Film Score Monthly
Screen Archives Entertainment 250 Golden and Silver Age Classics on CD from 1996-2013! Exclusive distribution by SCREEN ARCHIVES ENTERTAINMENT.
Sky Fighter Wild Bunch, The King Kong: The Deluxe Edition (2CD) Body Heat Friends of Eddie Coyle/Three Days of the Condor, The It's Alive Ben-Hur Nightwatch/Killer by Night Gremlins
Forgot Login?
Search Archives
Film Score Friday
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
The Aisle Seat
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
View Mode
Regular | Headlines
All times are PT (Pacific Time), U.S.A.
Site Map
Visits since
February 5, 2001:
© 2024 Film Score Monthly.
All Rights Reserved.
Return to Articles

CD Reviews Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds 2

By Nick Joy

Thunderbirds *** 1/2



18 tracks - 50:23

A sense of nostalgia pervades Hans Zimmer's score for Jonathan Frakes' "Spy Kids with Spaceships." It's not just the fact that the movie nods affectionately towards the original '60s puppet show, but because Zimmer regresses to a simpler form of music. It's like Gladiator or The Thin Red Line never happened, and the composer remained entrenched in his Bruckheimer action-fests of the mid-'90s. Packed with heroic driving anthems and thrashing percussion, this could have easily slipped into Zimmer's discography somewhere between Crimson Tide and Broken Arrow.

Proud of its heritage, the score commences with a synthetically-enhanced slightly up-tempo version of Barry Gray's classic Thunderbirds titles. Entitled "Thunderbirds Are Go," it sounds enough like the original for the listener to recognize the orchestra, and thankfully respects it source material in a way that Apollo 440's "Lost in Space" did not.

Whenever Lady Penelope and chauffeur Parker make an appearance on the score they are accompanied by a regal theme to signify milady's aristocracy. Perhaps it's wishful thinking on my part, or just a flight of fancy, but the Lady Penelope cues occasionally recall Zimmer's previous lady/ chauffeur pic Driving Miss Daisy. Sir Ben Kingsley's evil genius The Hood is supported by the standard sinister orchestral devices of slow low strings and ominous percussive bangs, and a layer of synthetic male choir added to the mix. There's also a recurring motif that replicates the first three notes of Howard Shore's Orc-motif (as used prominently in The Fellowship of the Ring's "Amon Hen")

Action cues "TB3 Takeoff," "International Rescue" and "Thunderize" are fairly interchangeable, and all offer variations on Zimmer's heroic theme, which is a rousing hybrid of The Rock and David Arnold's Bond scores. The best track is "F.A.B.," a climactic cue that builds from whimsy into a full-blown interpolation of Barry Gray's main theme. This anthem has never sounded so impressive and powerful, and the only minor quibble is the sudden cut-off; I'd have loved another minute or so of this full-on experience.

"F.A.B." is where the album should have finished, and indeed I recommend you stop the disc at this very point to save you from the dreaded pop song "Thunderbirds are Go" by Busted. Clearly added to the disc for commercial appeal, there really is no crossover between the fans of Zimmer's score and the teenage girls gagging for another hit of light British pop.

In all, this is a remarkably fun and unpretentious score, and may not find favor with those who like a maturer Zimmer bolstered with ethnic instruments and Lisa Gerard's chanting. But for throwaway popcorn thrills, this is a far better bet than you might have expected. It won't be appearing on the Academy's short list early next year, but is applauded for having only a single song and for reminding us that Zimmer is not adverse to a bit of fun.

Thunderbirds 2 *** 1/2


Silva Screen FILMCD609

27 tracks - 60:05

Smartly timed to tie-in with this summer's big-screen remake, Silva Screen releases a second dose of Barry Gray's classic Thunderbirds TV scores. This is the third of Silva's ongoing series of archive Gerry Anderson releases, following Thunderbirds 1 and Captain Scarlet, with the first season of Space: 1999 being prepped for later this year.

The inventiveness and scale of these scores betray their humble 35-piece orchestral origins, sounding twice as big and offering rousing themes. This completes the release of all available music from the series, and is the first time that the cues have been out on a commercial label. There's an eclectic mix of military, action, suspense and jazz cues, providing underscore to six more episodes. However, while these cues are attributed to single episodes they were frequently re-used in other episodes, thus making them more familiar than you might have thought.

The iconic "Thunderbirds March" is presented this time without the "5-4-3-2-1" countdown narration, thus allowing the listener to fully appreciate the majesty of this perennial favorite. The greatest surprise on the album is "Flying High," a song originally recorded for the end titles, but ultimately discarded after two recordings, and dissatisfaction from Anderson. While not in the same league as Stingray's "Aqua Marina," give me this over Russell Watson's "Faith of the Heart" any day.

The liner notes include synopses of the relevant episodes, as well as part two of an ongoing history of Barry Gray's work with Anderson. A reasonably-priced, attractively-packaged release for Anderson fans and the new generation of kids who want to delve into the franchise's past.

Return to Articles Author Profile
Comments (0):Log in or register to post your own comments
There are no comments yet. Log in or register to post your own comments
Film Score Monthly Online
The Atlas Project, Part 1
Heffes x Three
Amelia and the Sea
The Idea of Cue
Unfrosted and Unmiked
Holkenborg Unchained: The Incredible Holk Returns!
An Ungentlemanly Gentleman
Dead Boy Composers
The Sound of Silent Horror
The Ark of Coker
Echoes of the Day of Wrath
A Chorale for Coral
Ear of the Month Contest: Andrew Lockington
Today in Film Score History:
June 14
Carlos D’Alessio died (1992)
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson born (1932)
Craig Safan begins recording his score, adapted from Tchaikovsky, for The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977)
Cy Coleman born (1929)
David Newman records his score for Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Doug Timm born (1960)
Harold Wheeler born (1943)
Henry Mancini died (1994)
James Horner begins recording his score for Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Islands in the Stream (1976)
John Addison begins recording his score for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)
John Williams begins recording his replacement score for The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973)
Marcus Miller born (1959)
Stanley Black born (1913)
FSMO Featured Video
Video Archive • Audio Archive
© 2024 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.
Website maintained and powered by Veraprise and Matrimont.