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George and the Dragon by Gast Waltzing

George and the Dragon

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George and the Dragon (Soundtrack) by Gast Waltzing

George and the Dragon
Composed by Gast Waltzing
Moviescore Media (2007)

Rating: 8/10

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“GAST WALTZING's score hits all the right beats for Reeves' quirkily-entertaining film.”

This George is No Drag
Review by Christopher Coleman

The tale of the heroic George slaying a villainous dragon goes back centuries. Although the tale may most often be associated with the period of the Third Crusades, the essence of the myth reaches back to pre-Christian history. The Roman soldier who was to become Saint George had a far different experience to that of the more legendary George. Around the year 300, the poor fellow was tortured and executed at the hands of the cruel Roman Emperor Diocletian for maintaining his Christian faith. George's martyrdom is said to have caused the conversion of other notable Romans. All pretty serious stuff. Now, Tom Reeves' 2004 film, GEORGE AND THE DRAGON, contains the three main elements of the widely adopted legend: a princess, a dragon, and, of course, George. The film; however, is anything but serious on the surface. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON contains a rather interesting cast for a movie that very few have ever seen: Patrick Swayze, Piper Perabo, James Purefoy and Michael Clarke Duncan and even a cameo by Val Kilmer. The film is actually a quaint little adventure-comedy that isn't quite as tongue-in-cheek as say THE PRINCESS BRIDE, but it does have more laugh-out-loud moments than one might anticipate. It's clear that Tom Reeves and co. were not working with a huge budget (that or they spent most of it on their cast) as the production value and CG work leaves quite a bit to be desired. But the film's true value is in its writing and performances (save Patrick Swayze's attempt at a being English Nobility...even fairy-tale-nobility) and its score by GAST WALTZING.

MOVIESCORE MEDIA found this little gem lounging around unreleased and was wise in picking it up and making it a part of their "Discovery Collection." GAST WALTZING has delivered a very entertaining score - start to finish. As with any good knight and dragon movie, the score is ripe with solid character themes and engaging action cues. And beyond many scores of this genre, the composer is able to keep the score engaging throughout, making it one of the best listening experiences of an entire soundtrack that I've had recently.  GAST WALTZING's score hits all the right beats for Reeves' quirkily-entertaining film. You can journey emotionally with the characters while still being able to perceive the director's "winks" to the audience throughout the film through Waltzing's music.

The score is built on a handful of strong themes. Launching the film, we have the Dragon's theme - a piece that is dramatic with a Patrick-Doyle-flare. It's a captivating piece that begins the listening experience quite well, but essentially disappears until "The Dragon" (track 21). George's theme is found quite often throughout the score, but makes its first appearance in "Coming Home" (track 3). It is played predominantly on strings but on occasion is lead on various woodwind instruments. George's theme is generally played with life and vigor and is certainly a highlight of the score. Rather than being a boisterous, aggressive piece (a la Silvestri's Beowulf), Waltzing gives George a simple, quiet theme which reflects his desire to leave the life and adventures of a knight behind and live a peaceful, family life. Another major theme is that of Princess Loona. First heard in "Search Loona" (track 7), her theme is a beautiful little aria performed by Carmen Welter Jander. We hear her theme again at the conclusion of "George and the King" (track 9) as it follows a full performance of George's theme (hinting at the destiny of the the characters eventually crossing paths). While both George's and Loona's theme both have romantic elements to them, it isn't until we reach track 11, "Meet Princess" that we truly have a full love theme. We first hear another soulful performance of George's theme, but instead of giving way to Loona's, we hear her theme layerd on top of his - the two perfectly complimenting one another as they play. This is perhaps the best moment of the soundtrack, but there is much more Waltzing's score has to offer.

GAST WALTZING's action cues are all solid and almost as entertaining as his themes. We have what amounts to the villains theme in "Village Cabillo" (5) and "Hunt Cabillo" (13). This is a lively piece that continues the strong Patrick Doyle vibe established earlier on. Towards the middle of the film we get a couple of comedic-action pieces, "Battle of the Pics (8) and "Egg Roll." These are fun cues that are a couple of those "winks" to the audience. As George and Lord Garth battle a bunch of marauding Pics, Waltzing's can-can plays delightfully in the background - keeping the tone light and helping to reinforce the scenes comedic edge. The final third of the film is dominated by a new action theme. Introduced in "Rescue Princess" (17), we have a great action cue with a heroic edge. Pulsing strings and brass drive the piece as male and female choral accents occasionally come in to add depth. Additionally, the electronic elements heard early on also begin to creep in and through the piece. In track 18, "Heroes" we hear an extension of the newly established action theme. "Heroes" starts to approach a bit of Howard Shore's territory from moments in The Fellowship of the Ring. Track 19 and 20 "Battle and Birth" and "Last Battle" develop this action theme further - introducing a second part which features a more triumphant feel.

The final score track "Love" (24) echoes the journey George takes, even beyond finding his romantic love in Princess Loona. Instead of the this piece being a reprisal of the combined love theme, we hear George's theme plus the dragon's again. Finally, George has come to see and appreciate the value of life, even if it be a dragon's.  Instead of dispatching the poor winged beast, as most versions of the myth go, he spares the dragon.  No.  This version of the story doesn't find George the hero because he vanquishes the dragon, but because he let's it live - which, if there are any serious undercurrents for such a film, is one of the film's main points - tolerance.  As you can tell, I believe this to be a solid listening experience, but there's one last important comment to make.  GEORGE AND THE DRAGON is able to side-step the ever-widening-marketing trap of including a pop tune as the concluding track. Oh it contains a pop tune just like BEOWULF and THE GOLDEN COMPASS, but this time it works.  The song "It Will Always Be With You"  is co-written and performed by Maggie Parke (who happens to also be partner with Waltzing for their own label and music studio based in Luxemborg). It is a simple contemporary song featuring Parke's smooth and unforced vocals which may stir up memories of 90's hit performers Swing Out Sister and Basia.  In the end, GEORGE AND THE DRAGON is an exceptional effort and works, perhaps even better than in-film, as a stand alone listening experience - and right through the final track.
 

Rating: 8/10

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Intro 1:55  ****
2 Titles 0:45  ***
3 Celtic Monk 2:21  ***
4 Coming Home 3:14  ****
5 Village Cabillo 2:02  ****
6 Dragon Horn 0:47  ****
7 Search Loona 1:20  ****
8 Battle of the Pics 3:34  ****
9 George and the King 1:52  ****
10 Cave 2:54  ***
11 Meet Princess 3:07  *****
12 Egg Roll 1:33  ****
13 Hunt Cabillo 2:28  ****
14 Monastary 1:21  ****
15 George Sad 2:00  ***
16 Kidnap 0:54  ***
17 Rescue Princess 3:19  ****
18 Heroes 1:48  ****
19 Battle and Birth 3:45  ****
20 Last Battle 4:55  *****
21 The Dragon 1:07  ****
22 George and the Dragon 3:56  ****
23 Last Ride 1:18  ****
24 Love 1:37  ****
25 It Will Always be You 5:30  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 59 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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