FINAL FANTASY CD Soundtrack Review

Coressel

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 26, 1999
Messages
699
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.
 

Mike_G

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
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1,477
Real Name
Mike
Coressel,
You're dead-on about the orchestral part, but please understand that EVERY Final Fantasy game has a song attached to it. It may seem "out of place" to someone that knows nothing about FF, but it's right at home with the fans.
Mike
 

Coressel

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 26, 1999
Messages
699
Thanks for that clarification. I know nothing about Final Fantasy, so the songs just sounded trendy to me at first.
I am very interested in seeing the film, though.
 

teapot2001

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 20, 1999
Messages
3,649
Real Name
Thi
I've heard a clip of the L'arc En Ciel song, and I have to say that it seems out of place.
~T
 

Mike_G

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
Messages
1,477
Real Name
Mike
Yes, that last song is unnecessary, but the ballad is perfect FF.
Mike
 

Joe D

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 21, 1999
Messages
838
I have one question. Why didn't they get the guy that does all the game soundtracks to do the movie soundtrack??? The music in Final Fantasy is always top notch, so I don't understand why they would want someone else to do it?
------------------
Joe Dahlen
"Take hold of the flame, you've got nothing to lose, but everything to gain."
 

teapot2001

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 20, 1999
Messages
3,649
Real Name
Thi
I read somewhere that Uematsu was busy composing for the games and felt he was burned out.
~T
 

Joe D

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 21, 1999
Messages
838
Thi,
Thanks for the info. It would be mad to not get this guy if he was available. I love the opening credits to FF3, when the 3 walkers are walking to the Esper.
------------------
Joe Dahlen
"Take hold of the flame, you've got nothing to lose, but everything to gain."
 

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