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.