Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within


Sony Classical (0696998969728)
Sony Classical (5099708969721)
Sony Classical (5099708970727)
Movie | Released: 2001 | Film release: 2001 | Format: CD
 

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.The Spirit Within2:05
2.Race To Old New York1:20
3.The Phantom Plains1:42
4.Code Red2:05
5.The Kiss4:14
6.Entrada0:54
7.Toccata and Dreamscapes8:29
8.Music For Dialogues2:18
9.Winged Serpent1:35
10.Zeus Cannon3:42
11.Flight To The Wasteland5:56
12.A Child Recalled2:25
13.The Eight Spirit0:50
14.Dead Rain1:50
15.Blue Light3:29
16.Adagio and Transfiguration5:23
17.The Dream WithinLara Fabian4:43
18.Spirit Dreams InsideL'Arc-en-ciel3:42
 56:42
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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within - 10/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Watching Final Fantasy made my grateful that Pixar got to computed generated movies before anyone else. Had they not, I suspect we would probably be watching third rate CGI sci-fi films instead of witty, funny, moving, digital, yet utterly human family films. If it weren't for the fact that Final Fantasy was not only based on a hugely popular computer game (with a good story of its own so I gather) and that the film cost the annual gross national product of Australia to make, I don't suppose anyone would have cared either way. The fact that it was such an utterly banal, humourless, wooden, below mediocre piece of sci-fi is frankly shameful. It just proves that merely throwing money and state of the art technology at something doesn't make it good. Perhaps the biggest irony is that it probably would have been more convincing and cheaper done as live action, thus cutting out the need to animate people. For my money, the CGI didn't come across as anything special, as unlike Toy Story and its successors, Final Fantasy was attempting realism and the fact that it didn't succeed, made its falseness more distracting.
Anyway, enough ranting and down to one of the highlights of the film, Elliot Goldenthal's score. Goldenthal is becoming a dab hand at sci-fi having provided some sophisticated modernism to Alien 3, Sphere and Demolition Man. For Final Fantasy, the palette is somewhat broader, the mixture of fantasy and epic science fiction invariably being very potent when music is required. Indeed, the listener would be mistaken for thinking that happenings of Biblical importance were transpiring in many of the tracks when I suspect the on screen reality was far less interesting. This is Elliot Goldenthal doing big scoring, but in his own unique way and that means a minimum of obvious melody, but plenty of crushing brass and percussion. The rather extraordinary number of trumpet, horn and trombone players was one of the talking points before the score was released thus the full immensity of the forces is can be only fully appreciated when cranked up to neighbour irritating volume on a quality stereo.

Of course loudness does not make a score good (despite what Trevor Rabin fans may feel), but Goldenthal's compositional technique is amongst the strongest of any film composer alive so he can wield the orchestra and hair raising chorus with just the right touch as to be thrilling, but without the listener merely being overwhelmed with sound. Although less modernistic in its approach than Alien 3 or similar, several segments - most notably the extended, dense and intense Toccata and Dreamscapes - are quite difficult listening, but instant accessibility isn't really Goldenthal's forté. The more emotive and lyrical side of Goldenthal does not come to the fore often, but those moments are just as good as the more obviously impressive. From the wistful distance of A Child Recalled to the build from lyricism to ground shaking climax of Adagio and Transfiguration, the full spectrum of drama from a composer of huge skill is in full evidence for every minute of the running time.

The album closes with The Dream Within performed by Lara Fabian lending her talents to a much more successful song spin off than with John Williams' slightly ill advised For Always from AI. Spirit Dreams Inside is a passable pretty funky rock song which I suspect many will skip, but I found it rather enjoyable. Of course, neither can really compete with the score itself, but are still far better than the average movie pop songs. As with all great scores to lousy films, the music is almost certainly best enjoyed on its own terms. In this instance, I'd suggest that the film simply gets in the way of some superb music. Due to the failure of the film at the box office (albeit not without good reason), the music was passed over for Academy consideration, which just demonstrates further the farce the Oscars continue to be. Undoubtedly one of the finest scores of the year.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within - 06/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
Sometimes when reviewing a CD it seems almost impossible to come up with something interesting to say. Such is the case with Finaly Fantasy. Often this is simply because the music is uninteresting, or even lousy. But that's not it. Not this time. Other times it is just because the reviewer is lousy. But I don't think that's it, either. At least I don't hope so. It can also be this way because... well, because. I don't know! Some of the hardest things when this occurs is to actually start the review. How do you open a review when you don't know what to say in it in the first place? A great tip is to start rambling. It doesn't really matter what you're rambling about, since the reader will read it anyway, thinking that the next sentence will be about the CD they want to know more about. Which is what I'm doing right now, in case you hadn't noticed. It worked, didn't it? Then, you just start the review. It doesn't have to be a smooth transition. The reader won't care, anyway. He or she will just be happy that the rambling is over and the review has finally begun. So, here we go.

I seem to be one of the very few people who don't regard Elliot Goldenthal's Final Fantasy as one of the best scores of 2001. Like I have already stated, it's not a bad score in any way. But for some reason it doesn't succeed in enchanting me the way it seems to have enchanted a great deal of other people. Goldenthal's style is certainly very interesting. Lots of Wagnerian, and other classical, influences, mixed with his own, very distinct, voice, makes this one of the most interesting scores of the year. But not one of the best.

"Race to the Old New York" is an excellent, albeit short, cue with its dark strings and incredibly bombastic brass, with a theme that evokes adventure and heroism, to some degree, showing up later on in the score, as well. "The Kiss" serves as a strong contrast, presenting the scores' love theme, performed on the piano, followed by some wonderful Strauss sounding string phrases. "Toccata and Dreamscapes" offers more avante-garde, dissonant and atonal music, with complex writings for strings, brass and percussion. Not that enjoyable, actually, but certainly very interesting, challenging and complex. Which pretty much sums up the way I feel about the entire score - interesting, challenging and complex. And dark, dramatic and powerful, at times evoking Goldenthal's score for Batman Forever, especially the gothic qualities. All in all, Final Fantasy offers 10-20 minutes of really good orchestral music, but the rest fails to impress me.

What else is there to say...? Well, performed by The London Symphony Orchestra (with what sounds to be an expanded brass section) and The London Voices, the performance is first rate. The sound is excellent, and the package design ok, with a comment by the composer included in the booklet. Which is something that is always very interesting to read.

Closing the soundtrack album are two songs. "The Dream Within", written by Elliot Goldenthal and based on the scores love theme, is performed by Lara Fabian (she's the one singing the song "For Always", written for Artificial Intelligence, by the way). It's actually quite a good song, mostly thanks to the beautiful melody and the instrumental accompaniment. "Spirit Dreams Inside" is performed by L'Arc-en-Ciel. It's nothing to write home about.
World Soundtrack Awards: Best Original Song Written for a Film: "The Dream Within" (Nominee)
The music of this soundtrack was used in:

The Manchurian Candidate (Trailer)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Trailer)

Other releases of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001):

Final Fantasy (2002)


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