Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Daisuke Yano, Keith Emerson, Nobuhiko Morino|
Godzilla Final Wars: Music from the Motion Picture
Genres: Pop, Rock, Soundtracks
James Tortorelli | Murray, KY USA | 10/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Godzilla Final Wars" was the most anticipated Godzilla movie of all time...as well it should have been, being the 50 year anniversary mark of a 27 film franchise. Upon its release, it quickly became the most controversial Godzilla movie of all time...as it well it should be, since it takes 50 years of established routine and turns it all upside down. The music was no exception. A typical Godzilla film will feature an operatic score in the classical style with a standard orchestra, such as the works of Akira Ifukube or, more recently, Michiru Oshima. "Final Wars", however, completely discards the orchestra after the first thirty seconds in favor of a 110-minute long prog-rock odyssey...composed by no less than three people.
The story goes that director Ryuhei Kitamura asked Keith Emerson (former member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer) to compose the score for his Godzilla film, but Emerson was busy on tour at the time. So he supplied Kitamura with some of his material, including some previously-written-and-performed-but-unrecorded pieces, and let him do whatever he wanted with it. Kitamura put it where it fit the film, and called in his usual collaborators, Daisuke Yano and Nobuhiko Morino, to finish the patch-up job.
After reading that, you can understand why I think this is "surprisingly good": because an 80's rock star and the two techno-wizards building on his hastily compiled package of music, on another continent no less, still turned out an energetic, groovy, and supremely entertaining masterpiece.
Emerson's material was reserved for the centerpiece action sequences, such as the battle between Manda and the Gotengo, the Ebirah vs. mutants fight, the motorcycle chase, and the Gotengo's assault on the Xilian mothership. Yano's work focuses more on the monster aspect of things, which he accomplishes through the fusion of techno-beats with choir and orchestra effects. He has the entire final battle pretty much to himself. Morino is content to provide discreet backdrops for the slower, more "important" scenes when plot points are brought to surface, but one must not overlook his impressive effort on the main titles in "The Beginning of the End".
Akira Ifukube's stock "Theme of Godzilla" from "King Kong vs. Godzilla" is used as a very, very brief introduction to the album, before Yano's "The King of Monsters" theme shoves it aside and sets the mood. If there absolutely had to be a rock theme for Godzilla, then Yano nailed it on the head, because this is IT. "The Beginning of the End" uses Ifukube's original Godzilla theme for the rhythm and constructs a complex tapestry of synthetic beeps and buzzes while the choir and string settings play out a chord progression over the hard-to-read-but-still-fun-to-watch credits. Two of Emerson's tracks accompany the Manda vs. Gotengo fight, although "Part 2" is not used in the film and should be considered a bonus track. The scary thing is that these pieces actually convey the feeling of being underwater, which is not something easily accomplished in music that I've heard. From there, Emerson leads us from the "Training Facility Fight" to the "EDF Museum", all the way to "Infant Island", and back to New York in time for Rodan's Attack. The New York sequence begins with a "fake" rap piece (the most bizarre scene in Godzilla history), but soon bursts into a guitar riff joined by stabbing strings and horn blasts, making it one of the more powerful and, on my first listen, unsettling tracks on the album.
Yano heralds the arrival of the Xilians with the chorus-heavy "The Arrival", but soon after that their true, more sinister intentions are exposed, to the tune of Morino's "The Proof" and "Reveal". The end of "Reveal" is one of the more moving segments on the album, as a single soldier holds back a whole swarm of alien-possessed mutants so the rest of the main characters can escape. (It's not exactly the "Burly Brawl", but then again, this IS a Godzilla movie.) Emerson's ambient "High Battle" is simply perfect for the motorcycle chase, and soon we're in the Gotengo dry dock while Morino underscores the tension of the crew as they plan their "Operation: Final War", in which they fly all the way to "Area G" in the South Pole and free Godzilla from his icy prison. Then Yano takes the baton again (or keyboard, whatever they were using) and gives us a short but sweet fanfare fittingly titled "Return of the King". Then it's off to Mount Fuji, where a four-monster rumble/soccer match unfolds to the extremely addicting "Ready for Rumble" riff.
"Kazama's Sacrifice" was the first piece I heard from this score, and it captivated me right away. Don't let the title fool you into thinking that it's a sentimental tune lamenting Kazama's sacrifice. It's a fast-paced electric guitar-laced roller coaster theme highlighting the massive aerial battle between the Gotengo and a swarm of Xilian fighters. "Back in Action", a strange flute and organ piece, shows up for a few seconds while Godzilla kills Hedorah, and is probably just there to evoke memories of Riichiro Manabe's 70's Godzilla scores. Catchy, nonetheless. Yano handles a trio of pieces that sum up the final battle, and Emerson hands us a 4 and a half minute ending theme, which will go down in history as the Godzilla fan's biggest guilty pleasure. (They'll all say that they hate it, but they're probably listening to it on their headphones when no one's looking.)
The bonus tracks are all either by Emerson or Emerson arrangements of Ifukube themes, such as the "Godzilla Main Theme" (love the added horns) and "Monster Zero March". The Monster Zero March actually segues into the Maser March from "Godzilla vs. Mothra" (1992), but it fades out before it completes its cycle. "Awakening G." is an alternate Godzilla theme, from which the Manda vs. Gotengo pieces are derived. "Respect G." is Emerson's take on the Main Titles, which starts with the rock organ of the Ending Title, merges into some sawtooth wave bit for the Mutant Soldiers, then kicks into the Godzilla theme for the opening credits. "First Meeting" is a very short piano piece which sort of acts as a love theme for the film's hero and heroine, and "Cruising the Cirro-Stratus" (misspelled "Crusing" on the album cover) is played for a few seconds in the film at the start of the televised debate on the Xilians...here we have the whole 2:42 of it.
Unlike previous Godzilla soundtrack releases, this album does NOT contain all the music heard in the film. However, given the nature of the music, Yano and Morino were able to edit certain pieces of theirs to make them shorter, without reducing their quality, allowing them to squeeze more music onto the CD. We do not have the conclusion of "The Arrival" (the scene in the UN), nor do we have the repeat of the same theme when the Xilians unleash the monsters and their fighters on the major cities of the earth. There are some nice pieces which I'm sure were written by Morino, the rest of the final battle royale music by Yano, and the climax by Emerson that were cut as well.
The CD inserts are nothing special; there's one in color and one in black and white. The color one appears to list the album staff, and the black and white one gives information on Keith Emerson, Yano and Morino...but it's all in Japanese.
Personally, I enjoyed the movie "Final Wars"; I couldn't stop smiling for the whole two hours. Although some fans are bound to be upset over Kitamura's "bungling" of the series, on the 50th anniversary film no less, this Godzilla fan is satisfied with both the film and the soundtrack."
Mostly Bland, Garden Variety Soundtrack
mnkyking | Syracuse, New York | 08/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw Final Wars one of the things that bothered me most was the music. Though it fitted the style of the movie by being fast paced and modern, it seemed very average, like a score written for some direct-to-video sci-fi flick. It is definate that fans will automatically compare this soundtrack to the work of Akira Ifukube, and that it is all around weaker than Akira's scores (only few of which appear in the film). Even people who have not seen other Godzilla movies and have nothing to compare the music to will find it fairly generic. Of course, there will be many who disagree with me, and if you are one of the many Final Wars fanboys then you will probably want to pick up this soundtrack. For the rest of you, it's not worth it."
A great soundtrack!
M. Pluta | Chicago,IL USA | 05/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A really great soundtrack for a really great movie! I'v been watching Godzilla and Gamera and all them since i was a young tyke. I've got most of the other soundtracks and sound effect cds and this is just another great one for my collection. The music in this soundtrack is very different from any other godzilla movie but is still awesome nontheless. I really like King of The Monsters and Kazama's Sacrifice, both great tracks! If your a godzilla fan, your gonna like this!"