The 13th Warrior

Colosseum (4005939603823)
Varèse Sarabande (030206603828)
Movie | Released: 2000 | Film release: 1999 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track   Duration
1.Old Bagdad2:01
4.The Great Hall5:20
5.Eaters of the Dead3:32
6.Viking Heads1:29
7.The Sword Maker2:06
8.The Horns of Hell3:25
9.The Fire Dragon4:53
11.The Cave of Death3:00
12.Swing Across1:49
13.Mother Wendol's Cave4:12
14.Underwater Escape1:36
15.Vahalla/Viking Victory10:35
16.A Useful Servant1:18
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The 13th Warrior - 08/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
The film formerly known as Eaters of the Dead seems to have rather been a complete waste of effort, I for one have only a vague clue as to what it's about. It came and went from theatres too quickly for me to get around to seeing it and apparently no-one else saw it either. I'm not sure how long it was in production, but there was enough time to shoot the film, score it, then re-shoot bits and edit it and then score it again. The poor unfortunate who wrote the original music was Graeme Revell and by all accounts his music was very good. However, Michael Crichten who took over the post production from director John McTiernan choose Jerry Goldsmith to score it. I was rather under the impression that the film was all about Vikings, but evidently it's about Anthonio Banderas' character who isn't a Viking, but joins a group of Viking warriors to kill strange monstors. Or something. The Arabian connection means that the music is rather closer to Jerry's other mega action effort, The Mummy, although I don't think this has faired quite so well. The main theme is eventually introduced after a short build up in Old Baghdad, accompanied by chanting chorus, it is a faintly noble, but not terribly inspired brass/horn effort - quite rightly noted for sounding a bit like some imitation version of Hans Zimmer's Crimson Tide theme - sadly not nearly as good. The theme is used quite often during the score, but always sounds best when presented in very stately fashion such as at the end of Semantics.

Of course, this being a blood and guts kind of film (I assume), there are enough actiony bits to keep everyone happy and you can't go wrong with a Jerry action score nine times out of ten. This kind of film leaves very little room for any kind of subtlety in the scoring choices so anything less than the orchestra going at full tilt would seem like a waste of resources. The first major, extended action cue is The Fire Dragon which lets rip with brass, percussion, running strings. The usual. The lengthy penultimate cue is an extremely well sustained action cue that batters away, to be capped off by a brief coda in the final track. There are plenty of more low key moments, but they are all built up in a quietly epic way, the chorus still appearing in tracks that, compared to the rest, are quite intimate. Some of the low choir sections actually have a slightly liturgical sound to them, which isn't an especially obvious move, but does make for an interesting alternative to the deep chanting during the more exciting moments. The battery of ethnic percussion seems to include the odd hint of the percussion used in Mulan as well as the aforementioned score to The Mummy.

This isn't a score that is likely to disappoint action fans, it has a decent, just about right running time (as, like The Mummy it was recorded in London). Jerry doesn't use choirs in quite the same gung-ho fashion as some of his colleagues, but when he does so, the effect is most impressive and always adds a touch of the epic sound to any musical canvas. There isn't anything terribly new or inspired about The 13th Warrior; odd bits of other, better Jerry scores make appearances - some have compared it with The Wind and the Lion - but I would suggest The Mummy was more akin to that score than this one is. However, for sheer spectacle and entertainment value it rates pretty highly as yet another well crafted, exciting and exhilarating album that only Jerry Goldsmith manages to do quite well and on a regular basis.
The 13th Warrior - 08/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
Yet another powerful action score from Jerry Goldsmith, quite similiar to his music for The Mummy. The film, based on a novel by Michael Crichton and directed by John McTiernan, deals with Arabs and Vikings confronting man eating monsters. There have been better ideas made into film, in my opinion...

Goldsmith's main theme is a beauty. It's a lyrical piece, filled with adventure and power, mostly performed by heavy brass, supported by equally heavy orchestral chords. At times it sounds very much like something Hans Zimmer would write. In fact, when the male choir kicks in, along with the brass, it is hard not to think of Zimmer's score for Crimson Tide.

The music is mostly very loud - it is pretty much non-stop action from start to end, which frankly can be a little monotonous at times. Some more quiet, soft parts would have been a welcome addition. That is one of the reasons Goldsmith's music for The Mummy was so good - the combination of action, adventure and romance. The 13th Warrior offers little variation, and is constructed around the formula Main Theme - Action - Main Theme - Action. Now, don't get me wrong here. There are other themes used in the score as well, and the action music is mostly very good, although, as I have already said, rather loud.

And what about the Viking cliché - powerful brass and male choir? Crichton writes in the liner notes that "we know nothing about what Viking music was like, which meant Jerry would have to invent it." Now, I'm pretty sure it did not sound the way Goldsmith pictured it. As a Swede, I cannot help to feel a little offended. To quote my fellow country man Mikael Carlsson at Music from the Movies: "As I am in fact sitting here in my Swedish office in middle of Viking land, I suggest a little proper research here." Still, the brass/choral approach is attractive and entertaining, so I think I will forgive Goldsmith this time.

Overall, The 13th Warrior is a good action score. Some people rank it as Goldsmith's best in 1999. The Mummy is a far better score, in my opinion. If you can't decide which one to pick - get The Mummy.

This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Public Enemies (2009) ()
Original Trailer Music, ParodiFair (Trailer)
Carmina Burana: O Fortuna, Carl Orff (song(s))
Sadness, Enigma (Trailer)

Other releases of The 13th Warrior (1999):

13th Warrior, The (1999)
13th Warrior, The (2000)
Eaters of the Dead (2000)

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