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Sunday, June 22, 2008


The Ice Pirates
Music by Bruce Broughton
Film Score Monthly Vol.11 No.5 (US)
22 Tracks 66:54 mins

The Ice Pirates was a low-budget lighthearted sci-fi adventure, directed by Stewart Rafill and released in 1984. The film has something of a TV movie feel, with even its stars, Robert Urich and Mary Crosby, drawn from that medium.
Having worked extensively in TV (including having written for sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), the film was an early big screen opportunity for Bruce Broughton. Having said that, with the limited music budget involved, it wouldn't really be until Silverado that Broughton could really show what he was capable of.
I saw the film many moons ago, and don't remember it with any fondness. Chaotic is a good word to describe it, due to editorial decisions, with Broughton's score suffering a similar fate.
His music is somewhat of a mixed bag, being very dated by the sound of a time, resulting in some pretty awful muzaky source music, as well as other beat-driven, rock/pop pieces, and with drum loops and early electronics to the fore. Other pieces are more conventionally orchestral, with a Star Warsy character, though hindered by the small orchestra, which was mostly devoid of strings; and often rock/pop elements intrude.
Ruunning throughout are Broughton's principal themes, the first, a fun, brassy and heroic main theme; the second, an irritating pop-styled theme for Urich's character; and the third, a somewhat melancholy synth-lead love theme
There are plenty of action sequences, though these are often played for laughs, with pure moments of slapstick here and there; but also more low-key, suspenseful moments. It really is a hybrid score, stylistically all over the place, sounding at times a lot like John Williams, particularly in the orchestral colours, but at others it often resembles the TV scoring styles of the times.
If you're looking for the Bruce Broughton of Silverado, Young Sherlock Holmes and Tombstone, you will find little of him here, but it's not an unpleasant listen and has it's fun moments.
The accompanying booklet is lavishly illustrated with stills and artwork from the film, and comes with detailed notes and cue-by-cue guide, courtesy of Alexander Kaplan. Go to to hear samples, and of course to order your copy.


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