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Thursday, May 25, 2006

CD REVIEW - X-Men III: The Last Stand + News from Costa Communications

XIII: The Last Stand
Music by John Powell
Varese Sarabande VSD-6732 (EU)
27 Tracks 61:38 mins

The scores for the first two X-Men movies, though effective enough on film, were not particularly memorable away from the action they supported. When I started analysing John Powell's score for this third outing, I was leaning towards the same conclusion. Many of the early tracks are quite brief and not particularly engaging, save for quite brief appearances by Powell's propulsive main theme and a menacing dark march for Magneto's forces, but things slowly start to change with the powerful "Dark Phoenix's Tragedy," concluding in the a capella female choir of "Farewell to X." Following this "The Funeral" starts suitably tragically, but then a lovely theme emerges. I haven't yet seen the film, but from the track titles it seems to me that it revolves largely around the Jean Grey character. Thought dead at the end of X-Men 2, she is resurrected in this movie as Dark Phoenix and, from its continued used throughout the remainder of the score, I am assuming this theme belongs to her, as does a powerful motif for female choir that presumably represents her awe-inspiring new powers.
Following "The Funeral," the score continues to improve over subsequent tracks, but really steps up a gear over the concluding tracks, which flow together as one continuous battle, featuring some powerful action writing for orchestra and choir, concluding with the truly wonderful "Phoenix Rises," which was so good it sent a shiver down my spine, and that doesn't often happen these days. The final track on this generous album (isn't it wonderful that Varese Sarabande are now able to issue such lengthy Hollywood-recorded scores these days?) features variations on the lovely Phoenix, as well as the main theme, which I would have loved to have heard more of throughout the score.
In conclusion, I would have to say that, as a separate listening experience, this is certainly the most enjoyable of the three X-Men scores so far, and I can't wait to see the film.

From Costa Communications


DW's first animated short debuts in front of #2 "Over the Hedge" in NY and

(Hollywood,CA) DreamWorks Animation has a new animated short film, "First
Flight," showing before this week's highest grossing animated film "Over the
Hedge" in New York and Los Angeles. Composer James Dooley provides the score for the film as he also provided additional music for the weekend's #1 blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code." Dooley's score CD for "When a Stranger
Calls," the first film to score more than $20 million on a Super Bowl
Weekend, was released last week in conjunction with the film's DVD debut.

This touching animated short about a man and a bird's first attempt at flight was written and directed by two longtime DreamWorks Animation veterans, Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson, "First Flight" is a computer-animated short film that tells the story of a fastidiously organized businessman, whose perspective on life is forever changed through an unexpected encounter with a tiny fledgling bird.

Dooley's recent credits also include DreamWorks' animated short "A Christmas
Caper" starring the penguins from the hit film "Madagascar," on which he previously teamed with Hans Zimmer. This short was seen in theatres this past fall before the Oscar winning claymation feature "Wallace and Grommit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" for which Dooley provides additional music.
Dooley also mixed and scored the new animated film, Urmel Aus Dem Eis, or
Impy's Island, as it will be known in the US. The film is based on a German children's book about a dinosaur that hatches in modern times on an island where animals learn to speak. Additionally, Dooley has scored some of the industry's most successful videogames including "Socom 3, US Navy SEALs," which he recorded at London's Air Lyndhurst Hall with a 70-piece orchestra.
Continuing in the series, Dooley has announced a deal to score "Socom 4."

James Dooley is a graduate of New York University where he majored in Music
Composition. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to study film composition with such composers as Christopher Young and Elmer Bernstein. He joined Media Ventures in 1999 and collaborated with Zimmer both as his Chief Technical Engineer and as a composer. In addition, Dooley has partnered with to donate the proceeds from sales of his "The Mars Underground" soundtrack to the Red Cross national disaster relief effort. "The Mars
Underground" is a landmark documentary about renowned aerospace scientist and visionary, Dr. Robert Zubrin quest for Mars exploration.


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