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The Dish by Edmund Choi

Success Down Under
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

The Dish by Edmund Choi

The Dish original soundtarck  by Edmund Choi  from Amazon.com

 

Category

Score

Originality 7
Music Selection 7
Composition 8
CD Length 7
Track Order 7
Performance 8
Final Score 7/10

 

 

Real Audio Clips

 

Track 26 - The Day the World Stood Still

Track 27 - The Pictures Came from Parkes

 

 


Composer 
Edmund Choi

 

Quick Quotes

"Not a ground breaking album by any means, but an enjoyable listen, unless you're particularly put off by the similarity to James Horner's score. I suppose it's almost a mirror sequel to Apollo 13, telling the space race story from a totally different perspective. The enjoyable collection of songs are an above average collection and added together with Choi's endearing music and undemanding, but charming album.." ***

Tom Daish - Soundtrack Express Reviews The Dish

 

 

Conducted and Produced by Edmund Choi
Performed by The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; The Australian Boys Choir; Tina Arena
Released by Varese Sarabande Records May 2001

Composer Edmund Choi began garnering attention in the film music world with his spirited score for director M. Night Shyamalan's 1998 film Wide Awake.  Even with a high quality effort like Wide Awake, Choi has not become one of the most familiar composer names floating about Hollywood.  This is a real shame because by his previous effort and now his latest, The Dish, it is obvious that Edmund Choi holds a boat load of talent that Hollywood would do well to tap into.

The Dish has gotten a good share of attention...mostly down under in Australia.  There, the film was warmly received by audiences and highly praised by critics.  It nabbed two Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards in 2000.  The first award came for best screenplay and the second was for Edmund Choi's wonderful score.  The film itself takes a humorous look at the role a large relay dish in Australia played in the famous Apollo 11 landing on the moon.  More specifically, the film tells the story behind the use of the dish in relaying Astronaut Neil's Armstrong's famous moon-speech to the rest of the world.

The Dish's soundtrack is divided into two sections.  The first begins with seven tracks of period pop and rock tunes.  This segment; however, unexpectedly concludes with a beautiful aria from Cherubin performed by Dawn Upshaw.  The track actually facilitates a nice transition into the second section - Edmund Choi's enticing score.  While these classic rock tracks help build the setting of this historical event in the film, most film music enthusiasts may find the first seven tracks a small annoyance.  Thankfully, these tracks are easily bypassed as the soundtrack does not mingle period tracks and score together.

The most obvious characteristic of Choi's score is its similarity to James Horner's score for Apollo 13.  This inspiration is certainly acceptable and fitting, however.  While many criticize James Horner for "copying" himself far too often, it is nice to hear, in a strange way, another composer so clearly mimic Horner's style...and still produce a fine score in its own right.  Choi develops several themes for the score.  The main theme is brought to the forefront in track 9, Main Title - The Dish.  The theme is strongly Americana and Choi brings back his distinctive use of boy choir and harp as used in Wide Awake.  Signaling the heroic and military elements of the film, the track ends with a solo trumpet playing the main theme and does so again in launching the very next track, The Prime Minister Calls (2). 

Contrasting the inspirational main theme are two secondary themes which represent the Australian farmland backdrop.  The first is heard in The Sheep Paddock and also in the following two tracks.  Like the other, Bob's Theme (14), demonstrates a Celtic influence and it is this element that makes for an ideal contrast to the more determined and militaristic tracks.

Aside from the components mentioned above, Choi's music for the most intense and suspenseful portions of the film (Blackout (18) and Moving the Dish (25)) take on another clear Horner characteristic.  With cymbal and anvil crashes and bell tolls, one would swear that this was a Horner score.  Even further, Choi utilizes a solo female voice, Tina Arena (still another Horner allusion from The Mask of Zorro) to sing a new wordless theme towards the end of the film and soundtrack - The Day the World Stood Still (25) .  With percussions, light strings and the Australian Boys Choir accompanying, the track parallels that of Apollo 13's end credits which featured the voice of Anne Lennox.

In the end, The Dish is a satisfying listen.  Despite the first half of the CD being comprised of mostly period-pop music, the release by Varese Sarabande contains just enough of Edmund Choi's score (some 25 minutes) to be a worthwhile investment. One element that is surprisingly missing from this score is anything that suggests that the setting is Australia - no didgeridoos here.  A subtle inclusion of some indigenous instruments would have added another interesting layer to this score.  This release, as a whole, suffers some as the period-music-to-score ratio is a little out of balance.  Thus, it's 7/10 final rating.  Despite so many sub-one-minute tracks, Edmund Choi's score by itself would receive an 8/10 rating.  For fans of Horner's so-called "glory days," The Dish not only offers a nice reminder of James Horner's Apollo 13 score.  Still, Choi's score has enough of its own character to be a delight all on its own. 

 

 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 The Real Thing - Russel Morris 6:18  **
2 Get Together -
The Youngbloods
4:37  ***
3 Classical Gas - Mason Williams 2:57  ***
4 The Love One -
The Loved Ones
2:51  **
5 Good Morning Starshine - Oliver 3:39  **
6 The Wings of an Eagle - Russell Morris 3:55  **
7 A Taste of Honey -
The Peter Sullivan Band
2:29  **
8 Lorsque Vous N'Aurez Rien A Faire' From Cherubin -
Dawn Upshaw
2:59  ***
9 Main Title - The Dish 2:21  ****
10 The Prime Minister Calls 0:31  ***
11 The Sheep Paddock 0:49  ****
12 Our Vital Contribution 0:55  ****
13 Parkes 0:50  ***
14 Bob's Theme 0:57  ****
15 Glenn and Janine 0:34  ***
16 The World Waits 1:15  ****
17 The Ambassador Arrives 0:45  ***
18 Blackout 0:53  ****
19 Bullshitting NASA 0:32  ***
20 A Commitment to NASA 0:51  ***
  21 Scanning for Apollo 11 1:05  ****  
  22 A Brief Listen 0:32  ***  
  23 I Know Where Apollo 11 Is 0:43  ***  
  24 The Wind 0:37  ***  
  25 Moving the Dish 2:06  ****  
  26 The Day the World Stood Still (The Australian Boys Choir featuing Tina Arena) 4:33  *****  
  27 The Pictures Came from Parkes 1:57  ****  
  28 Happy Birthday Cliff 2:20  ****  
 

Total Running Time

49:03  

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

Referenced Reviews
Apollo 13 

 

 

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