This has been
quite a movie season thus far for fans of the summer blockbuster. Already,
Star Trek, and
Demons have touched down in theaters and May
isn't even over yet! The next "must-see" movie is the fourth installment in
the Terminator franchise, Salvation.
Along with a new director, Danny Elfman signed as the composer of the film,
making him the third to have worked on the series. While I'm always up for a
new take on an existing stories, I must say that I found the choice of
Elfman to be a curious one. I didn't think his style would be a match.
Regardless, the score is being released by Warner Bros. Records this May and
features 14 score cues and 1 song track by Alice in Chains. The makeup of
Elfman's material is a hybrid, merging electronic accompaniment with
orchestral elements. The sound quality is decent (though it sounded like the
orchestra was playing small at times).|
Here we have
another sequel (and arguably a reboot) that provides a great scoring
opportunity for a composer. Not only is there intense science fiction
elements to represent, there is also mankind's plight to stave off
extinction to hone in on with the music. If that's not enough ammunition,
there is also a main theme that has been embedded within pop culture for
decades that could be built on. So, to take one look at this package, one
might think that Elfman, with all his creative capabilities and reputation,
would deliver a highly original effort for Salvation. You'd be wrong. In fact, what I find most
original about this score is that Elfman elected to use a ukulele in it!
I won't say
that the music is terribly weak or difficult to listen to because it's
really not. It's just that this was scored as if Elfman was writing music
for a fairly routine action movie. In some ways, I can compare it to Michael
Giacchino's end result with the Star Trek
score (though Trek's music is more
entertaining) in that Elfman seems to have neglected to embrace, in full,
the musical spirit of the franchise.
entire listening engagement, I was waiting and waiting for the original
theme, in all of its mechanical and industrial glory, to erupt on the scene
in some new guise. This never happened. While true enough, Elfman did use a
bevy of electronic instruments to convey the man vs. machine concept, there
was never any sense of dread that resulted from it. By comparison, the
original Terminator theme would be
ever menacing, presenting a constant sense of fear and unease when heard.
Here, the electronic underscore simply passes by without evoking any sense
of white knuckle peril, at least for me. I'm not sure if this approach was
intentional so as to not overshadow the more dramatic angle of the story or
if it was a case of Elfman simply being unable to pull it off.
of themes... in Salvation, Elfman seems to have incorporated a fragment of
Brad Fiedel's original piece as his main theme for this story. It's more of
a simple, uncomplicated motif and it fails to make any type of significant
impact when heard. Again, better off calling on the original theme with more
of a complete reinterpretation instead of a strand of it. And let's face it,
wouldn't it have been memorable to hear the classic theme incorporated into
an orchestral framework?
In the end,
Terminator Salvation will close out May with a score that is as
disappointing as that of the other blockbusters that came out (Angels
and Demons excluded). The shift toward the
more human component in the score is appreciated but its overall impact is
slight. The darker side of the score also fails to deliver what was expected.
I actually think that Elfman's Planet of the Apes
would have been a better fit for T4
than what is presented here.