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Island of the Sharks (Soundtrack) by Alan Williams

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Composed and Conducted by Alan Williams
Produced by Alan Williams and Douglass Fake
Released by WGBH Music and Quinate Publishing 1998

Track Title Time Rating Barry(ed) at Sea
by Christopher Coleman

Composer Alan Williams returns to, quite literally, the "big screen" with his score for yet another IMAX feature film, Island of the Sharks.

With the his 1997 IMAX film score, Amazon, Alan Williams gained valuable experience in composing music for such an overwhelming medium- as most IMAX films are.  Showing inspiration from the likes of James Horner and Ennio Morricone, Alan Williams delivered a truly IMAX-worthy score: big, bold, and memorable!

Williams' return to this larger-than-life- format has presented him with a completely different subject field- the shark infested waters off the of Cocos Island.  

With the surname of Williams and the topic of "sharks,"  one could easily jump to conclusions that the two-note terror-theme from the mid-seventies would surface.  Instead of this much-too obvious connection, Alan Williams takes some inspiration from another master of cinema music, John Barry, for his main title theme.  It is a sweeping performance of heavy strings and deep brass- a sound for which John Barry is definitely identified.  Such a sound is certainly the last thing one would expect when dealing with the almost portentous predator as a its central subject, yet Alan Williams sets the listener at ease with his tender least for a little while.  With scientists trying frantically to change public opinion about the personality and tendencies of sharks, this music might actually be fitting.  Maybe these ancient, water dwelling creatures are innocently soft, mellow, and gentle; just trying to "get by as best they can," as Williams' first two tracks suggest.  Then again...

If sharks are to be involved one knows the intensity of the music is going to change.  Track 3, The White Tips, brings us our initial introduction to the frightful fish.  The mood changes quickly into one  of foreboding.  Williams mixes in wonderful percussions with fairly intense strings.  Together they combine to form a pretty thrilling, albeit short, piece.  Williams gives us several other tracks of menacing music, Marlin Attack, Cave Hunting, Night Hunt and Shark Attack.   All feature the same four note string motif (which might be the closest thing to a Jaws-experience this soundtrack offers).  While the nod to the other Williams might be subtle, there is a much clearer one made to Jerry Goldsmith.  It is enough to make one to ponder the relationship that Hammerheads and Klingons might share.

Contrasted with these more intense tracks are a number of well-dispersed Spanish Caribbean cues.  Sea Stars (track 9) with its Spanish-guitar and giggling flutes, congas, and determined strings  introduces a nice change of pace to the CD.  Following it is the slightly mellower, Sea Turtle and Hermit Crab, the bright Fairy Turne, and the Sea Stars-theme is reprised at the conclusion of the final track, Cocos Island.

Alan Williams, once again, delivers a mighty enjoyable score.  Interestingly enough, the score accompanies yet another IMAX film.  It truly is a toss-up as to which one might consider "better,"  Amazon or Island of the Sharks.  Each has its common-stylistic-ground with other famous composer's works, yet it breathes all on its own as a unique musical experience that any film music lover deserves to hear.   It is a shame that these films do not get the same sort of showing schedule or attendance as a regular release, thus granting composer Alan Williams the exposure he deserves.


1 Main Title 2:04 *****
2 Underwater Currents 3:36 ****
3 The White Tips 1:09 ****
4 Hammerheads 2:00 ***
5 El Nino 1:49 ****
6 Marlin Attack 2:11 ****
7 Dying Corral 1:00 ****
8 Cave Hunting 1:00 ****
9 Sea Stars 1:12 ****
10 Sea Turtle and Hermit Crab 2:14 ****
11 Fairy Turne 0:45 ****
12 Rain and Rebirth 3:00 ****
13 Night Hunt 2:11 ***
14 Hammerheads Return 1:52 ****
15 Marble Ray Romance 2:05 ****
16 Creole Fish 1:17 ****
17 Shark Attack 2:46 ***
18 Cocos Island 2:34 ****
  Total Playing Time 35:13    



 Originality 7  

Music Selection


Themes/ Composition


CD Length


Track Order




Final Score

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Alan Williams
Alan Williams

Island of the Sharks (Soundtrack) by Alan Williams

With the majority of tracks on this promotional release featuring gorgeous thematic performances by 70 players, I highly recommend you contact Intrada Records for a copy of your own... while they last. If not for just the sake of solid IMAX music, the album will provide you with a glimpse of the work of a composer who could produce superior mainstream work in the future. ****

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

Purchase this CD at

Intrada Records



All artwork from Island of the Sharks  is exclusive property of WGBH Music (c) 1998.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.


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