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Superman IV: The Quest For Peace


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I'm a bit amazed by the lack of discussion about this score on this Forum.

This is after all a lost-partial-John Williams score that has finally seen the light of day.

The only discussions I've really found are in the Blue Box thread, fighting for attention in between all the posts about the booklet, and the possible re-pressing.

When Indy 4 gets leaked or released this release will have gone to the back of everyone's minds here and will get only a cursory mention when the MB is back in the doldrums.

So here it goes.

I think Superman 4 is the best of the Superman sequel scores. I respect the Ken Thorne efforts, but I don't really feel the need to go back to them.

I respect John Ottman's efforts, but I don't like the way how his own music doesn't bear much of any stylistic resemblance to the John Williams themes he's using.

Alexander Courage actually does an amazingly clever thing here. he manages to pretty much seamlessly combine (almost) all of the themes John Williams wrote for Superman in 1978, the 3 new themes Williams created 9 years later and all of his own music, which only occasionally reminds of John Williams

I haven't found a single moment were there's a harsh transition between the styles of Courage and Williams, between 1978 or 1987. Courage's reduction of the flying music (combined with elements of The Love Theme concert version) shows his skill as an arranger. And I like the way he put's a slightly new twist on March Of The Villians. Not to mention the way his own Missile Motive seems to be formed from that march.

One of the score's highlights (for me) is the climax of the United Nations cue, were Courage skillfully uses the Superman Fanfare, Lacey's Theme, and then The Love Theme and Jeremy's Theme as counterpoint.

You just don't hear that kind of thematic development anymore in film music.

I could wax lyrical all day about it, and probably will, but since this is a discussion Forum, and Indy 4 has not yet leaked, let's all have a crack at it.

Anyway....we delivered the bomb.

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Oh, I agree with all you have said. It is a terrific score that I definitely enjoy much more than either of Thorne's efforts. After listening to it a couple of weeks ago, I was simply shocked by the fact that he hasn't scored more, as he definitely has the ability to do a fantastic job. Perhaps he'll never outlive his work on Star Trek (which I don't really think is a bad thing, mind you) but I definitely think he is wasted potential. He does a fantastic job integrating Williams' themes and should be commended much more on this board than he has.

The film is definitely undeserving of Courage's tremendous effort.

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As far as I'm concerned, Superman IV is the only sequel score in the Superman saga. It relates perfectly with the original material even if the action music at the end of the first disc can drag a little bit. The rendition of the classic themes are always interesting and refreshing, instead of tired repetitions. In fact, the word "fresh" is what best defines this soundtrack, which is something not very common in the Superman universe. I love the way the music totally tells a story - mainly because I haven't seen the film and have been very careful about reading the liner notes, so it's just an abstract Superman adventure I can make up if I want.

One of the things that appeal to me the most to this score is how different the Superman march sounds here. In the introductory Superman - The Movie, the music was almost in awe of Superman's powers, almost like saying "wow, I hope you didn't miss that". It's not that it looses its heroic factor in IV, it's just that it cleverly plays with its familiarity - it doesn't underline everything Supes does in onscreen, it just portrays him as a character. And "March of the Villains" finally sounds evil on the second disc.

Not much to add about the new themes that hasn't been said before. "Jeremy's Theme" is classic Williams on every level. "Lucy's Theme", I thought I'd hate and find dated, but it works marvels in the underscore. And well, "Nuclear Man's Theme" is just generic evil guy music, but not the less effective for it.

I don't know enough about Courage to tell if he was imitating Williams' style or just doing his own (I suspect it's a mix of both, perhaps more on the latter in some interesting sections), but the music - in content and in approach - organically belongs to the same saga as Superman - The Movie. Much unlike all the other scores out there.

Oh, and Steef:

And I like the way he put's a slightly new twist on March Of The Villians. Not to mention the way his own Missile Motive seems to be formed from that march.

Thank you. I didn't know if it was the (heavily varied) march itself, or a theme of its own. I'm wary of reading the liner notes because what little I've read in them has almost spoiled some of the tracks for me (I had a very different scene in mind for "Fresh Air", and reading about the scene it belonged to was like finding a dead, black fly in your mousse).

One of the score's highlights (for me) is the climax of the United Nations cue, were Courage skillfully uses the Superman Fanfare, Lacey's Theme, and then The Love Theme and Jeremy's Theme as counterpoint.

I'm very jaded of beauty created by big, loud statements of familiar themes - especially playing several of them in counterpoint. Because it's easy to sound "lush" doing it, and many upon many less-than-stellar scores have done so in a despertate attempt for memorability. But God, it works here.

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Unfortunately, I haven't been able to listen to this one. Were it somehow ever released individually, I would almost surely pick it up.

Same here. Other than getting Superman in top notch sound quality this is easily what I'm most looking forward to hearing from the Blue Box, and was even before all of the positive mentions it's gotten.

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I haven't seen the film

Don't!

Trust me ;)

What i heard on the movie was very good. its the best sequel for sure. II is a good rehash, III is a comedy score with few things in common with superman. And returns fails where stefan said, the original music does not mix perfectly with Williams'. Though, it had the best performance and sound since Superman: The Movie, that much is certain.

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I don't know, I don't know...

It's such a lighthearted score. Lightheartedness is all Courage had to work with. I can't, however, find fault with it.

It does not have the depth of the first part of Williams Superman score, but I would in no way call it shallow.

Some of the gentler material (Down With Flu) outclass the silliness of the film.

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It's a shame that Courage had to wait so long for his work to be made public.

Listening to the score on it's own makes one think of a completely different film. It is the hilight of the box set.

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I haven't seen the film

Don't!

Trust me :cool:

What i heard on the movie was very good. its the best sequel for sure. II is a good rehash, III is a comedy score with few things in common with superman. And returns fails where stefan said, the original music does not mix perfectly with Williams'. Though, it had the best performance and sound since Superman: The Movie, that much is certain.

I actually think that a lot of this score suffers from a terrible performance, and this was also stressed in the recent issue of FSM. There was a lot of work done editorially to make it seem like a better performance - but that can't cover up every mistake! Still, the brilliance of the score shines through.

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I haven't seen the film

Don't!

Trust me :cool:

What i heard on the movie was very good. its the best sequel for sure. II is a good rehash, III is a comedy score with few things in common with superman. And returns fails where stefan said, the original music does not mix perfectly with Williams'. Though, it had the best performance and sound since Superman: The Movie, that much is certain.

I actually think that a lot of this score suffers from a terrible performance, and this was also stressed in the recent issue of FSM. There was a lot of work done editorially to make it seem like a better performance - but that can't cover up every mistake! Still, the brilliance of the score shines through.

The score with best performance and sound i was speaking of is Superman returns, not IV. (its not clear for me to whom you are refering to)

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Guest macrea

I envy those who can enjoy the score and have never seen the film, although the fact that so much of the music wasn't used in the film helps in forgetting about the movie. This is a great sequel score in every way, treading a fine line between similarity and newness just as successfully as Jaws 2 or The Empire Strikes Back.

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"Jeremy's Theme" is classic Williams on every level. "Lucy's Theme", I thought I'd hate and find dated, but it works marvels in the underscore. And well, "Nuclear Man's Theme" is just generic evil guy music, but not the less effective for it.

Exactly. Especially Jeremy's Theme is vintage Williams. :P Lacy's Theme sounds perhaps a little bit too cheesy to me :P, but hey, it's just like Elmo Lewis wrote.

Otherwise, it's a great score, definitely it's a gift to finally have it in its gloroius sounding, unabridged Blue Box form. One can't help but marvel at those marching versions of Can You Read My Mind and March of the Villains. :rolleyes:

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I cant believe no one identified Jeremy's theme with Williams before the blue box.

Its clearly rooted on the Peter Pan-Hook material.

Jeremy's theme is barely heard in the film. Certainly the concert piece and the finale aren't, anyway.

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I like this score since I seen the film on 87 , I was 21 then ... I bought the BBox only to have at least the best recording of S:TM and S:QOP ...

Since I know that the luna fight in S2 belongs to Superman the Movie - track" the doom opens alternate ", I really not keep attention, sorry, to the Thorne efforts ... I still( ..) hope for a release of a Superman the Movie 3 hours re-cut , with the hope of Williams will be asked to do new score on the metropolis battle and other key moments ...

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