Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri



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Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

"Raiding Both Musical Cradles"
Review by Matt Peterson


Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

Tomb Raider:
The Cradle of Life


Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

Alan Silvestri
Alan Silvestri

Category    Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 9
Composition 8
CD Length 8
Track Order 9
Performance 8
Final Score 8/10


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Quick Quotes

"It was a score from which I wasn't expecting much for a film that I had no intention of ever seeing. Ultimately, however, the results surprised me greatly."

John Mullin - Cinemusic Reviews
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life




Music composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri
Produced by Alan Silvestri and David Bifano
Orchestrated by Mark McKenzie, David Slonaker
Performed by The Sinfonia of London Orchestra
Released by Varese Saranbande on August 26th, 2003

Alan Silvestri is no stranger to scoring epic films. However, he has not been known for consistently composing rip-roaring orchestral bombast. Silvestri’s musical resume is dotted with many subdued scores for epic films, such as Cast Away, Forrest Gump and Contact (all projects of director Robert Zemeckis). Glimmers of more standard action scores have been seen in Silvestri’s Back to the Future scores, and even The Abyss. Recently, Silvestri has burst into the more traditional action score realm with his successful The Mummy Returns. Was this outing a fluke? Certainly not. Silvestri continues his musical rebirth with another sequel: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

Alan Silvestri had an interesting summer. After being fired by producer Jerry Bruckheimer from Pirates of the Caribbean and replaced by Klaus Badelt, Silvestri was quickly signed by Paramount to score the Tomb Raider sequel, directed by the hit-and-miss Jan DeBont. While the Media Ventures crew churned out another wholly unoriginal, lackluster score for the otherwise entertaining Pirates, Silvestri let his developing action style expand to new heights with The Cradle of Life. It is one of the pleasant surprises of the year.

What’s truly remarkable about this score is its ability to blend the old with the new: The bombastic, brass heavy orchestral motifs that one comes to expect from an action score have been paired with engaging electronic drum loops and textures, creating a very unique sound that works on many levels. Other composers and scores have combined both worlds successfully, such as Harry Gregson-Williams on Spy Game. However, most scores that utilize this combination tend to bring the electronica to the foreground, leaving the orchestra to fulfill mere underscoring duties. Silvestri has resisted this temptation, using electronics to enhance the orchestral elements, and to provide atmosphere when needed. This combination does not allow the score to sway too far from the electronic style established by Graeme Revell in his first score (which, by his own admission, was a rushed affair). A choir also makes an appearance on several tracks, producing a sense of awe needed for a film of this genre.

Varese Sarabande delivers exactly one hour of score, spread over fifteen tracks. The score is pretty consistent in musical quality, providing a rather balanced listen. Some tracks are more subdued, featuring electronic motifs that clatter on a bit too long without any kind of thematic development. This is fine within the film, but on album, falls short. Overall, there are many great tracks to keep the listener engaged:

Some of the standouts include the epic opening, “The Luna Temple,” Track 1which showcases the score’s range within a mere seven minutes. The five note main theme, first featured in “Opening,” and heard throughout the score, is simple, yet effective. Listen for the synthesized bass line that recurs in later tracks. The best rendition can be heard in the final track, “Lara Croft – Tomb Raider.” One of the major standout tracks is “I Need Terry Sheridan,” which features some great, subdued Eastern-influenced thematic development, with an interesting sense of atmosphere. Parts reminded me of Hans Zimmer’s best work, The Thin Red Line. Ethnic strings are used well in the brief “Arrival in China.” Raging action music is plentiful throughout—orchestral bombast combines with some raging electronic elements to create a series of engaging cues. Some are not as well developed as others: Electronics in “Skydive Getaway” prattle on a bit too long for their own good. The choir is heavily featured in “Orb Transmission.” “Pandora’s Box” is a sweeping, beautiful track that combines elements from Contact, and even a phrase from Michael Nyman’s Gattaca. The score wraps up with an upbeat pair of tracks, including a reprise of the main theme.

Overall, this score is a great listen. I have always been a fan of both electronic and orchestral scores. However, it is rare when the two are fused so effectively. At times this score bears a slight resemblance to Zimmer’s The Peacemaker and the electronica of Phone Booth. However, it eclipses both of these works, and is even more enjoyable than some of Goldsmith’s attempts at blending electronic and orchestral (Total Recall, Star Trek Insurrection). Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life has atmosphere, theme, creativity, and most of all, a sense of originality. I can easily recommend it.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Opening 1:39  ***
2 The Luna TempleTrack 1 7:43  ****
3 Shark Attack 3:18  ***
4 I Need Terry Sheridan 5:41  ****
5 Arrival in China 1:46  ****
6 Captured by the Shay Ling 5:59  **
7 Escape from Chen 4:19  ***
8 Flower Pagoda Battle 5:45  ****
9 Skydive Getaway 2:11  **
10 Orb Transmission 1:42  ****
11 Journey to the Cradle of Life 6:24  ****
12 The Cradle of Life 6:33  ****
13 Pandora's Box 5:24  *****
14 Not Meant to be Found Track 14 0:45  ****
15 Lara Croft - Tomb Raider 0:51  ***

Total Running Time


Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

*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.


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All artwork from Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life  is exclusive property of Varese Sarabande Records (c) 2003. 
 Its appearance is for informational purposes only. Review format version 5.8

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