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Thursday, December 18, 2008


The Day The Earth Stood Still
Music by Tyler Bates
Varese Sarabande VSD 6938 (EU)
28 Tracks 52:58 mins

When will they ever learn to stop trying to remake classic films? This reimagining of the 1951 sci-fi classic concentrates on the threat to the evironment, rather than the nuclear threat posed in the original, which is a good idea, but doomed to failure, at least from the reviews I've read thus far. So many of these reimaginings (remakes) go the same way, due to the fact that, try as they might, if the original is a classic, they just can't compete. Much better to take a flawed film and try to make a good new version of it, I would have thought.
I've got a lot of time for Tyler Bates and have enjoyed his recent efforts, 300 and Doomsday, but again he's on bit of a loser here, as Bernard Herrmann's score for the original, with its groundbreaking use of electronics, is simply one of the best film scores ever written. Of course, Bates uses electronics (including the famous Theremin) here too, and why wouldn't he? He also utilises the talents of the Hollywood Studio Symphony, the Hollywood Film Chorale, solo vocalist Nan Vernon and a large battery of percussion, so it's big, but big isn't always better.
Having said that, it's still a decent effort, with the opening "Stars" and "Mountain Climber" suitably full of awe and wonder, and "National Security" is propulsive and exciting, whilst the brief "This is not an Exercise" is full of military might. Plenty more action can be found in the likes of"Military Approach;" "You Should Let me Go;" "Fighter Drones;""Helen Drives;" "Helicopter Collision;" and the trio of joined cues "Distress," "Wrong Place Wrong Time," and "Aphid Reign."
Contrast this with the odd quiet moment, like the delicate piano of "I'm Staying" and "Cemetery;" and the earnest synths of "See My Son;" and there's more choral awe to be found in "Orb Rising - The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "He's Leaving."
For the remainder of the score, the composer comes up with plenty of tension, menace and mystery with the help of some positively alien electronic sounds.


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