As Robert Townson points out in his notes for this album, Robert Zemeckis and Alan Silvestri are one of the longest running composer director partnerships and aside from Williams and Spielberg, the longest current partnership. Looking down the list of films, the roster is impressive, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and the phenomenally successful Forrest Gump, one of the top ten grossing films of all time. Indeed, Zemeckis has been quietly churning out hugely successful and entertaining films with a popularity to rival any of the biggest directors working today. I wouldn't consider him a 'name' director, but that his films simply appeal to a wide audience and are expertly crafted. To match this, Alan Silvestri has composed some of his most famous themes for Zemeckis' films, although the familiarity of the Back to the Future theme almost certainly forever eclipse the others.
Although Cast Away is prominently displayed on the cover, this only contains the End Credits suite, which contains all the basic thematic material contained in the film - Silvestri wrote only a handful of cues as the majority of the film contains no score at all. His fetching melody won't likely go down as one of his most memorable, but it is quite lovely and seems entirely appropriate. The remainder of the album contains suites and end credits from Silvestri and Zemeckis' other collaboration.
Of course the Back to the Future films all feature with the superb theme from the original followed by an engaging suite from the part two and the exciting Western themed finale to the last part of the trilogy. The much sought after Who Framed Roger Rabbit? receives a short, but wildly entertaining suite with Silvestri simply having a great time. It is almost unfortunate that Forrest Gump and Contact were made side by side since they both contain similar piano themes. Having said that, they are both different emotionally, with Gump being perhaps a little more maudlin than the more wistful Contact. I don't much care for Romancing the Stone which is frankly a bit naff and Death Becomes Her probably marks the only time when both composer and director weren't hugely inspired.
Reactions to Silvestri's score for What Lies Beneath were decidedly mixed it has to be said, but the End Credits contains the thrilling Psycho with brass inspired action motif together with the more subtle murmerings that took up much of the spooky thriller. As Varese have re-recorded suites from Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump and the first two Back to the Future films, I was surprised to find that these are all licensed from the original recordings. I'd have been happy either way, although it has to be said that the far lengthier suite they recorded for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is obviously a much better summary of the score than the less than half length suite contained here. However, that's a truly minor quibble and this is a very entertaining collection of probably Silvestri's best themes. Although there is some overlap, it makes a good companion to Varese's earlier Voyages compilation, another superb collection of Silvestri's finest themes. Highly recommended.