The Scorpion King (Soundtrack) by John Debney

 

 

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The Scorpion King (Soundtrack) by John Debney

"Debney, Where is Thy Sting?"
Review by Steve Townsley

 

The Scorpion King (Soundtrack) by John Debney

The Scorpion King
6/10
The Scorpion King (Soundtrack) by John Debney

 

Category  |   Score

Originality 6
Music Selection 7
Composition 7
CD Length 6
Track Order 8
Performance 6
Final Score 8/10
 


 

 

 

 

 

Real Audio Clips

 
 
 
 

 

 


Composer 
John Debney

 

Quick Quotes


"John Debney's The Scorpion King is no classic, but it's a great ride. There are countless minutes of wild orchestral fun, and a handful that border on exhilarating."
****

Tim Perrine - Cinemusic Reviews The Scorpion King

 

 

 

Music composed by John Debney
Score Produced by John Debney and Michael Mason
Executive Producer – Robert Townson
Orchestra Conducted by Pete Anthony and John Debney
Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony
Released by Varese Sarabande Records - June 18, 2002

Sparking a return to the 1930’s era adventure, The Mummy made a strong entrance in the summer adventure-blockbuster genre-ong enough for a franchise, at least. And it’s been a good run. While fate has yet to determine whether there will be a third appearance of the O’Connell clan vs. Imhotep, there is, for the time being, a merely enjoyable “sword-and-sandal” spin-off, The Scorpion King, introducing us to the legendary, enigmatic Akkadian warrior introduced to us in The Mummy Returns. Portrayed by wrestling superstar Dwayne Johnson (more recognizably, “The Rock”), Mathyus, (more recognizably “The Scorpion King”), is a close cousin to those Robert E. Howard creations, Conan and Kull, each of them with an action-hero physique hailing from some long-lost culture, battling the dark magic forces with wit, heart, and a really big-ass sword. (Except for Kull—he preferred the axe.)

Producer Stephen Sommer’s Egyptological franchise certainly has much going for it, not the least of which is (surprise!) a successive line of talented and capable composers for each outing. Knowledgeable fans were equally thrilled and aghast at The Scorpion King. Thrilled when Cutthroat Island’s own John Debney would undertake composing duties, but aghast when to sate WWF fans, a multi-covered hard rock “inspired by” album would take precedence above Debney’s contribution. Already somewhat soured by the inclusion of a pop song on The Mummy Returns soundtrack, most fans began to lose hope in the musical integrity of the franchise. (One should note, however, that “musical integrity” is a virtual contradiction within the realm of moviemaking.)

Nevertheless, the fairly faithful Varese Sarabande delivered the score album in due time, to those patient souls who still waited for Debney’s contribution. Track one: Blaring Guitar and Percussion!!!

“Boo” Indeed! By this point, (or at least the end of it) I think most fans will realize they aren’t in for a revisit to “Cutthroat Island” anymore, and the handful of people that invested in Joel Goldsmith’s “Kull the Conqueror” will perk their ears up. Moving along to successive tracks, the rock-band percussion is left behind, and Debney’s guitars are used here to suggest the strength of Mathyus, punctuating the musical passages with a gently restrained reverberating chord. The effect lends itself to a sense of awe in the score, and supports it, rather than leads it. Whew, eh?

Track 5, “Pickpockets” is some of that ethnically-tinged “marketplace” music that goes along with every Arabian Nights-type of story, varying in tempo as the lighthearted chase ensues. It’s perfectly sufficient in lending more of that ancient adventure atmosphere to the score, for those who approach the listening experience like a story.

The powerhouse theme here is released in its’ grandeur in track 8, “Mathyus Arises”
Track 2 - Across the Stars, a short, but well stated passage (the awe-inspiring guitar chords return, herein.) More softly, the theme is restated (sans guitar) in the latter half of track 10, “I Had A Vision”, where it functions as a sweeping love theme.

Plenty of admirable choral work closes off the remaining climactic cues, and this is where you’ll finally start to recognize that this is the composer that gave us the epic Cutthroat Island. For the grand finale, the Scorpion King theme is reprised in totality in track 14, a wholly beautiful closure to the album, and one that truly makes the album worthwhile to score fans.

I feel that we, as listeners and purchasers, are quite lucky to have this score album. This is a score that fans of the movie (and its’ respective genre) will love, but orchestral enthusiasts will probably scorn (if for no better reason than the presence of the electric guitar.) Taking into account some of more disdainfully commercial aspects behind the film, I’d say that Debney has done a commendable job with The Scorpion King, and future franchise installments should be as fortunate.
 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 Boo! 1:26  **
2 Main Titles 1:38  ***
3 Night Attack 3:55  ***
4 Vision of Doom 1:05  ****
5 Pickpockets 2:43  ****
6 Valley of the Dead 2:12  ***
7 The Cave 3:38  ***
8 Mathyus ArisesTrack 2 - Across the Stars 1:26  ****
9 Balthazar’s Camp 5:10  **
10 I Had A Vision 2:36  ****
11 I’ve Come For The Woman 3:26  **
12 Die Well Assassin 3:43  ***
13 Balthazar Arrives 3:09  **
14 The Scorpion King 3:26  ****
 

Total Running Time

39:55  

The Scorpion King (Soundtrack) by John Debney

*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
The Mummy  |  The Mummy Returns

 

 

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