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Spider-Man by Danny Elfman

Spider-Man

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Spider-Man (Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman

Spider-Man
Composed by Danny Elfman
Sony Classical Records (2002)

Rating: 7/10

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Listen to this soundclip of Spider-Man Main Title

Listen to this soundclip of Spider-Man Parade Attack

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“ I think you will find the music a very striking presence. Fortunately, the collaboration of Raimi and Elfman produced quite a good movie in SPIDER-MAN, and let’s hope they stick with a successful formula for the sequel.  ”

Summer of the Spider
Review by Steve Townsley

Album Produced by Ellen Segal and Danny Elfman
Score Conducted by Pete Anthony
Orchestrations by Steve Bartek, Mark McKenzie, Edgardo Simone and David Slonaker.


SPIDER-MAN is something of a pop-historical figure. An ongoing success in the comics industry, he has also enjoyed a multi-media existence in animated and live-action programming, as well as the occasional computer game. Granted, he doesn’t have the indomitable longevity of Superman or the brooding angst of Batman, nor is he a societal outcast like the mutants of X-Men. Like most of his illustrated contemporaries, he is an solitary orphan raised by caring guardians, a prototypical hero-type, though he remains a unique invention within the realm of superherodom. But as his predecessors met with renewed success on the silver screen, the audience was primed for the cinematic arrival of “Spidey”.

After some debate, the directing reins fell to Sam Raimi, whose innovative (and I’d even say “quirky”, though Tim Burton and Richard Donner could also be “quirky” in that regard) style suited SPIDER-MAN excellently. An interesting choice, however, was made in choosing Danny Elfman to score the film. Raimi has worked with Elfman to great effect previously, Elfman’s repertoire speaking for itself. Many are already aware that he is not a stranger to the superhero genre, even with Raimi’s own super-creation, Darkman. However, having already earned his wings with Batman, SPIDER-MAN is more silver-lining for Elfman.

An avid listener, even an avid Elfman-listener, might approach this score with a hesitant skepticism, fearing his retread on older territory. Certainly a valid fear, though Elfman is quite adept at providing an heroic energy to his score, and it is evident from track one. One might find it impossible to score a spider-movie without strings, but rather than the pizzicato-plucking so traditionally featured in nature documentaries, Elfman’s Main Title strings “swoop” and build, as Elfman’s stylistically familiar choir joins in support. Elfman’s Spider-man theme dwells in rising minor chords, and as such, does not overtly suggest heroism, but does appropriately imply power, as consistent with the theme of the film (and let’s remember it again, here: “With great power comes great responsibility.”)

In “Costume Montage” (track 3), perhaps the most fun and memorable piece in the score, a twangy guitar punctuates the Thomas Newman-esque percussion, as this homage to SPIDER-MAN’s comic-book origins plays on screen. This is a great piece because it is a musical montage, and thankfully, scored rather than suppressed beneath one of the inevitable pop songs that found its’ way onto the sadly inevitable “Inspired by” album.

Interestingly, an almost-heroic moment is introduced in the first seconds of “Parade Attack” , as the chords build. This is a wonderful use of misdirection however, as those chords signal the approach of the villainous Green Goblin. The suspense builds before climaxing and resolving in a gentle, pensive theme that is almost-but-not-quite a love theme for Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson.

I wouldn’t say that SPIDER-MAN is Elfman’s best score, but it’s definitely a good score, and a solid listen with a lot of re-listenability. I’m going to recommend this to comic-book afficiandos, Elfman endearists, and those who just enjoy summer popcorn-blockbusters and the scores that accompany them. Everyone else might opt for the MTV album, which does feature a couple Elfman cuts as well as an Aerosmith rendition of the old cartoon theme song. If you’ve seen the movie, (and judging by the film’s U.S. gross receipts, you have--twice), I think you will find the music a very striking presence. Fortunately, the collaboration of Raimi and Elfman produced quite a good movie in SPIDER-MAN, and let’s hope they stick with a successful formula for the sequel.


Rating: 7/10


 


"Essentially what we have here is that rarest of summer features: the blockbuster film that delivers on every level, including music. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that this score hasn't received the praise it deserves." ****.5

Ryan Keaveney - Cinemusic Reviews
 

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Main Title 3:30  ****
2 Transformations 3:31  ***
3 Costume Montage 1:19  *****
4 Revenge 6:13  ****
5 First Web 0:56  ***
6 Something’s Different 1:50  ***
7 City Montage 1:37  ****
8 Alone 3:54  ****
9 Parade Attack 3:47  ****
10 Specter of the Goblin 2:32  ***
11 Revelation 2:05  ***
12 Getting Through 7:19  ***
13 Final Confrontation 3:11  ****
14 Farewell 3:02  ****
15 End Credits 1:54  ****
 

Total Running Time (approx)

45 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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