Fimucite 3: Jerry Goldsmith - 80th Birthday CelebrationVarese Sarabande Club (VCL 0511 1122)
Released: June 6, 2011
Formats: CD, Digital (54 min)
Review: Final Conflict: The Deluxe Edition, The
4.5 / 5 Stars
In what may have been the quickest turnaround for a film trilogy, 1981 saw the release of Graham Baker's The Final Conflict. Within five years, the blockbuster Fox trilogy had come and gone, and while the third film ended the series on a less-than-epic note, Jerry Goldsmith's score has been hailed as one of his masterpieces. Further additions to the series (in the form of a laughable telefilm) did not exactly further any hope for the series either. The finale of the third film feels rushed and tacked on, as if the filmmakers either ran out of money, or couldn't come up with anything substantial to close the film, while the main plotline is straight from the Ten Little Indians school of filmmaking. On the plus side, there are several above-average set pieces, a very good performance by Sam Neill as Damien Thorn, and of course, Jerry Goldsmith's sublime score. Curiously, Goldsmith continues to perform the renowned theme of the first film in concert, yet a well thought out concert suite of this score would be even better, and could properly showcase the maestro's talent in the epic arena.
Varese Sarabande pleased many fans when it was announced this would be reissued with remastered sound, and this new deluxe edition will not disappoint. The opening statement of Thorn's theme, heard on French horns, now roars forth from the speakers, gripping the listener right away. The initial recording, overseen by Len Engel, was distant, pinched, and murky. Everything is now balanced properly, with the electronics distributed better than before, and other elements, such as piano and winds making appearances that were missed previously. Goldsmith embarked on making each successive score larger than that which came before, and for this film he uses the largest assembly of The National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus to date, another facet of this album heretofore unheard.
The album also adds two new cues, and an additional 4:52 to the finale, totaling 12:03. "The Statue" is a chilling piece for bells and strings, which plays off the same atmosphere heard in Poltergeist. While this cue is nothing terribly exciting, it does play under a key monologue by Thorn in the film, and is welcome on this new recording. "666" opens with the cathedral bells, heard throughout the score, leading into more linear suspense scoring for strings. A quietly chilling piece, this is heard during the scene where Kate discovers the number of the beast on Thorn's head. Again, some of the string phrasing looks ahead to Poltergeist, and this cue is a worthy addition to the album. The added music to the finale consists mostly of transparent strings, bells, and the requisite shock effects, although the main theme is given a heavy, dirge-like reading that erupts into a blast of French horns. The best attribute of this new music is the long drone heard in violins, which builds unbearably into the glorious finale. By postponing this music for this period, it strengthens its eventual arrival, and makes an already powerful piece all the more so.
For longtime fans of the composer, this album is a must have, and may very well be the best Goldsmith album of last year. For those unfamiliar with the score, this is a great place to hear the composer writing large-scale orchestral/choral action ("The Ambassador", "The Blooding"), one of his most energetic scherzos ever ("The Hunt"), somber chamber-scaled atmosphere ("The Monastery", "Parted Hair") and one of the most magnificent finales of the art form ("The Final Conflict").
Varese's deluxe edition contains a terrific ten-page booklet of notes by Robert Townson, along with some color photos of the film. For the remastered sound, Erick Labson and Michael McDonald have outdone themselves, opening up this epic work into something that will sound new, even to those of us who have heard the original many times. A must for Goldsmith fans, this is one of the few 'epics' in the horror genre, and the closest Goldsmith has come to writing something of biblical proportions.
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