Danny Elfman Terminator Salvation Genres:Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks The Terminator franchise, whose first three films have grossed more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide, has been reinvented and reinvigorated on screen and on album with its fourth installment. Featuring an origin... more »al score by four-time Oscar® nominee Danny Elfman (Milk, Big Fish, Good Will Hunting, Men In Black) and a flashback from Alice In Chains, Terminator Salvation ? Original Soundtrack honors the past but begins again. Capturing what director McG calls ?the delicate nature of humanity and the unrelenting brutality of the machines,? Elfman?s synthesizer/orchestral score for Terminator Salvation elevates and expands the sweeping soundscape of one of the most successful series of films in history.« less
The Terminator franchise, whose first three films have grossed more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide, has been reinvented and reinvigorated on screen and on album with its fourth installment. Featuring an original score by four-time Oscar® nominee Danny Elfman (Milk, Big Fish, Good Will Hunting, Men In Black) and a flashback from Alice In Chains, Terminator Salvation ? Original Soundtrack honors the past but begins again. Capturing what director McG calls ?the delicate nature of humanity and the unrelenting brutality of the machines,? Elfman?s synthesizer/orchestral score for Terminator Salvation elevates and expands the sweeping soundscape of one of the most successful series of films in history.
Alan Stowe | 05/20/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Danny Elfman fan since I was a kid, he scored much of my beloved childhood films (Batman, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before X-Mas). I've watched him advance from just a lot of wonk bonk wonk bonk wonk bonk and occasional spits of chorus to some amazingly deep orchestrations like his heavy handed Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks, Hellboy 2 and even Wanted scores, which prove he can hit a range of emotion and setting than 99% of composers. Corpse Bride the score was AMAZING despite how eh the movie itself was.
So wtf happened here Danny? I got worried the second he said he'd use the theme "if appropriate" in interviews when his signing on to this got announced. Brad Fidel's scores for T1 and 2 were amazing due mainly to how understated they were. The more understated they were, the more intimidating they became. The Arnold T-800 had his own sort of repetitive beat theme which perfectly told you he was mechanical, seemingly unstoppable and damn scary. The overall Terminator theme was strangely and welcomely emotional, speaking to the weight of the circumstances and how the overall plot was to save mankind. In T2 you got the T-1000's more wave pulse like theme, a slow drone getting louder and fading out, louder and fading out. Again, creepy, repetitive and mechanical, but smoother than the Arnoldbot theme, symbolizing his shape shifting and advanced design. The various assemblies of percussion Fidel used for incidental pieces were as intricate as the Terminator Endoskeletons themselves. They created drama, horror, tension, humanity... whatever the films needed he expertly delivered.
Brad McCreary, who did the TV show's score, took his ques from Fidel while adding his own themes for Sarah and John that were quite emotional and fitting. So much so that the only reason I started watching the show was due in large part to McCreary's amazing score which I stumbled on accidentally (check out the amazing mechanical breakdown during the "Bike Chase" which border's on avante garde at moments, that's what two machines fighting should have playing over them). McCreary did his all to perfectly capture the feel of the original scores while still adding a lot of very nice material to the mix.
So how in the hell did someone as amazing as Danny Elfman manage to accomplish neither? This is the sort of bland action scoring that's a dime a dozen in Hollywood. There's some interesting uses of the Terminator theme's tune in the tracks "Salvation" and in the one with an accoustic guitar (I forget the name) but it sounds like he's either flipped the notes or the chord progression, I can't quite tell. I'm not a music major. All I know is that I had to hunt with a very keen ear just to catch the buried touches of those themes he saw fit to grace us with. The only theme he really does use is a variation of the T-1000's wahhhhhhh a wahhhhhhh a theme. That's sort of become the oh s*** a terminator is chasing me theme, which is fine. And he does a lot with it on the Harvester track. But that's really all he does. Honestly, he could have completely re-themed the whole franchise and I wouldn't have minded if it had actually gone somewhere. He's done some amazing work in the past but this is far far far away from it. This is the sort of art you stumble on and say... something happened here, fight with the director, too many cooks advising in the kitchen... something. I don't know. But its horribly disappointing that, first, there's little to no nods to Fidel's amazing work and, second, Elfman doesn't add anything to justify NOT using the old themes.
Don't know what happened, but I hope if a sequel gets off the ground they can get somebody who gets it better. At this point, I'd recommend McCreary as a replacement, he gets it. That soundtrack is certainly one of the very best TV scores I've ever heard and very very good in the field of scores in general.
At least next year Elfman will have Burton's Alice to play with. He'll knock that out of the park.... its just too bad he couldn't here, its a serious let down for me as both a hardcore Terminator and very hardcore Elfman fan."
Lacks the best part of the whole soundtrack
Rokit | 06/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Saw Terminator: Salvation and the very next day bought this soundtrack. What made me want to buy it was the awesome score during the opening credits, specifically the very end when you hear the main Terminator theme found in all the movies.....clank clank...clank......clank clank.............clank clank...clank.......clank clank. It was arguably done the best and sounded the best out of all the movies. It only lasts for a few seconds, but that alone would have justified the cost of the soundtrack. Unfortunately, whoever was involved with putting this soundtrack together said, "Nah, lets not include the coolest part of the whole soundtrack in the release." Whoever that was I'd like to just give a sarcastic thank you. I mean what a disappointment. What a let down. This is such a serious violation that they need to just scrap the current release and make a new version with that piece included. That is what defines a Terminator movie. I still can't believe it's not in there. Tell me it was political so I can be mad at the system, because I truly think any sane person would have included it. If politics takes the best part out of the whole soundtrack, then it's time to get rid of politics. I gave it 3 stars because it's still the Terminator and I think any fan would enjoy listening to it."
Where is the opening drum roll???!??
BigRob | Wichita Falls, TX | 05/25/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I was extremely disappointed with the opening track. When I saw the movie, the opening track has the familiar drum track from all the terminator movies towards the end of the song. The soundtrack for some reason left it out. Now the opening track sounds like something left over from the batman movies!!!"
Its a new theme and it works!
trustfundbaby | Austin | 12/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I almost didn't buy this score because of the downbeat reviews (even though it was rated at 3.5 stars), but I took a chance because, for some reason, I liked the movie more than I should have. You'll read a lot about how Danny Elfman spit in the eye of Brad Fiedel and the entire Terminator franchise by coming up with his own theme for this movie. I don't agree with the 'Elfman is arrogant' sentiment ... here's why ...
If you're a fan of the Terminator franchise, then you'll understand that this movie differs from the first two (I choose to ignore the 3rd, because its a black mark on the franchise and should never have been made) in two critical ways ... the setting (this is set in a post apocalyptic future, where the others where set in the 'present') and the fact that the first two are mainly pursuit minded (evade the T101 and T1000). I think the Elfman theme for Salvation is so great because it keeps that in mind.
The theme and the entire score is very dark ... but not in a frantic way, like the first two. Its a lot more foreboding and heavy. There are these big heavy thumping motifs that run through the whole thing that just add to the sense of dread ... In fact the big heavy sounds that he uses in the opening theme, at the start of "The Harvester Returns" and in "No Plan" (they were heavily used in the trailer to transition from one cut of action to the next), where you can almost actually feel that sickening feeling in your stomach that the humans must have felt when the big machines show up to grab/kill them in the movie, were what made me seek out the score in the first place.
The theme also does a good job of accounting for the presence of the machines (probably because they are a bigger presence in this move, quantitatively, than in the first two). There are a lot more sounds and strains that seem to represent the machines, and I like that a lot.
Remember what I said about Salvation not being 100% a 'pursuit' movie? ... well the parts that involve pursuit actually do really well too ... I keep going on and on about "The Harvester theme" but its really good ... starting out with the initial dread of realizing that the Harvester has arrived to reflecting flight of Reese and Wright, from said Harvester and motobots.
A lot of movie scores I've listened to don't do a good job of keeping the entire score fluent, thematically, but Elfman does a great job of keeping the main theme running through the entire score without getting you tired of it ... that in itself is a massive achievement to me. Even the last piece "Rooster", a rock song ... while a sharp departure from the entire score, still ties in with the hopeful motif that colors the more heroic-sounding parts of the score. Which brings me to my next point ...
I can understand wanting to stay true to the Terminator franchise but I feel that using the theme from those movies would have either restricted Elfman, or made the score disjointed. A good example of this is the Mission impossible scores (MI3 ... seem to lack a direction) and Halo ... (2 and 3 sound the same). The truth is that your liking of this score will COMPLETELY depend on how much you like Elfman's main theme ... if you don't like it ... it will be a 3 stars or less type of soundtrack to you. If you love it like I did ... you'll probably really enjoy the whole thing."
The soundtrack to "Terminator: Salvation" is excellent!
Kris King | Malone, NY USA | 05/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The soundtrack to "Terminator: Salvation" is excellent! This is another impressive score from Danny Elfman. All of the tracks are here are excellent, especially the classic "Rooster" by Alice In Chains.
Track Listing 1. Opening 2. All Is Lost 3. Broadcast 4. The Harvester Returns 5. Fireside 6. No Plan 7. Reveal/The Escape 8. Hydrobot Attack 9. Farewell 10. Marcus Enters Skynet 11. A Solution 12. Serena 13. Final Confrontation 14. Salvation 15. Rooster - Alice In Chains"