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

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Wonder Woman
Music by Christopher Drake
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1115 (US)
22 Tracks 53:47 mins

I very much enjoyed last year's DC animation Wonder Woman, and what made the film even more enjoyable was the strength of its accompanying score. You all know by now that I am not a lover of synths & samples, but if a composer has as much talent as Christopher Drake, he can make something special out of these limited resources, as was definitely the case here.
Drake first caught my ear with his music for another DC animation, 2008's Batman: Gotham Knight, and he also scored the first two Hellboy animations and, with these and Wonder Woman as calling cards, it should surely be only a matter of time before he breaks into features.
The Wonder Woman score has been available for download for a little while now but, knowing this CD version was in the works, I have been waiting as patiently as possible for its release and, so it's great to finally have it in my CD player.
The film, boasting an impressive voice cast including Keri Russell, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen, Oliver Platt, Rosario Dawson and David McCallum, was produced by Bruce Timm, whose original vision of the score was something along the lines of that provided by Queen for Flash Gordon. Fortunately, composer Drake convinced him otherwise, with the aid of a demo he produced for the opening battle.
Although he produced several themes for the various characters, it is his theme for Diana that receives most development, evolving eventually into the full-blown Wonder Woman theme by the end. For the theme (and at other times in the score) he utilises a solo female voice, appropriately representing the all-female Amazons, as well as providing a spiritual quality where needed.
The disc gets underway with the near 9 minute "The Battle/Origins," a sequence that gets the score off to an epic start. Opening with said solo female voice, it quickly becomes big and epic with choir, synths and percussion blending in an exciting action cue, which ebbs and flows with the events on screen, and includes rhythmic conflict, a powerful dark march, and weighty choral moments; the solo female returning to lead the choir into the big finale. It's all very impressive.
The brief "Sparring" follows, with its Asian-styled percussive action, and then the suitably villainous"Ares Imprisoned. The two-part "Dog Fight" returns us to the action, with suitably martial-styled accompaniment, as Steve Trevor makes the scene, culminating in his "Crash Landing" and subsequent "Manhunt," with its pounding tribal percussion.
Fanfares and chimes open the action of "Let The Games Begin," with Ares' theme returning in more triumphant mode in "Persphone's Betrayal." It's back to the games with "Bracelets and Arrows," with more fanfarish music giving way to proud nobility, as Diana earns her right to accompany Trevor to the world of men. She is soon made only too aware of the dangers there in the initially threatening "Alley Thugs," though, of course, the threat soon peters out.
"Deimos" presents more powerful and menacing rhythmic action writing, and leads to "At the Gates of Tartarus," with its eerie opening giving way to more of Ares' dark villainy, culminating in a tense and somewhat frantic climax. "Cept Hemo Laudus" continues darkly, with "Hades" just about as dark and threatening as one could wish for. By contrast, "Ospendale and Ares Rally" opens hopefully, but soon descends into the darkness again, martial drums signalling the onset of "DC Battle," the film's other big action set-piece, where the Amazons battle the invading forces of evil, their menacing music dominating early events, before Diana's theme gradually emerges , though not without some poignancy representing the fallen. "Ares' End" again starts with evil dominant, but some desperate conflict leads to final triumph and a soaring rendition of Diana's Theme.
Two brief cues close the score, the ultimately sunny "She Misses Him" and the initially menacing, then triumphant "A New Nemesis," with the "End Titles" offering a splendid recap of the composer's main thematic material to close the album in fine style.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful booklet, lavishly illustrated with stills from the film, and featuring Dan Goldwasser's notes on the film and its music, with contributions from the composer.
Limited to just 1200 units, if you like your scores writ large and heroic, I would urge you to get along to Have a listen to the samples there if you have any doubts, and then snap up your copy before they are all gone.


Post a Comment

<< Home