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Comments about the soundtrack for Alien 3 (Elliot Goldenthal)

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• Posted by: Bob Jones   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2006, at 2:06 p.m.
• IP Address:

I cannot believe the blasting this guy has given Goldenthal's fantastic Alien 3 score! WTF, this score is amazing, its scarely the hell out of me. Quite ironic as the film itself (devoid of music) its pityful.

Let me address a few points if I may:

"What is so excruciating about this score is the fact that it follows two widely respected and effective scores in Alien and Aliens"

While I thoroughly enjoyed both scores, they are hardly works of musical genius. Alien, arguably the most highly regarded of the two, is little more than splicing together or quotations from the 20th century rep. While Goldsmith never makes direct quotes to my knowledge, it is quite clear where he has blatently copied the likes of Bartok (when Dallas is in the tunnel) and Holst (opening titles).

I love to listen to this score, but I certainly dont put it on any pedestals.

Horner's Alien's score was very good. It fit the movies well, I cant critise it to any great degree. But I would argue that the original reviewers critisisms coulde be equally applied to this score, regarding the preferance away from memorable thematic ideas (not that it is devoid of themes!).

"His music for the film, though, is thematically devoid (probably intentionally so) and often lacks any rhythm. It serves as simple sound effects for action and suspense cues in the film."

And this is a problem, why?

Goldenthal draws from practically every 20th century device in the book to create music of high tension and uncertainly. Imo, his use of the orchestral is amazing - he wields it with far more grace than many other composers in the genre who opt only for 'stock' effects.

Listen to the likes of Penderecki, Ligeti, Schoenberh, Webern, Shostakovich, Cage etc. You'll see that Goldenthal develops in this score is the pick of 20th century musical innovation. If you dont like that, cool. But PLEASE dont try to write off this score because it doesnt fit your 'diatonic' taste buds.

"One of the major pitfalls of this score is the fact that it isn't scary."

I would beg to differ. But as it is, you cant really make a claim like that based upon a single opinion.

"Mysteriously, Goldenthal waits until the very last track --Ripley's death scene-- to bring the orchestra together, lose the wavering brass, and bless the film with a seriously powerful and entertaining cue"

Mysteriously you say?

Do you think that the directors vision of Fury would be enhanced better by an entertaining tune?

I certainly dont, and clearly neither did Goldenthal (much to his credit).

Might I be pertinant and suggest that you learn wtf you are talking about before passing such comments?

" He takes a trombone, for instance, and has it blast away at the loudest possible volume while wavering between two or three notes, forcing it produce a shrill whine"


What, you mean like a trill?

Or maybe a flutter tongue articulation?

These are standard articulations used by practically every film composer to take up the pen.

I find it amusing that you choose to critise Goldenthal's orchestration, when it is by far the most important element of this entire score (and most successful I might add). During one cue he uses a special effect in the brass to represent the hacking and slashing of the creature on screen. This is just one example of Goldenthal's use of creative orchestration on this film.

Seriously mate, maybe you should stick rom-coms and kiddy adventures if you want pleasant little tunes, composed and orchestrated in typical 19th century styles? But if you are insistent of watching dark horror flicks, then be prepared to hear music a little further to the edge, captialising on atonality and aleatory.


Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  •   BS!  (3726 views)    We're Here
       Bob Jones - Wednesday, July 19, 2006, at 2:06 p.m.
    •    Re: BS!  (3727 views)
         choco - Tuesday, October 10, 2006, at 6:52 a.m.

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