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Good question. I gotta admit, when I finally indulged and bought the complete soundtrack a year or two ago, I was a little underwhelmed. Or overwhelmed. I'd heard a lot of great stuff about the score...some reviewers said it was right up there with Williams's greatest masterpieces.

I definitely disagree, though. It's a fun listen, basically, but it can be very loud, and it doesn't seem to...go anywhere. There's an adventurous main theme that I quite like, a I-iv-based love theme that sounds like a not-so-amazing successor to Leia's theme/Marion's theme/Han Solo and the Princess/Luke and Leia, a direct rip-off of the Ark theme from Raiders, and probably a few other minor themes I'm forgetting. A lot of it is quite swashbuckling and adventurous - many have compared it to the pirate scores of old, but I can't give any opinion on that because I'm not familiar with them. It's certainly not the Zimmer route. It seems to be all acoustic, and the LSO delivers a really powerful performance, with the choir turning it up a few more notches in some parts. I suppose I just wish the score had more variety, and a little more of a build or climax rather than the same level of high-volume adventure throughout. The melodic ideas can be quite good, though some of them annoy me at times.

One thing that cannot be ignored is the outstanding presentation of the complete release. I think every cue is there, though I'm not familiar enough with the film to know for sure, and what is more - there are bonus tracks! Several cues are presented without the choir mixed in, and an original synth demo provides an interesting look at the scoring process. In other words, this is the sort of release EVERY score should have.

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It sounds for the first 20 minutes or so (and I mean really great), but the whole thing gets tiresome after a while. I would assume this is even more jarring in the expanded edition, which I have not heard.

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I would not say "every", Joe....

Good point. I rethought that after I wrote it. :huh: Some scores definitely do not need this treatment - in fact, even Cutthroat Island itself doesn't, IMO! But there are a lot of scores that do need it, and, sadly, never get it. =/

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So it's a lot of relentless boom-tz. Okay, you've just saved me a couple of bucks. I had no idea how it sounded even within the context of the film, since I have never seen a single second of footage (and I've heard that I ain't missing nothin' there!).

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The OST is great. It has all the highlights of the score, arranged in a order that makes for a great listening experience.

The expanded release is very, very long. If you're in love with the score as presented on the OST, you'll probably love it. If the expanded release is your first exposure to the score at all, you'll probably be overwhelmed and not like it.

So I'd recommend the OST if you've never checked out the score before. And the movie's not that bad. Certainly better than its reputation

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The OST is great. It has all the highlights of the score, arranged in a order that makes for a great listening experience.

The expanded release is very, very long. If you're in love with the score as presented on the OST, you'll probably love it. If the expanded release is your first exposure to the score at all, you'll probably be overwhelmed and not like it.

So I'd recommend the OST if you've never checked out the score before. And the movie's not that bad. Certainly better than its reputation

What he said. When I want to hear this score I play the original album. The complete thing is like eating all icing and no cake.

Neil

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The OST is great. It has all the highlights of the score, arranged in a order that makes for a great listening experience.

The expanded release is very, very long. If you're in love with the score as presented on the OST, you'll probably love it. If the expanded release is your first exposure to the score at all, you'll probably be overwhelmed and not like it.

So I'd recommend the OST if you've never checked out the score before. And the movie's not that bad. Certainly better than its reputation

What he said. When I want to hear this score I play the original album. The complete thing is like eating all icing and no cake.

Neil

You're making me hungry.

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Admitting a big bias towards music for films involving nautical aspects, Cutthroat Island is probably my favourite score altogether; I might even like it more than any of Williams' scores, though can quite understand if people would disagree with me on that one.

Back in the early days of my film music hobby, I used to like John Williams very much, but also considered Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl to be an incredible score. Cutthroat Island cured me from that properly though, putting my opinion on the PotC score firmly into perspective.

Having read nothing but incredible raving reviews on various websites, I was willing to believe that Cutthroat Island was a pretty good score. Since I'm a big fan of the sea, ships and pirates, I didn't hestitate for a second when I was lucky enough to run into the OST when I was in a store in England that happened to have it. Upon listening to it, I was completely blown away. Whilst I didn't quite believe the reviews in that it was so good, after hearing the music, I couldn't help but agree.

The OST is filled almost to capacity and there's never a dull moment. The orchestral enthusiasm is just amazing and the seafaring music sounds appropriately "salty". There's a lot of loud action music, but it's high quality loudness and performed very well by the LSO. There's some quiet parts as well, which are very good too.

When the 2-disc edition was announced, I again didn't hesitate for a moment to order it. And yet again I was not disappointed. Although it might get tiresome after 2 hours of such music, every track offers something worthwhile. The main reason I had to get it though, was because of the complete 18 minute "The Battle" track. On the OST the middle half is missing, which contains music of at least equal quality as the beginning and end of the track.

In my enthusiasm for piratey/swashbuckling/seafaring scores, I have tried to get any and every one of them that I could find. I can say for certain that there's none that rivals Cutthroat Island in my book. Mutiny on the Bounty has several good tracks that are on par with it, but there's too much less interesting music there for me to rank it equal or superior to Cutthroat Island. Other scores are all less good, including The Sea Hawk, which never managed to really excite me outside of the title theme.

In short, if you like well-composed and well-performed music that is unrelentlessly enthusiastic, you can go no wrong with Cutthroat Island. It's got good action music (LOTS of it), some beautiful quiet parts and there's hardly a dull moment. If I were to compare it with a John Williams score, I'd probably go with Temple of Doom. If you can greatly appreciate that score, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to appreciate Cutthroat Island too.

When it comes to OST vs 2-CD version, I've got this to say: The OST is probably the best 1-CD soundtrack that could be made of the music. Although missing many highlights, there is a limit to the storage space on a CD. The tracks are not in film order, but it does make for a pretty good listening experience. And that comes from someone who really dislikes it when CDs are not in the proper order.

The 2-CD version includes pretty much all the music from the film, including many highlights that could not fit on the OST. However, some of the added tracks are less interesting than the rest. I can imagine that things might get a bit overbearing after 2 hours of it, but it's good music indeed and having too much good music is no reason not to get it, is it?

The film is also quite a fun pirate film. Though far from perfect, it's definitly not a total loss. Actually, it's one of the very few pirate movies that is available in colour on DVD so it also comes highly recommended if you're into that sort of stuff.

As I said before, I'm rather biased towards this kind of music for this kind of films, but I cannot believe that anyone can disagree that Cutthroat Island is at least a fairly good score and can certainly be included amongst the better pirate scores. This unlike the Pirates of the Caribbean, which people might or might not enjoy, but certainly are NOT good pirate scores. It's certainly not horrible in any way; if anything, it is too much of a good thing.

Listen to the Main Title to decide whether you might like this kind of stuff or not.

Personally I actually found that the music does go somewhere. When listening to the OST, I was always impressed with how every track would up the ante from the previous track and would always bring something new to the table. There's hardly any repeat music at all and I have not been able to find more than two themes (the heroic main theme and the beautiful "treasure" theme), but each track has a melody of it's own, though the main theme is never far away.

There's no thorough thematic development, but especially the full "The Battle" track leads up to an incredible climax. "It's Only Gold/End Credits" then opens up with some beautiful quiet music to recover from the previous climax, then movies into a suite of the important themes and concludes with absolutely the best finale I have ever heard in any score. Period. Topping Indiana Jones, Empire Strikes Back, Independence Day and any others.

One thing that cannot be ignored is the outstanding presentation of the complete release. I think every cue is there, though I'm not familiar enough with the film to know for sure, and what is more - there are bonus tracks! Several cues are presented without the choir mixed in, and an original synth demo provides an interesting look at the scoring process. In other words, this is the sort of release EVERY score should have.
There's a part of "Discovery of The Cave" missing, which is too bad, because it's quite a nice part.

BTW: If you want to "edit" the OST together, that is actually really easy. There are no edits made to the tracks at all, nor are they renamed. So you can just take out the tracks that are only on the 2-CD version and re-order the remaining ones. The only exception is "The Battle/To Dawg’s Ship/Morgan Battes Dawg/Dawg’s Demise/The Triumph", which begins with the OST track "The Battle", then includes a lot of unreleased music before finishing with the OST track "Dawg’s Demise/The Triumph". I don't see why you would want to lose the middle portion though; that's the main thing I wanted from the complete edition. :rolleyes:

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What Pieter said :rolleyes:

It's one of the rare scores that I don't mind at all that the OST is not in chrono order. Helps that I don't have a strong connection between the music and the images they go along with, only having seen the film once many years ago.

And yea, the missing final battle pieces are the only stuff that you wish could have been on the OST.... but it still works fine the way it is and its probably better they got some quieter / more different stuff in there instead

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I've only really ever connected to a small number of cues from this score. Admittedly I only have the complete version, and as suggested, it's a bit overwhelming, and much of it has little meaning given that I've never seen a single frame of the film.

I think that when it's good, it's absolutely outstanding, but it does seem to have dragging parts, and the quieter romantic moments venture into a musical sound that doesn't really click with me.

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I quite like it - it reminds me of the type of score that got me into soundtracks and classical music in general when I was a wee lad.

Then again, I've always been partial to swashbuckling scores so there's no surprise there.

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Just by curiosity, did anyone else spot Kamen's Robin Hood theme in the first track and Rozsa's Ivanhoe theme in the track Morgan takes the ship? I would assume they are respectful little nods, since they are pretty much note by note renditions.

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Do you have track times? I have to check that out.

BTW: There's some great music on the 2-CD edition that's not on the OST, most notably including "Morgan in Command", "Betrayal", "The Weding Waltz" * and "To Dawg's Ship/Morgan Battes Dawg".

* = Whatever it might've been composed for. It's not in the film and nobody seems to know for sure whether it was for a deleted scene or composed for the wedding aniversary of the director and the female lead. But it sure is a beautiful piece of music!

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Michael Kamen's Robin Hood theme: 4:06 of Main Title: Morgan's Ride

Miklos Rozsa Overture for Ivanhoe: 00:43 of Morgan Takes the Ship

Yeah I caught those, just like Elfman's Batman theme appears in Waterworld.

Seriously though it's a fun ride but it can get a little too bombastic at times. I didn't have the original album and only bought it when the 2 disc set was released.

Probably should have went with the single disc.

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Easily one of the greatest film scores ever written. A wonderful tip of the cap to the Golden Age greats! It's in my Top 3 of all time just behind Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back. It has everything that made me fall in love with film music in the first place.

-Erik-

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Most overrated score of all times
Easily one of the greatest film scores ever written.

;)

I'm firmly in the admirer camp on this one. I was completely unfamiliar with it when I stumbled across the main theme (I think it was on a compilation album) and it immediately became a top favorite. Not many scores or themes have done that since, if any.

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One of my favorite scores; I can't understand how some people can consider it "overrated" (yeah, taste, I know, but...). I would say, unless you even consider "Munich" annoyingly exuberant and happy this should be a must-buy. Oh, and it is really one of the more complex scores I know (well, for example in comparison to many Hans Zimmer & Co. soundtracks ;) ).

The 2 CD version, though I love it, can be a bit tiresome after some time... but LOTR and many other good long scores are too.

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It's very easy to get "bored" by listening to the two disc version simply because it's so long, and so much of it sounds the same that you can get lost. Unless you're a student of the score or have memorized the movie, you may find that the score is over before you know it.

That being said, it is a very good score and I love having it as part of my collection.

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Oh, and it is really one of the more complex scores I know (well, for example in comparison to many Hans Zimmer & Co. soundtracks :( ).

I'm somewhat of a Zimmer fan, but I cannot deny that that truly is not saying much. Zimmer's scores tend to be mindblowingly simple, even if they achieve a big sound or use fast tempi. CutThroat Island is certainly more complex, but IMO, it's not a very complex score, in the grand scheme of things. Its thematic library is not a large one - most of it relies on somewhat straightforward statements of a rather small group of themes. Orchestration-wise, it's got a fair amount of stuff going on, but it's not as complex in that regard as most Williams scores, for instance. And it's not as if the melodic material itself is all that complex, either.

Again, not trying to tell you not to like the score or anything. Just explaining what factors detract from my own enjoyment.

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Everything Cutthroat Island lacks in amount and development of themes, it makes up for in sheer enthusiasm. It's one of those scores that just leaves you grinning at the end. Unless such music is just not to your taste. But since John Williams is also one of the more bombastic composers out there, I imagine that pretty much all people on this forum should find at least something to like about Cutthroat Island. And if it does seem too much of a good thing to you, just listen to it in parts. :angry:

Does anyone else think that John Debney is rather underrated? Especially on this forum? I'm not going to pretend he's the most original composer to work in the business, but music like Cutthroat Island, Lair, Hocus Pocus and White Fang 2 are just so much fun to listen to. For some reason, those just really spark my imagination and I can just imagine what the movie that goes with them looks like and what happens on the screen, even if I didn't see the movie or there IS no movie, in the case of Lair.

As far as I'm concerned, the best thing a film score can accomplish is to spark the imagination and conjure up a story in your mind even away from the film. And John Debney's best scores do that admirably.

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I haven't heard enough of John Debney's work to know if I'm a fan, but I do love his work on Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris. He adapted Buddy Baker's original "Grim Grinning Ghosts" theme for orchestra, a jazz group, female voice, piano, a boy's choir...all kinds of different instrumentation styles in that ride. Really a fascinating and evocative listen. Pity it hasn't been officially released in a high-sound-quality, cue-by-cue format. I like it a lot more than CutThroat Island.

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What's different between "Carriage Chase (Alternative Version)" and "Carriage Chase"?

About 6 seconds.

Not much difference then?

Is the OST track the cue from the film? I think it is, although when I watched the film recently I can't remember the ending sounding quite the same. Maybe they faded it out?

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I don't recall what seperates the cues in question but sometimes there's not that much difference in alternates. It may be a slight change in orchestrations or instruments.

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I don't recall what seperates the cues in question but sometimes there's not that much difference in alternates. It may be a slight change in orchestrations or instruments.

That's what I was thinking. Surely it can't be completely different themes etc and only be 6 seconds different.

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Well, it could be - sometimes someone will decide that they want a different feel for a certain passage, so an alternate insert gets written, but since the film itself hasn't changed, the length needs to be the same. But IIRC, those are just two different takes or something. Don't have my liner notes with me right now, sadly. =(

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What's different between "Carriage Chase (Alternative Version)" and "Carriage Chase"?

About 6 seconds.

Not much difference then?

Nope. They are pretty much identical cues with the exception of how they end.

ORIGINAL ENDING

ALTERNATE ENDING

-Erik-

Ah right, thanks Erik. :lol:

The alternate must be the one used in the film then (or the ending of it anyway). Shame, the other one's better!

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