I got the CD soundtrack to the upcoming movie "Final Fantasy" today and just finished listening to it. The music is by Elliot Goldenthal, who scored Julie Taymor's brilliant film "Titus," and the performance is by the London Symphony Orchestra. This is a HUGE film score! There are some amazing and suprisingly modern orchestral noises as well as a few delicate and lyrical passages throughout the 56 minute CD. Goldenthal is heavy on brass and percussion, saving the strings for more than just pretty symphonic tunes. This makes for a serious stand-alone contemporary work. Whereas John Williams seems drawn to Wagner or Korngold, Goldenthal is influenced more by Stravinsky and Bartok. There is no John Williams safety net, nor any James Horner shallowness here. There are a few nods to Bernard Herrmann and even the prickly, pulsating strings of Penderecki (listen to the music in The Shining and you'll know what I'm talking about). One particular track titled "Toccata and Dreamscapes" gave me the impression of Herrmann being attacked in the shower by a dagger-weilding Charles Ives. Other sections have a spiraling minimalist feel, like Philip Glass or Michael Nyman possessed by a melody. From extreme crashing cords, the music gradually calms down near the end. There is a haunting keyboard piece ("A Child Recalled," I don't know if that means a character has a flashback or if they return their unruly A.I. Mecha). Another track, "Dead Rain," begins with an almost synthetic techno-beat which then builds to a full orchestral climax. "Adagio and Transfiguration" is the opposite of the previous "Toccata and Dreamscapes" section, ending the score on a more peaceful note. I can't wait to see how all this music fits into the movie, which until now I had no deep desire to see. My only complaint about the CD is that there are two seemingly out-of-place pop/rock songs at the end. "The Dream Within" and "Spirit Dreams Inside" almost ruined an otherwise deep sonic experience for me. Why does every movie have to have some hokey song over the credits? All this does is date the film a month after its release. Other than that, it is a great soundtrack that dares to be modern and dissonant and does not fall into the usual generic confines of most of today's Hollywood slush.