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Which Media Ventures scores are ok to own?

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Let me just start by saying I'm a Massive John Williams Fan and own 70+ Williams Albums, I also enjoy the work of David Arnold, James Newton Howard and John Barry.

However I do own a few Media Ventures Scores, now I dislike Hans and his MV crew just as much as the next person, but are there some that are worthy purchases?

I'll tell you what MV or MVish scores I own and how much I paid for them and I'll let you be the judge.

Zimmer/Gerrard's Gladiator: The anniversary Edition (£6.00)

While I think it is overrated, it's not bad listen for the price I paid.

Zimmer's Backdraft: (£12.00)

I enjoy it mostly. Shame about the Typical Zimmer action music though. However it did have a bonus interview track where I seem to remember Zimmer stating that he didn't think he was very good at composing action music, which to me, made it worth every penny.

Trevor Rabin's Deep Blue Sea: (£8.00)

I must admit it's a guilty Pleasure for me; I do enjoy the rendition of the main theme in the aftermath track. It's a shame the album only presents about half and hour of music.

Zimmer's The Lion King: (Free From a Friend)

I would have gladly paid full price for this. I think this is the only Zimmer score that I can genuinely say I love. A worthy Oscar winner. I don't mind Elton's songs either.

Zimmer's The Last Samurai: (Free From a Friend)

Not a massive fan of this. Nice main theme until you realise it's just a rehash of Gladiator's earth theme. Mostly dull underscore. Not Bad for a freebie though.

Zimmer's Hannibal: (Free From a Friend)

I enjoy this album. Shame about the dialogue. As usual, Zimmer takes credit but it seems only a handful of the tracks were composed by him. I do love Vide cor Meum though.

Zimmer's The Da Vinci Code: (£8.00)

Some good bits, some not so good bits, still I think it was a worthy purchase.

Zimmer/JNH's Batman Begins: (£12.00)

To be honest I took a chance on this and bought it without hearing any of it. I generally enjoy JNH's scores but I was left disappointed. I guess it has grown on me over time but I still skip the tedious Zimmer action music.

So there you have it. My MV collection. Am I a bad person for owning these scores? and dare I say it enjoying some of them? What do you think? Also I'd like to hear if any of you guys have a secret MV stash they would like to confess?

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Bah, there's nothing wrong with enjoying Zimmer's scores. I hardly consider myself a BAD person or even feel guilty enjoying the music. I have no problem with listening to a Zimmer CD right after a Williams CD. It's all personal taste, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise!

That said, of those you own, my personal favorites are Backdraft, The Last Samurai, and Hannibal. If you're looking to branch out and expand your collection, I would recommend:

Chicken Run (John Powell & Harry Gregson-Williams)

Crimson Tide (Hans Zimmer)

Kingdom of Heaven (Harry Gregson-Williams)

Paycheck (John Powell)

Ned Kelly (Klaus Badelt)

Twister (Mark Mancina)

We Were Soldiers (Nick Glennie-Smith)

Steamboy (Steve Jablonsky)

Remember the Titans (Trevor Rabin... not available commercially, but if you look hard enough you can find it)

I think these represent some of MediaVentures' most impressive and under-rated work. Quite often some of their best works are only represented by a few tracks on the album or go completely unreleased.

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I'm never quite sure what counts as an MV score, or who of their ex-members left when, but here's a little collection of MV(ish) scores:

The Lion King - Nice score, though somewhat overrated. I actually like the songs most about this album.

Chicken Run - Absolutely awesome. Must-have.

X3 - Very solid score with plenty of highlights, though it sometimes takes things too far (e.g. choir-wise), while at the same time not taking things far enough musically (Dark Phoenix Tragedy works extremely well in the film, and it's great on CD, but the ending comes too suddenly from a purely musical perspective)

I also have to get Da Vinci Code, which in the movie seemed to be a solid effort with not enough structure but a couple of minor and one major highlight.

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The Lion King



Crimson Tide


Chicken Run

Sinbad: Legend of the seven Seas

Prince of Egypt is pretty good too, I hear. And I kinda like Speed, although I hardly ever play it all the way through.

And oh yeah, basically most solo efforts by Powell and Gregson-Williams are pretty good, but I don't know if you should really count those as real MV scores.

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Ok, secretly I would recommend King Arthur, The Peacemaker, The Rock, Broken Arrow, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2, Equilibrium, Bad Company, and National Treasure. But I don't think he likes the stereotypical Zimmer/Rabin action music. :music:

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But it can't hurt to ask for suggestions.

I agree with Marc that Powell's and HGW's solo efforts (and actually, even the few they did together) really aren't MV scores. Of these, I HIGHLY recommend HGW's Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and The Chronicles of Narnia. Powell's X-Men: The Last Stand and the duo's Shrek and Chicken Run are also great.

Of course, if you're going to go all-out MV, you can't get "better" than The Rock. It's a typical MV-fest through and through, but it somehow seems fresher and more enjoyable than the plethora of similar scores that came after it. Plus, the final track rocks. :music:

Ray Barnsbury

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I don't consider myself a real fan of Zimmer (or his cronies), but the below cited scores I feel, are satisfying and perhaps even worthy of owning:

The Lion King - Zimmer: Decent themes, emotional (perhaps even sappy, if one is into that kind of thing...).

Crimson Tide - Zimmer: Arguably Hans' best work - tense at times; choral accents create charged atmosphere; (musically) driven with a real sense of purpose - adds to the storytelling element of the film / wartime nautical subject; when the musical payoff comes at the end, it simply rocks.

The Rock - Glennie-Smith / Gregson- Williams / Zimmer: Takes the action and power anthem stuff from Crimson up another notch.

Face/Off - Powell / Greenaway: An MV sounding score with moments of high drama and urgency (just like the film).

The Peacemaker - Zimmer: Anthem & choral chunks, kinda like a darkish flipside of The Rock.

Gladiator - Zimmer: If only for the Earth theme, and if you're not sick of the countless Middle-Eastern Lady vocalizes, for Lisa Gerrard's contribution.

The Time Machine - Badelt: Some real meat on this one. A decent, noble theme (reminiscent of Goldsmith) and orchestrations make for an interesting listen, one that feels decidedly non-MV.

The Ring - Zimmer: Hans doing mainly dark, chamber string-type music.

X3 - Powell: I look forward to more from JP on the strength of this - which to put it plainly, is a rich, finely crafted score.

As for Mancina's contributions, even though I find some of his work to be effective when used in the film proper (specifically Speed, Bad Boys, and Twister), on disc, I fear i'd be treated to tracks and musical ideas that are repetitive, "cue-y" sounding, and lack the sort of development that I'd find in the scores above...

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Of course, if you're going to go all-out MV, you can't get "better" than The Rock.  It's a typical MV-fest through and through, but it somehow seems fresher and more enjoyable than the plethora of similar scores that came after it.  Plus, the final track rocks. :P

I don't know. I was a bit disappointed by The Rock. I haven't even made it through the entire album yet.

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I have to admit, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is kind of catchy, though 40% of it sounds way too much like "Music" (read: synth crashes) from Survivor.

I'm also becoming a fan of John Powell because he seems to have broken the mold. In fact, I didn't realize he was ex-MV until this thread because he seems to have thrown off their general shabbiness. I like Gregson-Williams, especially Kingdom of Heaven, but he has a ways to go before he sheds enough of his MV to be considered a real composer.

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In order of my personal preference:

1. Crimson Tide

2. The Prince of Egypt

3. Kingdom of Heaven

4. Chicken Run

5. Gladiator

6. Beyond Rangoon

7. Spanglish

8. Backdraft

9. Hannibal

10. Sinbad Legend of the Seven Seas

11. X3

12. The Time Machine

13. The Lion King

14. The Chronicles of Narnia

15. Ned Kelly

16. The Da Vinci Code

17. The Last Samurai

18. Shrek/Shrek 2

If your main concern is that all MV music is interchangeable, and sounds the same, that above list should begin to show you otherwise.

And the first two tracks of The Rock are the only consistently interesting material on that CD IMO. There's bits and pieces of some cool masculine sound here and there, but the first 2 tracks are about all I listen to.

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Btw Media Ventures doesn't exist anymore. Let's stop writing that, it's now called "Remote Control Productions". 8O

You can't go wrong with Harry Gregson-Williams imho. He's the best of the bunch, I hope someday he ventures (ha) out and creates more purely orchestral music. Sinbad, Shrek, Chicken Run, KoH, Narnia. I mean just a simple work like the rush job he did for Team America sounded better than about everything done by the MV guys for the past 2 years.

Underrated MV score : Armageddon (2CD boot)

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I don't feel guilty listening to MV stuff. When I'm in the right mood, the endless synth beats can be quite stimulating.

For example, The Wave from Poseidon has some pretty cool rhythms in the middle which give a great rush of adrenalin sometimes.

In fact, I'm doing my best to listen to as many styles of soundtracks as possible. It's not every day that you listen to Exodus and The Rock in one sitting and thoroughly enjoy both.

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There is NO REASON not to listen to this music if you like it. Do not let the opinions of people fool you. Listen to what you like. Do not be embrassed or guilty. If it connects with you, then it is good music. In general listen to anything you like, even country I guess.

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Then you should at least skip to the last track ("Fort Walton, Kansas") and just try not to feel artificially empowered!  

Isn't that awful Chase cue at the end of the album... There goes the listening experience.

Oh yeah, I forgot that because I always just stop after Fort Walton.

You can't go wrong with Harry Gregson-Williams imho. He's the best of the bunch, I hope someday he ventures (ha) out and creates more purely orchestral music. Sinbad, Shrek, Chicken Run, KoH, Narnia. I mean just a simple work like the rush job he did for Team America sounded better than about everything done by the MV guys for the past 2 years.  


Ray Barnsbury

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My personal favourite score which hasn't been mentioned here is "Thin Red Line". I know that this is mostly brooding music that may regarded as boring by many of you, but for me it is the greatest brooding music ever created. I didn't appreciate it during my first listenings. In fact, it took me a very long time to start enjoying it. Now I find it one of the greatest scores I've ever heard. It is mainly due to the incredible mood it creates (to which I couldn't have given myself in for a long time). I have never heard another score that would have such an effect on me. It mesmerizes the listener, it relaxes, it transcendents to some other dimention. Trully maginificent.

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I loooooove tTRL, back then it was an aspect of Zimmer we did not know at that time, but I still feel it was too much wrote over the temp tracks. Shades of Dvorak's symphony 9, etc... I mean if you saw The New World, you can see how Mallick likes that kind of slow, trance-like melancholic music, with that Wagner track.

Btw I hate so much people who think it's Horner who wrote that. If so he would had rescored it with a bunch of "ta da da DA!" 4-note motives meaning that those people were evil to the amerindians :P

In the same vain, you have Jon Brion who basically scored Magnolia from tTRL temp tracks :) (it's too a great album)

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I have to mention "The man in the iron mask" by Nick Glennie-Smith. Though it has its share of the typical MV sound in its action passages, the full orchestra which performed the score is much better situated in the mix with the synths than your average MV score (cue pirates, or the action music in Gladiator) where it IS orchestral, but SOUNDS synth... and it has many gorgeous lighter/dramatic cues, melancholy cues, romantic cues... with a bit of baroque sound thrown in at times. ****/*****

ps: you really notice that the love theme from this and "Jade" from The Rock were written by the same guy, and not only because of the flute :wave:

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Very true, but in the mind of pretty much every film goer, it works. Historically speaking Korngold is a wrong for a pirate flick as Zimmer. Yet Captain Blood is held in enormous regard by the same people who want to make Zimmer walk the plank.

The electric guitar took me out of Man With The Iron Mask (which is a delightfull romp). The string section did not.

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Also electric guitars have no place in a film about musketeers in France.

Why not? It's experimentation. It's stupid to say that all films about mustketeers in France have to have similar scores. There should not be a prototypical "musketeers in Frace" score.

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What MV scores are ok to own?

All of them. As long as you're happy with it. Your topic question suggests that:

A. Owning some MV scores equal a criminal act;

B. You need the "approval" of the members of this board.

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Owning the score to Con Air is as repugnant an act as robbing your grandmother and setting fire to her house, with her chained to the bed.

...And playing the music Jan Smit over her stereo!

No wait; she might like that...


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