CD REVIEW - PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Walt Disney Records (no cat no available) (EU)
19 Tracks 66:29 mins
The latest big screen video game adaptation sees a buffed Jake Gylllenhaal take on the role of the Prince of Persia from the 2003 instalment The Sands of Time. He is ably supported by Gemma Arterton, Sir Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina.
Of course the brave thing to do would have been to have game composer Inon Zur write the music for the film too, but Disney have of course taken the safe option, having their Narnia Chronicles composer Harry Gregson-Williams compose the score. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, as I do have a lot of time for the composer and his work.
Naturally, there's an overall ethnic feel to Gregson-Williams' score, and this can be evidenced right from the start in the opening title track, which develops into a fine, propulsive and, at times, sweeping orchestral theme, driven by percussion and enhanced by choir, as well as ethnic instruments.
Of course, there's bound to be plenty of opportunity for exciting action scoring in a film based on a game, where action is obviously key, and Gregson-Williams doesn't disappoint, with the very next track, "Raid on Alamut" being the first of many such offerings, including "Dastan and Tamina Escape," "Ostrich Race," "Running from Sheik Amar," "The Oasis Ambush," "Hassassin Attack," The Passages," and "The Sands of Time." Throughout, whilst largely orchestral and percussive, the composer is not afraid to add electronics to the mix, as he has often done in past outings.
But it's not action all the way, and "Tamina Unveiled" offers some grandiose writing, as well as a touch of mystery and even romance, ending nicely with female choir. "The King and His Sons" presents strength and nobility early on, with a touch of delicate mystery to conclude. "Journey Through the Desert" is a mixed bag, with percussive and ethnic travel music largely dominating, but there's also quite a mournful moment early on. "Trusting Nizam" also goes through quite a bit of development, being at its best in the percussive travel music, but being largely a downbeat affair. This is followed by the menacing "Visions of Death," complete with its use of electric guitars. "So, You're Going to Help Me?" also has its menacing moments, but develops into a nice, flowing reprise of the main theme. "Return to Alamut" is another pretty mournful affair, though its does find some purpose at the end, with a big choral climax. There's a particularly inspiring opening to "No Ordinary Dagger," with things taking a grimmer turn as the track proceeds. The opening theme from before returns, nobly, at the start of "Destiny," before this final score track soars gloriously to an end.
You might like to give the last track on the disc a miss, though Alanis Morissette's "I Remain" is no added on song, but is actually drawn from the score - a rarity these days!
The album is available from retailers from 17th May, with the film released here in the UK on the 21st.