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

Monday, May 12, 2008


Iron Man
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Silva Screen SILCD1264 (UK)
19 Tracks 54:12 mins

Released next week (May 19th) in the UK is the soundtrack for the latest big screen incarnation of a Marvel superhero. Iron Man features the unlikely casting of Robert Downey Jr as the wealthy industrialist, turned crime fighter, Tony Stark. The film has only just been released in UK cinemas and is already earning big bucks, as well as critical praise.
Film music followers were expecting director Jon Favreau to call upon his regular composer of choice, John Debney, for his latest assignment, and were anticipating a blockbusting orchestral score. For whatever reason, the Hans Zimmer stable got the gig and, whilst the name on the box says Ramin Djawadi, already people are questioning as to the full extent of "score producer" Zimmer's involvement. Could it be another Pirates of the Caribbean?
The score is certainly straight out of the Remote Control school of scoring, mixing orchestral and electronic elements, though the strong heavy metal guitar vibe may well be down to Djawadi, who started out as a guitarist, I believe.
Some critics have dismissed the music out of hand, but I'm not averse to the Zimmer school, and must say that I find a great deal to enjoy in this soundtrack album. The cues are not presented in filmic order and indeed the album starts out with one of the exciting action pieces in the film, "Driving with the Top Down," which accompanies Iron Man as he plays tag with a pair of fighter planes. "Merchant of Death" is another highlight, a powerful piece, featuring big and bad guitar work, with industrial accompaniment. The largely suspenseful "Trinkets to Kill a Prince" follows, then more powerful, percussive action in "Mark 1" and the guitars-heavy "Fireman."
"Vacation's Over" has a sense of import to it, whilst "Golden Egg" starts lightly, then becomes an increasingly powerful march of doom. "Damn Kid" provides a techno interlude, before more guitars-driven heroics in "Mark II."
A more intimate moment arises in "Extra Dry, Extra Olives," possibly commenting on the employer-employee relationship between Star and Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts, which flirts with becoming much more. "Iron Man" starts out quite low-key, but the guitars take over for another big and bad conclusion, continuing on into "Gulmira."
After the reflective "Are Those Bullet Holes?" and the ethnic-tinged threat of "Section 16," the action-packed "Iron Monger" and "Arc Reaktor," bring the score tracks to an exciting close.
To conclude, if you are a fan of the Zimmer school of filmscoring, this is another for your collection. Nothing very original, but a competent, toe-tapping ride.
Making up the album's playing time are a big band jazz track by John O'Brien and Rick Boston, Jack Urbont's theme from the '60s animated Iron Man show, and a bonus track from Suicidal Tendencies. Thankfully, two of these are at the end of the disc, so do not detract from the score selections.


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