Domo Records (73003-2)
Release Date: 2002
Conducted by Katsuaki Nakatani
Metropolitan Queens Orchestra
|4.||Going to "Zone"|
|7.||Three-Faces of "Zone"|
|11.||St. James INfirmary|
|20.||There'll Never Be Good-Bye|
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|by Brian Costa
June 24, 2004
In 1927, writer/director Fritz Lang gave silent moviegoers a brilliant vision of the future with his classic film, Metropolis. In the film, two groups of people live within the city. "The Thinkers" live above ground, and run the city while "the workers", who live beneath the city, produce what the "thinkers" want. Eventually, at the end of the film a revolt happens, and then the two societies come together and all is "right" with the world. Last year, Japanese director Tarô Rin revisited the story of Metropolis through the beautiful art of modern Japanese animation. Based on the popular manga series by Osamu Tezuka (who, I'm assuming took the idea from Fritz Lang) the movie has most - of not all - of the same qualities of the Fritz Lang version, except Tezuka's two groups are humans who live in the upper world, and robots that live underground. In this version, one of the main characters, Kenichi, falls in love with the cyborg, Tima. With other sci-fi stories coming to mind (such as Blade Runner), this new re-imagining of Metropolis is an exceptional and visual feast. The images and colors tease the eye and are brilliant to watch. Composer Toshiyuki Honda wrote the very imaginative score to accompany this film and its visuals.
To its credit, the score is very upbeat. The first track, "Metropolis" is a jazz-based main title that really caught me off guard. This main theme is heard again in "Sympathy". Primarily performed on the piano, this rendition is very nice, and more enjoyable than its jazzy counterpart. We get into the darker aspects of the score right after the first track, and it is more reflective of the emotions in the film, and follows the storyline. Feelings of sadness, anger and fear all make their way into these tracks. Then we have the chase music. These are very odd tracks, but the music works effectively in film, and doesn't really work on CD. Filled with a lot of random horns and jazzy elements, the tempo climbs throughout the tracks until the end.
That said, though, the score works great in the film. While some cues (mostly the jazzy ones and the last 20 minutes of the film) felt out of place with what is happening on screen, it still worked really well. With all the crazy visuals, you need a crazy score to go with it and Honda does it well. One thing I really liked about the score in the film was that he captured the love of Tima and Kenichi, two different worlds working together, in a masterful stroke.
I think what annoyed me the most about this CD was the jazzy elements - but if a feeling of celebration was what the filmmakers wanted, then a throwback to the parties of the 1920s was certainly the way to go. Fans of Anime scores like Akira, Princess Mononoke and Ghost in the Shell might find this score to be a bit different than what they'd expect.. For anyone that loves jazz music, I'd say go for it, but you might want to see the film before you buy! This score works great in the film, but works out poorly on CD with the exception of a few tracks.
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