Sony Classical (SK 89697)
Release Date: 2001
Conducted by Dirk Brossé
The London Symphony Orchestra
Music from this album has been used in 2 trailer(s). Click to view which ones!
Best of 2001: Best Soundtrack
|1.||The Spirit Within|
|2.||Race To Old New York|
|3.||The Phantom Plains|
|7.||Toccata And Dreamscapes|
|8.||Music For Dialogues|
|11.||Flight To the Wasteland|
|12.||A Child Recalled|
|13.||The Eighth Spirit|
|16.||Adagio And Transfiguration|
|17.||"The Dream Within" - Lara Fabian|
|18.||"Spirit dreams inside" - L'Arc-en-Ciel|
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|by Dan Goldwasser
June 21, 2004
It is a dismal future. Earth has been invaded by The Phantoms, alien life forms that steal your souls just by touching you. Survivors have been grouped in "barrier" cities, protected by an electronic force field. Dr. Aki Ross (voiced by Ming-Na) is working with Dr. Sid (voiced by Donald Sutherland) to prove their theory that the Earth indeed does have a Gaia life force, and stop General Hein (voiced by James Woods) from activating the Zeus Cannon to destroy the Phantoms, for fear it would in fact destroy Gaia. That's the basic premise of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. I won't give any more away, because it would probably detract from your enjoyment of the film. On a technical level, the film just blew me away; it was a truly impressive experience. But I didn't think that the humans (as amazingly detailed as they were) were "photo realistic". But it was a great film that felt inspired from many different sci-fi films, including elements of The Terminator, Aliens and Princess Mononoke. The score for this powerful film was written by the only person the producers thought could pull off the job: Elliot Goldenthal.
Goldenthal's score builds upon his previously established style of arpeggios, dissonance, harsh brass, strong themes, choir work, and sheer mountains of power. In this case, that power is attained by the London Symphony Orchestra - with no less than (reportedly) 16 French horns, and 8 trombones. The sound vast and (with the bass as loud as it is) will literally move you. There is a recurring dream sequence in the film, and the music is certainly otherworldly. "The Spirit Within" starts off with a choir that reminds me of György Ligeti's works. (In fact, Goldenthal indicates he uses a little of the Polish avant-garde orchestration techniques in the liner notes.) But the harsh brass and loud bass of the orchestra pounding out those chords is just exciting.
There are a few action cues on the album, including "Race to Old New York", "Code Red", and "Winged Serpent". The strong prevailing theme is heard in nearly every cue, and one of my favorites has to be "Blue Light". Starting off soft but tense with celli, it slowly builds until a release of sheer power suddenly comes out in the middle, with full orchestra, brass (oh, the brass!) and choir. I think I blew out one of my speakers! (Elliot, you'll get the bill shortly.) Parts of the score remind me of Alien 3 mixed with a bit of Interview with the Vampire. But not all of the score is action or heavy drama. There is a bit of romance, heard in a soft piano-based theme in "The Kiss", A Child Recalled" and "Adagio and Transformation". It's certainly one of the best scores hands down that I've heard this summer.
What modern-day soundtrack album would be complete without the obligatory song at the end? Not this one! "The Dream Within", performed by Lara Fabian, thankfully makes use of Goldenthal's romantic theme, and it ends up being a nice pop ballad. However, I didn't understand why "Spirit dreams inside", performed by L'Arc-en-Ciel is on the album. It's not that the song is bad, it's just that it feels completely out of place with the rest of the album. I don't remember this being in the film, but I could have been so completely absorbed by the visuals and Goldentha's score that I just missed it. Another bonus features is a CD-ROM segment of the soundtrack that (if you pop it in your computer) allows you to view the trailer for the new Final Fantasy X game. It would have been nice to actually have something relating to this film, but I guess it's a nice little treat for Final Fantasy fans.
This album is a definite "must-have" for your soundtrack collection, and if you aren't familiar with Goldenthal's work, you should give this one a go - you'll be a converted fan almost immediately.
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