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Sunday, June 10, 2007

CD REVIEW - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Music by Hans Zimmer
Walt Disney Records 395 7032 (EU)
13 Tracks 55:57 mins

The soundtrack album to the second film in this trilogy was somewhat of a disappointment, with too many dull moments and remixes, particularly compared with the consistently enjoyable album to the first Pirates film. The album for this third film, whilst still not as consistently brilliant as the first, comes pretty close and is certainly a great improvement on the second.
Zimmer and associates (all listed on the accompanying booklet, with the usual colourful pirate names) have pulled out all the stops with this one. We know we're in for a great ride from the very first track "Hoist the Colours," which starts out with a solo child's voice and is then taken up by male choir. This gives way to the Orientalisms of "Singapore, which bracket a fine action middle. "At World's End" goes through many moods in its eight-minute running time. There's mystery and suspense, followed by great passion, followed by music-box-like sadness, followed by a big instrumental variation on "Hoist the Colours," followed by some exciting action.
"Multiple Jacks" features kind of drunken comedy and some low-key percussion, leading to a powerful conclusion. "Up is Down" is an adventurous, spirited mover. "I See Dead People in Boats" is filled with sadness and mystery, with ghostly voices, swelling passionately and moving to a close. "The Brethren Court" features somewhat of a choral lament based on "Hoist," which is then taken up instrumentally. "Parlay" is a knowing nod towards the great showdown music composed by Ennio Morricone and many others for the Italian westerns of the '60s & '70s, and in particular "The Man with the Harmonica" from Once Upon a Time in the West. This is followed by the big, fateful choral "Calypso."
The remaining four tracks are played continuously and make for a tremendous ending to the album, starting with "What Shall We Die For," which builds to heroic heights, with a choral rendition of "Hoist." The following 10-minute track "I Don't Think Now is the Best Time" accompanies the huge battle in the maelstrom, and the first five minutes or so features some very powerful orchestral/choral writing, giving way to exciting action, where many of the themes from the series interplay. "One Day" brings a particularly heroic and proud conclusion to events, before the closing "Drink Up Me Hearties," ends things splendidly with stirring variations on the main themes.
The aforementioned booklet also features a personal memoir by Mark Wherry on the music for the trilogy, plus pages of colour stills from the film. It all makes for a nice package indeed.


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