The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen


Varèse Sarabande (0030206649222)
Movie | Release date: 07/29/2003 | Film release: 2003 | Format: CD
 

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.Dawn of a New Century4:28
2.Kenya - Wait for MeLadysmith Black Mambazo3:32
3.Task Requires Heroes4:09
4.Promenade by the Sea2:54
5.Nautilus - Sword of the Ocean3:30
6.The Game is On2:54
7.Old Tiger2:56
8.Capturing Mr Hyde3:29
9.Mina Harker's Secret3:18
10.Phantom's Lair5:30
11.Portrait of Dorian Gray3:40
12.Treachery5:29
13.Storming the Fortress3:55
14.May This New Century Be Yours2:34
15.Son of AfricaLadysmith Black Mambazo2:08
 54:25
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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 07/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Even in summers of poor films, the music has often stood out, but 2003 is turning into something of a disappointment all round. Arguably the season's biggest flop was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (no relation to the hilariously weird black comedy series), which, despite being in yet another season of comic book adaptations, and starring Sean Connery, failed to get good reviews or bums on seats. At the time of writing, it has yet to reach these shores and despite the bad press, I am quietly optimistic that it's better than claimed, as it's an interesting premise - fictional characters from different books come together to fight crime, including Connery's Allan Quatermain, as well as Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, Dr Jekyll, sort of a Victorian version of the X-Men, but with less exciting abilities. Trevor Jones doesn't perhaps seem an obvious choice, but he provides a dark and brooding score, including some action outings that have the kind of thrilling and complex orchestral writing that is so becoming scarce these days.

The opening is especially strong, Dawn of a New Century introduces the robust, if somewhat unexceptional main theme, which sounds great pounded out the brass and percussion of the London Symphony Orchestra. The grim tone is immediately set and then, rather surprisingly, almost ruined. For some reason, two tracks by Ladysmith Black Mambazo are included, which would be a distraction if tagged on at the end (as the second is), but is nearly ruinous at the beginning of the album. I have no great objection to the group, but a capella African vocals do not mix with brooding Trevor Jones. A bit like putting ABBA in Mahler. After the slightly lighter Task Requires Heroes, Promenade is another aside in the form of a faux period song, music by Jones and lyrics by Victoria Seale. Nice enough in itself and at least more suitable than Ladysmith Black Mambazo, but a touch twee against the more modern slant of the score. The rest of Jones' music is, however, often extremely good, notably the action music which is dense and thunderous, seemingly trying to whip up the film's entire energy on its own.

The middle cues do start to drag a little, which is unfortunate. Given the nature of the premise, there seems a good deal of room for a variety of melodic material, but the quieter cues are rather unexceptional at times. There are a few fine moments, notably Old Tiger and Portrait of Dorian Gray, although the latter contains a three note motif disturbingly similar to that ascribed to Harry Potter's nemesis. Storming the Fortress, however, is an exceptional action cue (Jones with just a hint of Elfman) that recalls the bristling style that made Jones' score to Dark City such a thrill ride. Ladysmith Black Mambazo return after the somewhat downbeat finale, May This New Century Be Yours, leaving a slightly curious flavour after the turbulence of the final few score cues. I really wanted The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to be, well, extraordinary; it has the ingredients, but the few dull patches are a disappointment against the score's stronger elements. Jones' work never used to excite me, but now he seems to be full of surprises, as directors are tapping his previously undiscovered potential. Not quite up to Dark City's level of inspiration, but still a fine score with enough thrilling moments that ought not to be missed.

Just as an epilogue to the review; the score was originally released only as a download, but as more and more people pointed out the inadequacy of this policy - long download time, only available in the US, poorer sound quality etc. - Varese were granted the rights to release a CD, which in the US, is only available from their website. However, everyone else can buy it from a shop - remember them? - like in the good old days.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 08/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
In one of the more bizarre marketing decisions in a long time, some executive at Fox decided to make Trevor Jones' score for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen available to the public via Apple's music service iTunes only, meaning that a) only people located in the US would be able to get it and that b) these people need to have Macintosh computers running OSX. Excellent idea, thank you very much. Of course, they soon discovered that this innovative idea would mean that practically no-one would be able to purchase the score and therefore went to record label Varése Sarabande, allowing them to release the score on CD outside the US and sell it online to US residents. Better than nothing, I suppose. But when will the people in the suits learn?

But on to the score. Trevor Jones has written an exceptional score for this film, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore. It's gothic, it's dark and it's lots of fun. A large orchestra - the always excellent London Symphony Orchestra - and choir gives the score the necessary omph, with Jones using mostly brass to great effect. This is an entertaining action and adventure score more than anything else, and therefore has it's fair share of action music. Jones has a very typical style when it comes to action music, which is easy to identify and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is full of it. Lots of punctuated, syncopated brass and percussion, which reminds me of his agressive and dark score for Dark City at times. And it works great. Turn up the volume and this score will knock your socks off. Cues like "The Game is On" and "Capturing Mr Hyde" includes some of the best action music written in a long time.

Being very dark and with a very distinct Gothic sound this is a very fitting score for a film set at the very beginning of the 20th Century. Think From Hell and what the composer did with the score for that film and add tons of great action music and you'll get the score for The League. And if they ever decide to make another Batman flick - but lets hope they don't - Jones would certainly be the perfect choice for that film, judging by this score.

When it comes to thematic material there's no main theme that will jump out at you, although some themes show up from time to time. The opening cue, "Dawn of a New Century" (which features some amazing writing for brass, by the way), presents a catchy and brassy theme, and the excellent action cue, "Nautilus - Sword of the Ocean", features a grand, sweeping theme performed by brass, backed up by swirling strings. Great stuff. But basically there's no central theme, which I don't mind. Lots of composers have a tendency to overuse their main themes - especially when it comes to films like this - but Jones' luckily avoids this trap and instead delivers a score that focuses on texture and sheer power instead of heroic themes.
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Other releases of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003):

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The (2003)
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The (2003)
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The (2003)


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