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Review of Air Force One score on Amazon.com:

I love the opening fanfare for Air Force One, and my girlfriend says that hearing it gives her proud shivers up and down her spine; and we both enjoy Harrison Ford's movies very much. The quality of this CD, however, suffers for one important reason: Jerry Goldsmith.

Goldsmith already has quite a bit of recognition for his themes for several Star Trek movies and TV shows, but in lots of ways the music for "Air Force One" doesn't sound strong enough for the action in the film. In my honest opinion, when it comes to action/adventure films, sometimes there are things that synthesizers can do better than full orchestras. (The other way around is also true.)

The fact that Goldsmith used a full orchestra here tends to make this CD sound artificial to me, as though the tracks were hastily crammed together in some spots. When I listen to the "Hijacking" track, for instance, I can't help but wonder what we would have heard if someone like Hans Zimmer or James Newton Howard had worked on it. At least that way you wouldn't have the string section trying so hard to sound like pulsating synthesizers under the gunfire.(Goldsmith does, however, make effective use of the piano on the "Empty Rooms" track.) So while the premise of the score is laudable and it sounds great in the movie, the CD doesn't quite hit the mark by itself.

Now I'd be the first person to say Hans Zimmer's action music is excellent for straight up action...but...I mean..come on. What sets the Hijacking apart from 99% of the action music by Hans Zimmer is the great range within an otherwise simple repetitive structure. While Zimmer, and even JNH (who I also claim to be the second greatest living composer) a good deal of the time , stick to low/boomy sounds mixed with something in the mid-range. The fact that high-squeaky strings can so sound heart-pumping is an achievement in this day and age of its own. It's a movie about an airplane, and the orchestra, literally flies. Something that no synthesizer or sound sample has been capable of doing, ever. See Pearl Harbor.

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The Hijacking, while faily simple in structure is a fantastically propulsive piece.

It also has a far stronger narrative then Zimmer's action music, which lives purely in the moment.

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What a twat.

As far as I'm concerned, the only time synths should be used are if the budget doesn't allow or the film doesn't call for it - an example being Erin Brockovich, which Clemmenson at Filmtracks absolutely blasts, but the film had an intimacy and character orientation that just didn't call for anything more than synths, with the majority of the film being unscored anyway.

Air Force One flippin' well calls for a real pulsating orchestra, not a Zimmer wall of sound.

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Like those comments saying 'warning: this CD doesn't contain the actual songs used in the movie, just the classical incidental stuff'

*THWAAAPPPPP*

Edit - talk of the devil...

I bought this CD for basically two songs, the "Merry Men" song and the "Welcome to Duloc" song. They are both fun and in total about a minute and 30 seconds. They could easily fit on the first soundtrack CD. The instrumentals which are the other parts of the movie are ok to, but they work better when there is a picture to go with them :-).

(referring to the Shrek score CD)

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I'm reading through this guy's other reviews. Here's his take on U.S. Marshalls:

After my disappointment with Jerry Goldsmith's score for "Air Force One", I have come to the conclusion that he goes above and beyond making up for it with "U.S. Marshals." He really does a wonderful job here. While not an official sequel to "The Fugitive", the movie heralds Tommy Lee Jones's return as Sam Gerard, and we get to see, in a spine-tingling and sometimes rib-tickling manner, if he's learned anything from his run-in with Harrison Ford five years before, as Gerard goes after Wesley Snipes.

Although Goldsmith continues his long-standing tradition of using a complete orchestra without any synthesizers, this CD comes about as close to James Newton Howard's "Fugitive" score that it can get while maintaining an identity of its own. The suspenseful sequences that make the "Fugitive" album so appealing to me are all here, as is a similar thematic trumpet solo that chimes in every now and then. I'm amazed at how enjoyable this score is to listen to.

:) And this is his review of M:I-2

I went into MI2 at the theater and didn't expect all that much, since I thought the first Mission Impossible was a big disappointment, not only because of the story but because of Danny Elfman's score.

MI2, however, took me on a roller coaster ride and didn't let me off until 2 hours later! This CD has just about everything you'd expect from a Hans Zimmer score, with music that grabs hold of you from the minute you push PLAY on your CD player! Way to go, Hans!

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Is Benjamin Riddle now the patsy for all people who love Zimmerian composition and hold it nearer and dearer to their heart than a more traditional Goldsmith style?

His review of this score came right around the time that Gladiator came out, which was still years before Zimmer's scores to Pirates of the Caribbean became blockbusters in the record shops, but is still indicative of a great many people's attitudes toward film music. They find they like film music, but they like a particular style more than others. And if movies scored by Zimmer and his cronies are what they watch and like, and they go out and buy those soundtracks, but then they shape their opinions of other soundtracks around the Zimmer et al soundtracks. I'd just be happy the guy listens to film music, even if he does tend to bash the good stuff. There are enough other educated people who offer good reviews of these Goldsmith scores to outweigh the basher's comments.

MI2, however, took me on a roller coaster ride and didn't let me off until 2 hours later! This CD has just about everything you'd expect from a Hans Zimmer score, with music that grabs hold of you from the minute you push PLAY on your CD player! Way to go, Hans!

As long as there is an audience for that kind of wall of music sound, both in the box office lines and behind the camera, Hans will never run out of work in show biz. I just hope there will always be fans for the Elfman, Goldsmith, and Williams kind of sound, too.

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Although Goldsmith continues his long-standing tradition of using a complete orchestra without any synthesizers,

;)

A somewhat odd, although completely true observation... what does this guy not like about a real orchestra?

But it's the MI:2 one that takes the biscuit. Music fans like this need to be strapped into the machine the kid from Lost was found in, and subject to random JW music 24/7.

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Ah, yes . . . god bless the internet, where every doofus has an equal voice.

Wait ... wasn't that what I said shortly after I made my happy introduction here, and you ripped me a new one? ;)

I don't remember that, but it sounds like me; I definitely don't like you, and I'm sure I must have a reason for it.

I support every doofus having an equal voice; I just also reserve the right to call them doofuses.

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;)

Although Goldsmith continues his long-standing tradition of using a complete orchestra without any synthesizers

sigh

I read Amazon customer reviews of pop music and musical theater, but the film score reviews are too depressing. "This CD is just background music. Why aren't there are any words?"

it's not just at Amazon either, alas. http://www.filmtracks.com/comments/titles/...ndex.cgi?read=9

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Very true, that's even why some people don't like a couple of his scores, because of the use of synth.

Actually, you're right - this Amazon guy is so good he had me convinced!

Now I come to think of it, there are several Goldsmith scores I don't like much due to the use of synth... Hollow Man for example.

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The fact that Goldsmith used a full orchestra here tends to make this CD sound artificial to me :lol:

When I listen to the "Hijacking" track, for instance, I can't help but wonder what we would have heard if someone like Hans Zimmer ROTFLMAO

At least that way you wouldn't have the string section trying so hard to sound like pulsating synthesizers under the gunfire. :blink:

This guy is a bumbling buffoon.

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In his review of U.S. Marshalls he still insists Goldsmith doesn't use synths.

I insist, Jerry Goldsmith is having a secret love affair with Hans Zimmer. He never really died, he just faked his death so he could hide away on a tropical island waiting for his Zimmer love to return and bewilder him with steamy passion. ROTFLMAO

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Very true, that's even why some people don't like a couple of his scores, because of the use of synth.

Actually, you're right - this Amazon guy is so good he had me convinced!

I think First Knight was the last synth-less Goldsmith score... and the first one in quite a while, too, I guess.

Now I come to think of it, there are several Goldsmith scores I don't like much due to the use of synth... Hollow Man for example.

Hollow Man is excellent. I love the science music, the action/suspense stuff is not particularly inspired but very well written and engaging, and that "elevator from hell" sound (I forget who came up with that term) is just plain scary.

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No it's silly because he thinks the 25th is the recording sessions and not the actual music used in the film ;) , which a dumb statement to begin with.

And it seems that the guy had the two CDs (album and 25th), which is all music released...

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In his review of U.S. Marshalls he still insists Goldsmith doesn't use synths.

I insist, Jerry Goldsmith is having a secret love affair with Hans Zimmer. He never really died, he just faked his death so he could hide away on a tropical island waiting for his Zimmer love to return and bewilder him with steamy passion. :remybussi:

I think I just vomited a little.

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