Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Monday, May 15, 2006


Music by Michael Giacchino
Varese Sarabande VSD-6733 (EU)
21 Tracks 64:58 mins

If you'd have asked me who I would pick to direct another Mission: Impossible film, I'd have said Alias creator J.J. Abrams, so I was delighted to discover that this very man had been chosen for the latest outing for Tom Cruise's agent Ethan Hunt. I was equally delighted that his regular musical collaborator Michael Giacchino would be accompanying him, knowing what a fine job he would make of scoring the film, on the strength of his excellent scores for the Alias episodes and his mix of retro and modern for The Incredibles.
Well, the film has been critically very well received and seems to live up to my expectations, even if the antics of its star, as the press would lead you to believe, have somewhat damaged its box office receipts.
As for the music, well, I gather the score is pretty wall-to-wall and fortunately the album is of a generous length to give us a good sampling of it. In addition, the concluding track "Schifrin and variations" is something of a bonus, apparently a demo of what Giacchino proposed for the score, which must have been very well received as much of it is reproduced in the mix of action and stealth, with variations on Lalo Schifrin's unbeatable main theme, that is "Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall."
But going back to the start of the album and Giacchino gets us underway with a new, big orchestral version of the famous theme, but unlike previous composers for the first two filmic adventures, he then goes on to incorporate Schifrin's secondary theme "The Plot" into the following track "Factory Rescue," which is a splendid mix of action and suspense. "Evacuation" follows, an exciting, if a little episodic, action cue. "Helluvacopter Chase" is an even more exciting action cue, before things settle down with the mournful "Special Agent Lindsey Farris" and the tender, piano lead "Ethan and Julia." After the aforesaid "Humpty Dumpty," "Masking Agent" continues the excitement, but in stealthier mode, with forceful moments; followed by the tense and suspenseful "Voice Capture."
Schifrin's theme returns for "See You in the Sewer," whilst "Bridge Battle" starts off with a countdown before bursting into action. There's a wild percussive moment in the middle of "IMF Escape," with "The Chutist" another fine action cue with an exciting ending. "Hunting for Jules" continues the action, before things go off at a tangent somewhat.
Giacchino also collaborates with Abrams on the popular series Lost and the next couple of cues reflect the style he has brought to the scoring of those shows. "World's Worst Last 4 Minutes to Live" starts with a very typically Lost-like suspenseful build, before menacing percussion kicks in, followed by a tense mixture of action and stealth. "Reparations" also begins very Lost-like with a reflective piano solo, then another Lost-like orchestral build, before romantic strings lead into a statement of the Ethan and Julia love theme to conclude the score.
If box office receipts don't improve I should imagine this will be the last Mission: Impossible film, which is a shame now that the franchise has founds its perfect director-composer team.


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