Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2002 - 11:07 PM   
 By:   The Big Bear   (Member)

I know some of the folks on this board are really gonna let me have it for suggesting this, but I recently received the Legend 2 DVD set and watched both cuts of the film side by side...

...and while I enjoy the Director's Cut of the film more than the eviscerated American edition, I must offer up an (probably) incendiary opinion...

...I like Tangerine Dream's score better than Goldsmith's.

No, wait... that's not entirely accurate. I think, as an album to be listened to away from the film, Goldsmith runs circles around the Dream. And certainly his "Dress Waltz" is leagues ahead of the circus calliope crap in the U.S. version. But on top of such a sumptuous film, Goldsmith's score seems on occasion to be too much frosting overpowering an otherwise richly flavorful cake.

There is a simplicity and directness to Tangerine Dream's score that, in my opinion, just suits Scott's fantasy textures better within the film. No, I don't really like the electric guitars much... and yes, I think it rather forces its overt "accessibility" at points. But on the whole, I think it serves the film better.

Now I think I am going to duck under my desk while all the Goldsmith fanatics sharpen their knives.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 1:13 AM   
 By:   The Big Bear   (Member)

...looks apprehensively up from under desk... sees no one is interested in topic... beleaguredly continues flame war with resident zygote.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 1:24 AM   
 By:   Todesmelodie   (Member)

Yes - it's eerily calm. Oh well, no one must have minded what you said, so let me just add that the thing I don't like about Goldmith is-- (sound of a hundred arrows) AAARRGGGHH! (thud)

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 1:38 AM   
 By:   SPQR   (Member)

I suspect if the score were given the same respect as the lighting, Goldsmith's score would have aptly served the lush visuals. In it's present form it's discombulated. Broken And, admittedly, distracting at times when it's not being used as it should be. Come on! It's cut to bits and the levels are all over the place. Hardly any wonder it might sound unimpressive.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 2:24 AM   
 By:   Jim Cleveland   (Member)

This "eerie calm" reminds me of that scene in the original Jason and the Argonauts after Hercules and Palias(sp?) are standing next to Talos' chamber and all you hear is this spooky wind blowing... right before Talos comes to life and kicks the living shit out of Jason and his men!big grinbig grinbig grin

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 3:56 AM   
 By:   SilverPonyTail   (Member)

Goldsmith hands down. However, it is not bad to like Tangerine Dream.

See, I didn't get mad! big grin

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 4:22 AM   
 By:   The Big Bear   (Member)

However, it is not bad to like Tangerine Dream.

That's the thing... I don't like them. Well, not typically. Even moreso, I think the Varese CD of their LEGEND score is horribly dull. I'd much prefer listening to Goldsmith's balletic work away from the film.

And yeah, there is something to be said about the score's presentation in the film. It might have helped things if Scott had left the music alone, but probably not enough for me to change my initial thoughts on both scores.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 6:09 AM   
 By:   The Big Bear   (Member)

Hardly any wonder it might sound unimpressive.

Oh, but it is impressive. It's big, and grand, and just a little too sickly sweet and overbearing... not really keeping in tone with the typically cold and detached Scott.

A better mix, and sound editing job would have helped... but as I had said before, not enough to win me over to preferring Goldsmith's work in the context of the film.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   Timmer   (Member)

Considering that Legend is one of my three top Goldsmith scores (ST:TMP and Final Conflict being the other two) I find myself agreeing with you Big Bear, it is indeed too much 'frosting' on an already rich cake. The 'Dream's' score is darker and works better in the film on the whole though makes for a dreary listen on album IMO.

I'm surprised at two things on this thread...1. nobodys unleashed a kicking yet and 2. Dan Hobgood hasn't weighed in with an opinion!wink

NP : Le Train - Sarde *****/*****

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   Tom M   (Member)

I suppose my disagreement is more based on the opinion that the film alone isn't exactly the "rich cake" you make it to be. While I do believe LEGEND is more art film than Hollywood blockbuster wannabe, there isn't a lot of plot there. It really relies on the overwhelming visuals AND music to come to life. For me, the Tangerine Dream music is flat, and doesn't help the scenes that are desparately in need of life (of course it doesn't help that this version is also missing a lot of the character dialog).
Overall, the darker score really works against where this film needs to go. The Goldsmith score is admitedly over the top, but the Tangerine Dream score is often cheesy, which is the last thing this movie needs.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 12:33 PM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

My feeling is ( as a long-time Tangerine Dream fan) is that T.Dream was simply a bad choice to score this picture. In the short time they had they did a decent job, but it just doesn't fit what Scott was trying to accomplish with the film.

Some of their scores ( "Thief" a prime example) fit the film perfectly, but in this case they were handed an impossible task and no matter what they handed in , it would not have been a good mix with Scott's fanciful fairy tale.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 6:15 PM   
 By:   Bill R. Myers   (Member)

The problem with the Dream's score is that it doesn't respond intuitively to the picture like Goldsmith's does. During the "forgive me" scene, they just play their unicorn theme at obnoxiously high volume, while Goldsmith responded to the scene's changing undercurrents. Look also at the scoring of the climatic battle; Goldsmith acknowledges the shifts in scene and emotional emphasis, while the Dream just pounds its way through with that dull, conventional rock thing. I did like their scoring of the elves and the room of columns, though.

 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 7:39 PM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

I'm happy to chime in if you so desire, Timmer. smile

Frankly, I cannot really comment on the express topic, Goldsmith versus Dream, simply because I have only listened to Goldsmith's score and to this point have completely ignored Disc Two. Perhaps I need to scrutinize it.

Legend is probably my favorite Goldsmith music. However, other Goldsmith scores are better constructed than it. Legend is an exceptional score itself, and I cannot imagine liking Dream's score more than Jerry's.

What bothers me about the nature of this debate/discussion is the emphasis here on the tone of the music. We should be considering the extent to which consistency and clarity are present in a given musical message. Historically in film scoring, no one even comes close to Goldsmith in employing these two qualities to music. [Other composers--Herrmann in particular perhaps--are noteworthy in this respect all the same, of course.] I could care less about how I feel in relation to the general tone of a score.

As I have asserted previously, film scoring is very much like public address. To evaluate a score based on its tone is like evaluating a speech based on the perceived quality of the speaker's voice as opposed to the message of his words. It's important to recognize cogency in film music and celebrate it first and foremost.


 Posted:   Jun 6, 2002 - 8:18 PM   
 By:   Tom M   (Member)

The American version is still worth checking out for a few scenes that didn't make it back into the Director's cut. Most notably is the final sequence where in the American version Jack's dive for Lily's ring is intercut with Gump reviving the fallen unicorn and the rising of the sun. Given the importance of the event I can't imagine why it wasn't included in the director's cut. Even the song isn't that bad.

Also of note is the dinner scene with Darkness offering Lily a black apple to eat and a magically filling goblet of black wine. And finally there is a short scene with Jack and Gump in the castle being attacked by some gremlins.

 Posted:   Jun 7, 2002 - 3:58 AM   
 By:   The Big Bear   (Member)

To evaluate a score based on its tone is like evaluating a speech based on the perceived quality of the speaker's voice as opposed to the message of his words.

To me, film scores should be judged on both such subjective and objective criteria. The effectiveness of music is undeniably reliant (though not solely) on an individual's emotional reaction to it.

In short, there really is no such thing as objectivity in the arts... the eyes and ears of the subject will always color perception one way or the other. Not that it's even a bad thing... in fact, I think it's what makes us human.

 Posted:   Jun 8, 2002 - 5:19 PM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

I apologize for a delay in reply.

Much of what you write is quite true, Big Bear. However, film music is decidedly different from opera music or concert hall music, etc.

There are factors to consider when evaluating it. What is the purpose of film music in general? What does it do? What does a given film require musically?

One needs to answer these questions and perhaps others in judging the effectiveness of a score. In this way, there is indeed objectivity in the arts; it's certainly present in this genre.


 Posted:   Jun 8, 2002 - 5:24 PM   
 By:   Brian D. Mellies   (Member)

Goldsmith: Masterpiece.
Tan. Dream: Drivel.

Other than that, I agree with you.

 Posted:   Jun 9, 2002 - 2:06 PM   
 By:   Cooper   (Member)

The problem with the Dream's score is that it doesn't respond intuitively to the picture like Goldsmith's does. During the "forgive me" scene, they just play their unicorn theme at obnoxiously high volume, while Goldsmith responded to the scene's changing undercurrents. Look also at the scoring of the climatic battle; Goldsmith acknowledges the shifts in scene and emotional emphasis, while the Dream just pounds its way through with that dull, conventional rock thing. I did like their scoring of the elves and the room of columns, though.

Bill, you nailed it.

This is my chief complaint with TD's work for Legend. Seems like their music aimed to gloss over Scott's visuals or smooth over a severely cut down film. So many scenes are just blanketed. I find it ironic that some described Goldsmith's score--which allowed each scene to have its own dramatic life--as too much frosting.

And the new-agey approach of doing an unabashed synth score for a fairy tale seemed wrong headed, as if Scott's whole enterprise was disingenous and through Dream's music he was sort of winking at the audience, saying " can't think I'm actually serious with this tripe!" And, well, maybe that's exactly what Scott was looking to say by junking Goldsmith for the American release, since he himself began to feel that his visuals and Goldsmith's score were too sweet. I don't think they were ever too much for him, but that these fears were all audience centered; i.e., "LEGEND" wasn't hip enough for the reefer tokin' hipster set back in '85. Goldsmith's score came closer to Scott's original concept, and Dream tracked his second-guessing, damage control extravaganza: the mainstreamed, self-consciously hipped-up version of the film. There's the rub; can--and should--one attempt to hip-up what began as a an EARNEST fairy story? Isn't that an ageless genre which transcends notions of contemporary "hipness"?

Having read a number of impressions of LEGEND since its release in the director's cut form, I think Scott made the right decision in re-cutting and re-scoring it from a business standpoint; teenagers do like the American cut better. But artistically, I'm for the director's cut. It's a LEGEND that can breathe, a film which doesn't make me feel like Ridley Scott was cowering in a corner, shame-faced while making it (even if he might've been [cowering] while showing his original version to audiences).

Besides, isn't Dream just a little bit cloying from time to time? Their stuff for the Unicorns was simplistic, condescending--to the horses even!--and schmaltzy. Goldsmith achieved some subtle majesty for these sequences, as though these were real a real world. Sounds like dream was writing music for stuffed or plastic Unicorns on a little girl's bed or dresser. That's what Scott did with Dream, decided LEGEND was just a hunk of plastic. Little wonder the American version was compared to a shampoo commercial on its release.

It's also pretty telling when the most common criticism I've read--mostly from kids (so as not to attribute this gripe to anyone here)--of the Director's Cut is that people don't like Lily's singing. Well, why not? Isn't this appropriate for a fairy story, that the princess in the tale would sing to herself while prancing through the enchanted forest? Guess some hipsters don't want to be confronted with a "...Dude, what are you watching!" when their buddy walks into the room while this dvd's cued up. Sue me, I thought Mia Sara was pretty cute in this film. By the way, does she do all her own vocals here? In some scenes, I thought those were her pipes.


 Posted:   Jun 9, 2002 - 3:47 PM   
 By:   Tom M   (Member)

A large part of the problem with the American version is that LEGEND is such a fundamentally non-commercial movie, being more art film than anything. Trying to fit this into a popcorn movie mold was a pointless venture. It just can't be done.

One more thing about the music. The original script is very much aware of how the music was to play a part in the film. At many points it specifically mentions the events transpiring while the most beautifull music is playing. Probably this more than anything was Goldsmith's inspiration, because his score is exactly what the script specifically called for.

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2008 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   Rubyglass   (Member)

Just watched both versions of the film the other day, so I thought I'd revive this post. I have to say that Goldsmith's score is simply terrible. It's huge and overblown and never feels like it is part of the film's world. It feels like a big Hollywood score pasted on with no regard for the tone of the film or the action of the film. I much prefer TD's score. It's a bit more 80s than I like, and some of the bits with the electric guitar are ridiculous (I much prefer their early 70s albums to their 80s film scores), but I think they "got" the film in a way that Jerry Goldsmith was perhaps incapable of.

I have to disagree with the original poster here in that I think this is best illustrated by the scene with the "dress waltz". Tangerine Dream's scoring here almost seems diegetic, as though the waltzing creature has a little clockwork calliope for a heart. It's what made the scene so eerie and effective to me as a child.

Alternately, Jerry's piece for that scene is ridiculously gigantic. It almost seems like it wasn't even written for the scene, and it's just extremely conventional and seems to be coming from nowhere. The scene and the music don't match in movement, and they don't match in mood (it sucks all the creepy seductive qualities out of the scene and replaces it with bland majesty).

And if anything, I think Jerry's score is more "accessible" and makes this just seem like bland popcorn fare like lesser 80s fantasy films like Willow rather than something with arthouse aspirations.

You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2024 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.
Website maintained and powered by Veraprise and Matrimont.