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Flashnotes - August 2002


Last Flashed:
October 19, 2003

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Spy Kids 2:  The Island of Lost Dreams by Robert Rodriguez and John Debney

Spy Kids 2:  The Island of Lost Dreams by Robert Rodriguez & John Debney- August 23, 2002

Quickly following the unexpected, but wildly, successful Spy Kids of 2001, comes the much anticipated, family-centric-sequel, Spy Kids 2:  The Island of Lost Dreams.   For this sequel, the composing team has been widdled down from baseball-team-sized effort of Spy Kids to two main contributors:  director/composer, Robert Rodriguez and composer John Debney.  While the absence of some members of the previous composing team is felt in the music, the cartoonish-espionage-like-tone manages to be maintained.  Along with musical nods to a half-dozen spy-series, Rodriguez simultaneously tips his black, cowboy hat to visual effect artist Ray Harryhausen and legendary composer Bernard Herrmann.  The net result is score  that features an admirable consistency with the original Spy Kids score, but one that, in places, actually exceeds the original.

Track 4 - Treehouse  |  Track 7 - Escape from DragonSPY  |  Track 16 - Skeletons 

Purchase at Amazon.com (soundclips available)


Signs by James Newton Howard

Signs by James Newton Howard - August 1, 2002

Director M. Night Shyamalan's highly anticipated fourth feature film, Signs, pairs him yet again with composer James Newton Howard.  Signs is first and foremost a thriller and James Newton Howard's score certainly fits the bill.  The score is set around a simple, repetitive, three-note motif that appears, in one form or another, in virtually every track - sometimes cleverly concealed.  Most of the time; however, this signature theme, which begs for comparisons to Bernard Herrmann's four-not motif for the Twilight Zone, is played front and center...and, at least on the soundtrack, can get tiresome.   Interspersed with this motif are moments of mystery, moments of an uncertain beauty, but most of all, straight fright!    After all of the thrills and chills, Shyamalan and Howard settle things down in the final track, allowing the audience's and listener's heart-rate to slowly return to normal.  Beyond the John Williams (Close Encounters) and Bernard Herrmann comparisons and contrasts that will inevitably formulate in some listener's minds, James Newton Howard's score is a thorough experience of suspense music.  The initial "signs" of this score might seem slightly disappointing, but with repetitive listens, the subtleties of Howard's craftsmanship will become apparent and have to be appreciated.

Track 1 - Main Titles  |  Track 3 - Roof Intruder  |  Track 6 - Baby Monitor  |  Track 11 - Asthma Attack

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Eight Legged Freaks by John Ottman

Eight-Legged Freaks by John Ottman - August 1, 2002

The somewhat notorious producer duo of Devlin and Emmerich bring the B-movie into the 21st Century with Ellory Elkayem's Eight Legged Freaks.  Spiders + Toxic Water + Unsuspecting Towns-people = ???  Well, of course the answer is clear as this is the classic B-movie-premise from the 50's and 60's - and that is what Eight Legged Freaks is - but with the addition of advanced special effects of the 21st Century...and a composer that could hardly be relegated to "B" status.  Composer John Ottman does follow suit with his comedic, orchestral score.  As one might expect, this score is literally crawling all over the place: fanfares, marches, ballads...and sometimes within a single track!  For those with an appetite for unpredictable, even skitzophrenic, film music with a cartoonish flare, Eight Legged Freaks will surely tickle.  While Ottman should be commended on being able to successfully compose within the confines of this box-office disappointment, Eight Legged Freaks is not really much of a musiscal-pacifier until Ottman's X-2 (X-Men 2) score is comes around in 2003.

Purchase at Varese Sarabande

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