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The Island

08/18/2017 Download
Milan Records 08/18/2017 Download
Milan Records 07/26/2005 CD (0731383613227)
Milan Records 07/26/2005 CD (3259130172416)
Movie Film release: 2005

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.The Island Awaits You2:21
2.Where Do These Tubes Go?2:06
3.Sector 62:49
5.Agnate Ukuleles2:37
6.You Have A Special Purpose in Life4:35
7.Mass Vehicular Carnage2:25
9.I'm Not Ready to Die2:32
10.This Tongue Thing's Amazing4:29
11.Mass Winnings5:07
12.The Craziest Mess I've Ever Seen5:07
13.Send in the Clones4:30
14.My Name is Lincoln3:42
15.BlowThe Prom Kings5:23
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The Island - 06/10 - Review of MM , submitted at
The Island had a huge buzz around it. It was a Michael Bay film and whatever he does, from Bad Boys to Pearl Harbor to Armaggedon seems to turn into a hit. The casting of Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson was seen as a good choice by many, they were hip, off the back of respective successes of Star Wars and Lost in Translation and ready for a big sci-fi flick. They play clones who escape their chambers in order not to be killed when their human opposite in the “real world” needs a spare body part, for example. The bad guy is Sean Bean, which means he’s gonna die (see Goldeneye, Lord of the Rings, Equilibrium and 12 other movies – fact). So the job of scoring this massive action movie was given to Steve Jablonsky. He decided a techno taste with a flattering underneath score of choral voices and orchestra was a way of showing technology on-top, and human emotion seeping through underneath. It’s a good idea, but nothing new.

Steve Jablonsky is still a relatively unknown composer to the majority of soundtrack collectors. So when he was signed on to score Michael Bay’s next major action movie, it may have raised a few eyebrows. My first introduction to Steve was while listening to the 2002 Tears of the Sun soundtrack…by Hans Zimmer. The highlight of that soundtrack was a pounding action track called no other than “Jablonsky variations on a Hans Zimmer theme”. So, put pounding action and Hans Zimmer influence together and you’ve got a clear image of what The Island sounds like.

Steve Jablonsky is clearly a “Zimmerite”. Someone who has mastered his trade under Hans Zimmer / Media Ventures, and his scoring is of the same nature. What Jablonsky has ahead of other composers, though, is an innate ability to score interesting action scores that don’t completely bore after 30 seconds like the majority. There’s certainly a large enough range of percussion, and percussion players, to keep you interested. Jablonsky also has a keen eye for pace, once he gets you going on an action track, he keeps you going and pays off with a decent climax. That said, the soundtrack album itself doesn’t lend itself well to showing off Jablonsky’s ability to organise structure. Some tracks such “I’m not ready to die”, “My name is Lincoln” come in with a long, boring drone sound. Yes you could suggest it’s like technology, it sounds a bit futuristic and it probably works for the film. Though, it’s not going to excite many soundtrack fans and you end up having to skip the first 30 seconds of tracks just to get to any scoring of real capability.

Jablonsky is simply not subtle in his scoring for this soundtrack. This seems like the perfect match for director Michael Bay. There are times when sounds or even, yes, 50 cent lyrics, seem forced without an ounce of subtlety. When there does seem to be a bit of subtlety used, Jablonsky’s scoring ability shines through. One of the best individual pieces comes in the track “Mass Winnings”, before the percussion kicks in and choral voices and percussion joins together in harmony. It’s appropriate for the movie - the future (tech/percussion) meets the human element (choral voices). The problem is, I’ve heard it all before, far, far, far, far too many times. This style of scoring is out of the Media Ventures manual, it could have been part of Hans Zimmer’s King Arthur, The Rock or Gladiator soundtracks. Or more appropriately a nod in the direction of fellow “Zimmerite” Harry Gregson-Williams’ Spy Game and Metal Gear Solid soundtracks.

The Island drastically falls short on delivering a key theme. A theme that would resonate in beauty throughout all the tracks was none to be found. In-fact the ending piece “My Name is Lincoln” is probably the closest Jablonsky gets to creating a theme and by then it’s too late! The audience of the film and the CD have nothing to refer back to, and instead of this being a rounding off of the theme to bring us back to our equilibrium, we’re left feeling why wasn’t that at the beginning. And this is when it gets interesting. In the film, the equilibrium at the beginning is not a comfortable equilibrium, and the ending is supposed to seem like a new beginning, which is why a main theme is probably left until the end in order to feel the “beginning is at the end”, if you’re following me here people. What this leaves you thinking is that Steve Jablonsky is certainly a composer with the solid ability to score a motion picture, but based on this performance, he’s not going to leave you with a big theme and great soundtrack to listen to afterwards. With his next soundtrack he’ll have to prove me wrong…

The whole soundtrack is in your face, which if you simply like action music full stop, this might be your bag. Otherwise, listen to a Hans Zimmer soundtrack, like the “The Rock”, or Harry Gregson-Williams’ “Spy Game”. They’re similar, but better.
The Island - 03/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
While I wasn't as hyped by his score for Steamboy, I did at least note that Steve Jablonsky was a name to watch. True to my word, when I discovered him attached to The Island - a futuristic thriller about cloning - I was ever hopeful. Sci-fi invariably has scope for larger than life excitement and, unsurprisingly, the spectre of Jerry Goldsmith's legacy hoved into mind: Logan's Run (from which The Island, as a film, borrows heavily), Total Recall and so forth. Then again, The Island, is a Michael Bay film and that means Jerry Bruckheimer. Damn. As expected, the promising premise is drowned in favour of ridiculous stunts and variably boring action sequences. Only the fairly strong presence of Ewan McGregor (maybe they drove up to his house with a dump truck of money) and Scarlett Johansson (presumably trying to up her exposure, although she's a fine actress and plenty beautiful, so shouldn't have need to resort to appearing in Michael Bay films) keeps the film tolerable, plus a smattering of almost genuinely moving moments and little leavening (and not too groan inducing) humour.
Anyway, back to Jablonsky's score. Watching the film (before hearing the album) I can't say that much struck me, indeed the only memorable part was the finale (My Name is Lincoln) opening with near identical percussion to Now We Are Free from Gladiator. Add in the chorus (no Lisa Gerrard) and it's the same thing, but without the original's insanely catchy tune. Even my non-film music friend noticed. Outside of that, only the opening title of The Island Awaits You made any impression and that's probably because it was one of the few passages not buried under layers of explosions. On disc, the action is low key digital percussion or loud digital percussion of the sort that clubbers with ADHD would probably enjoy; the orchestra occasionally swells in the background, but never materialises into much. At least we're spared the synthetic horns of a typical Media Ventures 'orchestra' but it's a shame that Jablonsky and the inevitable entourage of additional music flunkies waste the exceptional talents of the large orchestra at their disposal. They must be especially proud to have their names listed on the liner notes given their huge impact. Sarcasm, gotta love it.

Although often loud and percussive, The Island is at least modestly well balanced in terms of volume; earlier segments hold back on the volume with Where Do These Tubes Go having a nice K-Pax vibe and some neat string riffs, but these are easily abandoned in favour of drumming of a less subtle and rather more crap sort. Later moments of respite, notably the lightly mournful I'm Not Ready to Die and the gentle This Tongue Thing's Amazing (a track title that only makes sense in light of viewing the film) are nice enough, but hardly worth waiting for. The album closes with the moderately unbearable Blow performed by The Prom Kings. No, I've never heard of them either. In the words of football commentators, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, it's a score of two halves: loud and quiet. When the aforementioned Goldsmith legacy is considered and that of the still going strong John Williams (Minority Report, Star Wars prequels AI, War of the Worlds etc.), a score as unsophisticated as The Island really isn't worth your money. I'll look out for Jablonsky again, but Steve, please, stay away from Michael Bay films. They are crap. Nice drumming, shame about the music.
The music of this soundtrack was used in:

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Trailer)
Flyboys (Trailer)
V for Vendetta (Trailer)
Helter Skelter (Trailer)


This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999), James Newton Howard (Movie)
Elektra (2005) (Movie)
Lucius Dei, Immediate Music (Trailer)

Other releases of The Island (2005):

Island, The (2005)

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