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Eragon by Patrick Doyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eragon (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle

Eragon
Composed by Patrick Doyle
RCA Records

Rating: 8/10

Buy Eragon by Patrick Doyle  from Amazon.com

 

Listen to this soundclip of ERAGONEragon (373 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of ERAGONBattle for Varden (305 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of ERAGONTogether (309 kb)

 

 

“With a movie as painfully derivative as Eragon, it is all the more amazing that Doyle was able to produce a score that is refreshingly invigorating note after romantic note.”

To Eragon is Human, but the Score is Divine
Review by Christopher Coleman


Composer Patrick Doyle brought himself back to the forefront of film music - a place he has earned the right to occupy - through, what was one of 2005's best scores, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, and likewise one the best of his distinguished career. Yet even before delving into yet another new, big-budget, fantasy-franchise, Patrick Doyle delivered a surprisingly entertaining score for NANNY MCPHEE in early 2006. The quality of these two major projects gave little cause for intrepidation when it was announced that Patrick Doyle would be providing the musical magic for the highly anticipated film adaptation of author Christopher Paolini's first book, ERAGON. In fact, there was quite a bit of jubilation over it.

The fourth feature film of the Harry Potter franchise was aided immeasurably by Doyle's fresh and fantastic score. His music helped give the film franchise a much needed breath of fresh air. Far beyond endless variations of John Williams' quaint Harry Potter theme, Doyle added several new layers of depth and interest - something that Mr. Williams used to revel in. One has to guess that the Potter franchise accidentally cast some dark spell upon themselves as early reports tie one "Nicholas Hooper" to the next Potter film - THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. With Patrick Doyle's work for The Goblet of Fire, one is forced to ask two questions: "What are you thinking?" and "Nick who?" Perhaps the answer will reveal itself in time...for now, we have ERAGON.

How strange the fates of the film music composer. From one of 2005's most highly rated films, Harry Potter, to one of 2006's most highly hated, ERAGON - composer Patrick Doyle manages to provide one of the few saving graces for a film that clearly should have stayed in the oven of originality a while longer.  That yeast clearly didn't finish making its way through the script.  Still, even the lead weight of ERAGON, the film, could not keep it's score from mounting up on lofty dragon's wings and blaring the praises of composer Patrick Doyle.

With a movie, as painfully derivative as Eragon, it is all the more amazing that Doyle was able to produce a score that is refreshingly invigorating note after romantic note. After the rousing beginning of "Eragon" (track 1), Doyle immediately arranges the theme into a beautifully idyllic ballad in "Roran Leaves" (track 2). This main theme provides a strong backbone for the score and it makes numerous appearances throughout. Doyle's score is truly ripe with beautiful moments. From the aforementioned, "Roran Leaves" to "Saphira's First Flight" to "Passing the Flame" to the emotional "Saphira Returns," Doyle helps to solidify the sentiment of each respective scene. Simply put, without Doyle's contribution, audiences would have an even harder to time taking the story's journey.

Contrasting the melodic, dare I say, near-masterpieces, Doyle delivers solid action cues and themes for young Eragon's opposition (albeit, not the most sinister villain-theme ever produced). Durza, the evil sorcerer, and his mercenaries, the Ra'zac, are musically treated with somewhat-dark, low and droaning motifs, undergirded with poignant percussion. Even so, Doyle's motifs d'evil don't quite make their presence felt as strong as one might hope. Now, if Doyle is a hair off of the mark for the villains, he again comes true with the only real action piece included on the soundtrack CD, Battle for Varden (track 11).  This track is only outdone by this same music as played during the climactic onscreen battle.  Certainly, one wouldn't be ashamed of begging for more this stuff.

The soundtrack comes to a contemporary conclusion with two, pop tracks, which, in the spirit of last year's THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE release, does a decent job of maintaining the overall vibe of the soundtrack despite making a clear switch in musical genre.  First up is Avril Levine's "Keep Holding On" which is sure to help grab the attention of the many teeny-boppers who have flocked to see this film for no other reason than, the new-kid-on-the-block, Edward Speleers, who plays the title role.  Following this One-Tree-Hillish tune comes, the even better, "Once in Every Lifetime," by Jem, which more accurately echoes the story and its message and satisfyingly interprets Patrick Doyle's main theme for Eragon.  It remains a pleasant surprise when producers and labels are able to commingle score and pop tracks that actually work well enough together on a single release.

In the end, ERAGON, the film, falls way short of those films it tries too hard to emulate; however, Patrick Doyle continues his top-notch scoring. Patrick Doyle's score for ERAGON shares many commonalities with some of the best film music of the decade: memorable theme, thoroughly evocative, and thrilling action cues. The book's sequel, ELDEST, coming to fruition as a feature film remains to be seen, yet fans of good film music can at least rejoice at the opportunity of getting more Doyle-fantasy-music, if it does happen. Hopefully, if the producers gamble on the sequel, they'll not gamble with the score's composer.  If ELDEST does find its way to theaters then score fans will hopefully be able to anticipate another winner from Doyle.

Rating: 8/10


Six 2006 Cue Award Nominations:

Best Cue as Heard on Album, Best Score as Heard on Album,
Best Action Score, Most Unobtrusive Pop Song (2), Most Memorable Theme

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Eragon 4:12  ****
2 Roran Leaves 3:22  ****
3 Saphira's First Flight 2:12  ****
4 Ra'zac 2:48  ****
5 Burning Farm 3:08  ***
6 Fortune Teller 3:56  ***
7 If You Were Flying 2:55  ****
8 Brom's Story 2:53  ***
9 Durza 2:20  ***
10 Passing the Flame 3:05  ****
11 Battle for Varden 9:59  *****
12 Together 4:03  ****
13 Saphira Returns 2:18  ****
14 Legend of Eragon 1:49  *****
15 Keep Holding On - Avril Levine 2:08  ***
16 One In Every Lifetime - Jem 4:17  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 55 minutes  

 

   

 

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