Absolutely one of Elfman's Best
gesualdo77 | Kirksville, MO United States | 04/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1996 film "Mission: Impossible" is, with the exception of a convoluted plot, far-and-away superior in every respect to it's 2000 sequel. This is due in no small part to Danny Elfman's contribution (compared to the drivel that Hans Zimmer wrote for M:I 2 - and I LIKE Zimmer!). This is one of the first scores in which one begins to hear Danny Elfman in his truly mature style. The entire score is built on a small amount of musical motives or cells from which Elfman develops a seemingly endless amount of musical material that makes this score interesting from both an "I-work-well-for-the-film-I-was-written" film perspective and a composition perspective (I'm a composer, of course I pay attention to these things, too!). The CD is a first-rate listen and is full of wonderful orchestral/electronic colors (a hallmark of the Elfman technique). Every track is wonderful and the CD never gets old. It is dense and complex and isn't overly melodic. That's not necessarily Elfman's style, though. He'll take a cell of 4 or 5 notes and string them together in different ways to work out his material. Also, what I found so wonderful about both the score in the film and the album is Elfman's decision (probably not entirely his) to limit the usage of Lalo Schifrin's original theme. I think that this lent the film a sense of "we're not trying to rely too heavily on our predecessor" atmosphere and it paid off wonderfully. For much of the score Elfman chooses to rely on his own ideas and several cues where certain bits of music from "The Plot" from the original TV series show up (although not much). That being said there are several standouts on the album. "Sleeping Beauty" starts off with a nice nod to Schifrin's music for the TV series with clipped militaristic percussion. "Red Handed" is simultaneously moody and urgent with a wonderful version of Schifrin's theme interpolated nicely rather than just going for the jugular and quoting it directly (this score is more subtle than that). "Mole Hunt" is a tension-wrought suspense cue in which Hunt and Kittridge begin their game of cat-and-mouse. "Betrayal" is without a doubt the most haunting and beautiful cue on the album with orchestra, women's chorus, and an electric bass providing an insistent, repetitive pattern - a truly beautiful sound. "Train Time", "Menage a Trois", "Zoom A", and "Zoom B" constitute the energetic climax of the film with some great, if bombastic, action writing. "Zoom B" is where Elfman finally let's it all hang out with his version of the "Mission: Impossible Theme". Overall it captures perfectly the sense of the original series and the genre of the '60s spy-thriller in general. I've had this CD in my collection ever since it came out shortly after the film and I still make time to listen to it on a regular basis. Every time I listen to it I just sit there and, when it's finished playing, wonder where the last 53 minutes went. It always leaves me wanting to hear more. It may take some time to develop a sense of just how complex and dense and wonderfully creative this score is. However, the time spent appreciating it will be time well spent. This score is truly a masterpiece of Elfman's oeuvre."
Brandon Cutro | Tyler, Texas United States | 02/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The ever dependable Danny Elfman took over scoring roles after Alan Silvestri's score was rejected by director Brian De Palma. Here, Elfman provides all the tools necessary for a great action/suspense score. Lalo Schifrin's famous Mission Impossible theme is present only 3 times in this score. It is presented in full in "Mission: Impossible Theme", subtly quoted in "Red Handed", and heard in full at the end of "Zoom B". Replacing the famous Mission Impossible theme is Elfman's own suspense/thriller theme that is used in several, if not almost every track. While not as good as Schifrin's theme, Elfman's theme is still good in that it captures the twists and turns of the film's plot. An interesting and unique thing about this score is that all of Elfman's creative orchestrations can be heard. The music is mainly percussive in nature with strings and brass. "Sleeping Beauty" opens the score with a thrilling percussion solo, which leads to Elfman's main theme. "Red Handed" contains flutes that sound like a cuckoo clock (listen to see what i'm talking about before you decide that i'm crazy). "Big Trouble" is a great action cue with chasing strings and plenty of percussion. Elfman saves the real action music till the end. "Train Time" is an explosive brass filled action cue with a 4 note motif played really loud. "Zoom B" is the best action cue by far with plenty of knockout action music that leads into an explosion of Elfman's main theme on brass, which then leads to Schifrin's legendary theme that closes off the album. All in all, a terrific score, which although largely underuses the legendary Mission Impossible theme, still stands as a solid original work. A solid recommendation."
A very slick action score
DocTodd | Honolulu, HI | 08/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This score is great. Danny Elfman makes ingenious use of Lalo Schifrin's original theme as well as the music from "The Plot." With regards to the latter, it's a short motif that Elfman expanded into a very sharp and exciting motif in tracks 1, 3, 9, 11, and 15. The percussion cadence that opens the score is great. Throughout the score, Elfman really gets into a groove, making liberal use of electronic percussion as part of his musical palette. I especially enjoyed the tension filled caper music in track 3. There are some pretty dark and edgy moments in the score, particularly tracks 4, 6, and 10. Track 6 is great for the way Elfman builds up the tension and conveys Ethan Hunt's growing anger and resolve to act. Track 10 is outstanding, with a haunting choir and a throbbing electronic bass line.. very chilling. Elfman also gives some hints of romance in tracks 5 and 16. Track 15 has a very Bernard Herrmann-like opening... a thunderous brass motif that gives way to some really slick suspense writing and a clever use of the MI theme. Finally, the last two tracks are pure Elfman "bombastic action music mode." Overall this is a great score that has everything an Elfman fan can enjoy."