results, and fans of the more seasoned composer will hear significant similarities between Dark of the Moon and several of his works. It's not surprising that Jablonsky is once again overshadowed by Linkin Park, whose songs have become the primary musical identities for each film in this franchise as far as mainstream audiences are concerned. That identity this time is "Iridescent," an appropriately somber rock song that is not surprisingly more poignant and original than anything conjured by Jablonsky for Dark of the Moon. The first score in the franchise established a general heroic atmosphere with typical Remote Control-style anthems that appeal heavily to the guilty pleasure senses of younger film score collectors. The second score served as an easy-listening, pseudo-new age album that was about as simplistic as could be imagined, but it did little to impress those same collectors. The third time around, neither the anthems nor the melodramatic vocals are a factor. What you hear referencing these elements in the film is music simply tracked in from the prior movies' recordings, and none of that material is smartly integrated into the new composition. Instead, the collectors will be horrified by how Jablonsky apparently used all his extra writing time on this installment: copying the temp track. It's not the first time the composer has written music that was blatantly informed by prior works; The Island was a potpourri of popular Zimmer music only slightly rearranged. As mentioned before, The Dark Knight was a clear template for Dark of the Moon, though a fair amount of inspiration from Inception can also be heard in the instrumental applications and more brutal action rhythms as well.

Unfortunately, Jablonsky's approach to Dark of the Moon is so fragmented that there is practically no overarching narrative in the score, each cue handled with a different motific base and no subtlety of foreshadowing or reminiscence adequately developed with what cohesive ideas are presented. There are plenty of references to phrases of the past themes and their associated chord progressions in the score, but no really convincing maturation or sense of resolution. This technique is immediately heard on album in "Dark Side of the Moon," a cue that hints at the franchise's past without actually serving any intelligent emotive purpose. Zimmer fans will be offered a blatant reference to The Last Samurai in "Sentinel Prime." Non-descript suspense ambience in "Lost Signal" and "In Time You'll See" references Zimmer scores as far back as Crimson Tide, especially in the last minute of the latter cue. A tepid throwback to the style of the original Sam Witwicky theme slows the score to a sudden halt in "Impress Me," the one light-hearted track on the album. In "We Were Gods Once," audiences are treated to the ultimate in the Hans Zimmer/Remote Control handbook of impressing testosterone-overflowing directors: massively deep brass whole notes. This technique extends into "Battle," which applies these overemphasized notes in a juvenile minor-key series of crescendos that is most definitely from the Inception mould. Light keyboarding and guitar performances of pieces of the famous "Arrival to Earth" and Optimus Prime themes in "There is No Plan" is comparatively pleasing though not as satisfying as hoped. The duo of "We All Work for the Decepticons" and "The Fight Will Be Your Own" is what could be termed "heroic easy-listening tragedy," a musical concept from the Armageddon era. The latter cue introduces the usual Martin Tillmann electric cello performances that define much of the second half of the score and meanders through progressions informed not only by prior anthems in the franchise but also Trevor Rabin's Deep Blue Sea. Concept enthusiasts will adore the return of the deep piano thuds in the bass on each measure. Unfortunately, "Shockwave's Revenge" teaches us that Jablonsky most likely copied the massively broad, deep brass whole notes from Zimmer to apply as an identity for the lead villain in this installment, and the brute blasting in that cue has to yield among the dumbest pieces of action music (literally brainless drivel) to ever accompany one of these modern blockbusters. Every time you think that the Remote Control music factory has written the most primordial blasts of noise possible, someone makes one even worse.

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After the somewhat nebulous atmosphere of "No Prisoners, Only Trophies" and more Crimson Tide rhythmic samples and mid-range brass in "The World Needs You Now," Jablonsky commits outright plagiarism in the middle of "It's Our Fight." In between a continuation of the groaning bass thuds (which in this cue seem to include the baritone guitar), Jablonsky inserts a discordant sequence from 1:17 to 2:17 that is suspiciously similar to the Zack Hemsey track "Mind Heist" used famously in the trailers for Inception. Using the word "suspiciously" is being kind, for the similarities, while not exactly as outrageous as the plagiarism that Tyler Bates committed in 300, will be extremely obvious even to music novices. Non-descript bass droning with a generic choral interlude in "I'm Just the Messenger" thankfully closes out the action pounding in Dark of the Moon, a more stoic variation of the electric cello, standard ostinatos, and double-stuck thumps touching upon the original score's optimism in "I Promise." Pleasing treatment of the Autobots thematic material closes out the album in "Our Final Hope," though not with the same scope of gravity heard in the previous scores. Altogether, the album presents an inconsistent and unsatisfying conclusion to this trilogy of scores. Fans expecting to hear the vintage 1980's theme will come away disappointed once again, though it should be mentioned that some of its progressions were added as an overlay to the instrumental versions of "Iridescent" used as the love theme in the movie. None of that music is heard on the album, however, and nothing really positive can be said about that product for a plethora of reasons. The CD release of the hour-long album assembly was, according to Jablonsky, delayed while waiting for Bay's approval, and Paramount ultimately yanked the product so that it could be released instead during the movie's DVD debut later in 2011. The download options from iTunes and were extraordinarily over-priced, too, the iTunes store seeking a whopping $16 for the score. The composer has assured fans, however, that the lossless CD version will eventually be made available, and there have even been hints from other sources that some kind of expanded, perhaps limited special edition with even more music from this score (or all three in the franchise) will follow. All of this information assumes that you care about this music at the very least, and Jablonsky unfortunately continues to appeal to the lowest common dominator by writing these droning, simplistic scores for Bay. The composer basically did his job, and the music matches the stupidity of the concept's live-action mutilation, but if you want to hear regurgitated Zimmer music once again, then get it from all of the scores in which Zimmer rearranges it himself. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.47 Stars
Smart Average: 2.63 Stars*
***** 84 
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   FVSR Reviews Transformers 3
  Brendan Cochran -- 8/12/14 (10:22 p.m.)
   Amazing soundtrack
  cenzo74 -- 6/4/13 (3:08 p.m.)
   Re: I detect a bit of The Last Samurai in t...
  Mr Wonderful -- 8/9/11 (12:13 a.m.)
   I detect a bit of The Last Samurai in there
  Gashoe13 -- 8/5/11 (7:54 a.m.)
   Mind Heist
  Michael Björk -- 7/26/11 (6:32 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 59:48

• 1. Dark Side of the Moon (3:49)
• 2. Sentinel Prime (3:16)
• 3. Lost Signal (4:08)
• 4. In Time You'll See (3:16)
• 5. Impress Me (3:00)
• 6. We Were Gods Once (4:22)
• 7. Battle (3:40)
• 8. There is No Plan (3:36)
• 9. We All Work For the Decepticons (1:51)
• 10. The Fight Will Be Your Own (4:41)
• 11. Shockwave's Revenge (2:00)
• 12. No Prisoners, Only Trophies (3:32)
• 13. The World Needs You Now (1:59)
• 14. It's Our Fight (6:32)
• 15. I'm Just the Messenger (4:25)
• 16. I Promise (1:58)
• 17. Our Final Hope (3:42)

 Notes and Quotes:  

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

  All artwork and sound clips from Transformers: Dark of the Moon are Copyright © 2011, Reprise Records. 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 7/13/11 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2011-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.