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Amazon: The IMAX Film by Alan Williams

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Composed and Conducted by Alan Williams
Produced by Alan Williams
Released by Ogden Entertainment 1997

Track Title Time Rating Songs of the Mighty River
by Christopher Coleman

With the immense and spectacular format of any IMAX movie comes the need for sound and music of equal depth and power.  This is a tall order for any composer.  Alan Williams was certainly up to the challenge when he put pen to paper for the IMAX exclusive entitled Amazon.

This Academy Award nominated film chronicles the chance meeting of an American scientist, in search of a cure for cure for disease, and a Indian shaman who is on a similar quest.  The unforgettable setting for these intersecting paths is the Amazon basin; home to the towering Andes, encompassing rainforests and the mighty Amazon river.  

Alan Williams takes a not too surprising route of employing various indigenous percussions and and wind instruments in creating a very distinct cultural atmosphere.  At the same time, Williams beautifully layers in cotton-soft strings that help to underscore the poignancy of the land and its peoples.

Track 7, Underwater, will sound very familiar to James Horner fans as it is strangely close to For the Love of a Princess from the Braveheart score.  In a backward way, it is nice to hear someone other than Mr. Horner, himself, "borrowing" on his theme-creating talent.  In any event, it is a short track, but enjoyable.

Not only does Alan Williams create an attractive voice for the Amazon river and the life that teams around and within her, but also is able to kick the score into high-gear with heart pounding rhythms and brass fanfares.  Not at all unlike Trevor Jones technique demonstrated in Last of the Mohicans. If I dare make one more comparison,  elements of another classic score are politely put into the musical mix.  The Zoe, track 11, and Journey's End, track 16, with their choral elements are a close cousin to Ennio Morricone's The Mission.  Still, this track is beautiful in its own right.

Of all the captivating themes contained on this CD, the most memorable theme is the Challawayan shaman, Mamani's theme.  It is this theme that will keep the disc spinning in your player over and over again.  Mamani's theme is heard early and often throughout this score and each time it shows itself it is a delight.  It may have gone on to inspire Mark Mancina for his equally engaging theme for Return to Paradise.

Aside from Mamani's theme, Williams really demonstrates his unique abilities in tracks such as The Dart of Death and The Village.

With a towering five-story screen, a  speaker system that defines the term "surround sound," and majestic images of the untamed land of the Amazon basin,  Alan Williams had a monumental challenge before him.  With such a task before him, he can hardly be faulted for garnering a little support from some of Hollywood's best composers while en route to creating his own songs for one of the mightiest rivers in the world.

 

1 Amazon 1:54 ****
2 Mamani 3:18 *****
3 The Journey Begins 3:26 ****
4 Bolivian Village 1:44 ***
5 The Rain/ Searching for Herbs 3:09 ****
6 Animal Montage 2:05 ****
7 Underwater 1:41 ****
8 The River 2:16 ****
9 Flight 1:47 ****
10 Faces from the Past 2:17 ****
11 The Zoe 3:01 ****
12 Mamani Arrives 3:49 ****
13 The Dart of Death 1:32 ***
14 The Village 2:16 ****
15 Meeting at the Market 2:26 ****
16 Journey' s End 2:22 ****
17 End Credits 2:07 ***
  Total Playing Time 41:03    

Category

Score

 
 Originality 7  

Music Selection

9  

Themes/ Composition

8  

CD Length

8  

Track Order

8  

Performance

9  

Final Score

8  
         
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Composer Alan Williams
Composer
Alan Williams

Amazon: The IMAX Film by Alan Williams

The majestic aspect of this album is difficult to dismiss, and it makes me wish I had seen the film on the big (really big!) screen. I recommend this album to you, IMAX fan or not! It has every element a score for this film should have: native woodwinds, varied percussion, choir, and orchestra. And when combined, Williams provides us with a very enjoyable album.  ****

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

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All artwork from Amazon is exclusive property of Ogden Entertainment (c) 1997.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.