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on 3 July 2017
As good as described
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on 4 November 2011
This is John Williams first score since 2008 when he wrote the music for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I liked that score, although it was far from his best work. I do feel that the problem was with the film (duh) and not so much with his music. The opportunities for writing a big epic score just weren't there like they are with Tintin. This movie is fun, playful, and features numerous quirky characters and exciting action scenes. The scale seems somewhat larger than the latest Indy with adventures in Brussels, a 17th Century sailing ship, Bagghar (a Moroccan city), and a dockyard. On the whole this album is good. Very good. This film seems to have rejuvenated Williams in the same way it rejuvenated Spielberg. The tracks are exciting and memorable and the style is distinct enough that it sets the tone for the series.

To go into more detail on some of the tracks:
"The Adventures of Tintin" sets up some of the themes which will be displayed later in the album. It seems very jazzy and chaotic, changing tone numerous times throughout. If I had to describe this track in one word it would be "fun." They use this for the opening titles which are a quite excellent traditional animation and tell an entirely unrelated story of the theft of some sort of glowing globe.

"Snowy's Theme" is a nice an perky number that hopefully fits in quite well. It sounds like a theme set up to establish a cheerful and innocent setting shortly before everything goes crazy. It has a screeching violin giving just the right hint of excitement popping up when needed. I really like this one and am glad to see that hints of it appear throughout the album.

"The Secret of the Scrolls" is a moody and mysterious piece which kind of reminds me of his theme for the Crystal Skull. It is still its own piece and it feels more versatile given how they mix it in with some of the other themes. In fact it is used later in some quite good action scenes in a way which I could never imagine the Crystal Skull theme being used.

"Introducing the Thompsons and Snowy's Chase" is the first real action track. It starts off with a dull, plodding number which I can only assume represents the Thompsons. Then it goes into the action music which features "Snowy's Theme" rather strongly. The violin from that theme pops up a lot more in this track as befitting the exciting nature of the scene.

"Sir Francis and the Unicorn" is my favorite track in the album. It starts off slowly and mysteriously with the theme from the "Secret of the Scrolls" which then rises in tempo and becomes all out action music. It's followed by a superb action piece which is similar to, but different from, the Tintin theme. It's all very epic and exciting and just feels booming and important. You can actually hear this music in the trailer as you watch the attack on the Unicorn which is exactly where it shows up in the finished film. The Unicorn fight is one of the best in the movie and the music goes perfectly with the scene.

"Captain Haddock Takes the Oars" is one of the quieter tracks that really works. It feels somewhat whimsical and pedantic which fits with a very drunk Captain Haddock. Somehow this sounds the way I think when trying to reason something out while hammered.

"Red Rackham's Curse and the Treasure" is a lot like "Sir Francis and the Unicorn." They are both definitely action themes and they do their job well. This one uses a lot of the main Tintin theme to good effect.

I really dislike "Presenting Bianca Castafiore." In fact, it's the only track here that I can't stand. I get that she's supposed to be irritating but the track doesn't have to add breaking glass sound effects. It's very annoying. This is basically just an opera track with Bianca singing at the top of her lungs.

"The Pursuit of the Falcon" is another good action theme. What's really great about all these themes is that while they're similar in style the tunes are completely different. And yet they're all quite catchy. Really, this music is as good as anything Williams did for Indiana Jones. Which isn't to say that it's the same style, although there are similarities. It's even more playful and direct which fits Tintin's more simplistic character.

"The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale" is sort of a wrap up. It calms down several of the earlier themes and feels very reflective.

"The Adventure Continues" is basically Tintin's theme played without distraction. This is the end credit music. As you'd expect from Tintin it's thrilling and seems to promise the hope of further adventures. I had sort of figured based on this that there'd be some kind of animation during the end credits but there isn't.

I do have to admit that there is no theme here so instantly catchy as the Harry Potter theme or the Raider's March, but that should not diminish what is in all respects an excellent score. The music is catchy and exciting and seems to effortlessly capture the lightheartedness and whimsy that makes the series so endearing. Many of the themes seem bound to become classics. I didn't realize until I heard it again how much I had missed John Williams' music. It is very nice to have him back. After a break of four years to get this and War Horse is a real treat!
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on 5 December 2011
The first track on this CD would be enough to make the purchase worthwhile. The inventiveness of the orchestration, the development of the opening thematic idea, plus the way in which John WIlliams presents all the major motifs with sleight of hand is mesmerizing. This is a master craftsman and major intellect at work. The rest of the score is just as stunning. Brilliantly conceived, the usual colorful orchestrations, amazing turns of melody. There are overtones of Harry Potter, but the material can only be described as Harry Potter on steroids. What always amazes me is the unexpected harmonic shifts I've come to know and love in John's music. They are ALWAYS surprising. The pirate music in particular is extraordinary. The restraint he gets out of the orchestra on the final track is magical. And yet it still delivers a punch. This was worth every penny, as is the War Horse score. If only the majority of contemporary film music were this well-conceived. It's thrilling to have the Maestro back in full swing!
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on 26 October 2011
This is the first score by veteran composer John Williams since his effort for Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in 2008. Whilst some people liked this score, I wasn't a huge fan, and was hoping after a three year absence, that he would produce the goods for The Adventures of Tintin. I can assure you that he certainly did, and has written one of my favourite scores of 2011.

Firstly, for those who are familiar with John Williams' style of writing, his mannerisms saturate the score for almost it's entire duration. I won't go into every track (needless to say the majority is outstanding), but will mention some tracks I found noteworthy. The album opens with "The Adventures of Tintin" which has a very jazzy sound to it (and is slightly out of kilter with the rest of the album), whilst "The Milanese Nightingale" had a nice (if somewhat cheesy) accordion accompanied by strings.

The latter parts of "The Secret of the Scrolls" and "The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale" reminded me very much of a type of inverted Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter. My favourite track on the album is "Sir Francis and the Unicorn", which is one of the best pieces of action music I have heard from John Williams since his scores for Star Wars Episodes 2 & 3. "The adventure concludes" with some great up tempo writing and finishes off the album on a high.

The only thing I didn't appreciate that much was the track "Presenting Bianca Castafiore" because of its operatic nature. I like the use of choirs and sopranos in soundtracks, however the opera style did nothing for me (it might work better within the film).

The score runs for approximately 1 hour and I thought this was a perfect duration without it outstaying its welcome or ending prematurely. On a sound production note, the recording sounds exceptionally crisp and the album presentation has a good flow to it which makes for a great listening experience.

One thing that always astounds me about Williams' writing is the complexity and the number of layers to the music using purely the orchestra. Unlike more modern composers who like to fill out the soundscape with electronic elements, Williams' scores are always saturated by the sound of the orchestra and The Adventures of Tintin is no exception. Whilst some people may think this causes the music to sound dated, I challenge anyone not to be impressed by his skill, and I think Tintin is a great example that John Williams is still the most talented composer film composer alive.

Overall, if you are a fan of John Williams, this album will be a taste of heaven. All of his mannerisms are present and in a highly listenable form. Although I am a fan of more "modern" scores by the likes of Hans Zimmer and others, Tintin is a welcome reminder of how proper "orchestral" scores can sound without the need for additional electronic elements. The Maestro is back, and I can't wait for his score to War Horse in early 2012. Until then, The Adventures of Tintin will wet your appetite perfectly and is film scoring at its best.
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on 23 May 2012
It's great to have John Williams back after 3 and a half long years since his previous score. And what a return it is! This score sees Johnny on blistering form and has everything that you love about his music; great themes, an abundance of great little musical ideas springing forth every few seconds and intertwining with each other, exciting, dazzling action writing and complex and colourful orchestrations.

As ever, Williams demonstrates that rare ability to write music that matches the scene perfectly and still be a great listen to away from the film. He must be so immediately attuned to what a scene needs in terms of instrumentation, style of sound and pace that he can just get down to work straight away and deliver such mind bogglingly complicated music that would take others months longer to write - if they could at all without an army of orchestrators on hand! It's simply a joy to witness the end result and dispels any concerns you may have had with his nearing 80 years of age. If anything Johnny is getting better with age!

So the score starts off with a quirky jazzy number for the opening credits mainly for clarinets, harpsichord, accordian and jazz percussion. It's a somewhat out of place piece in that the style is never replicated again at any length again in the album but it is fun and introduces some of the Gallic flavour.

Next up is I suppose a concert arrangement of Snowy's theme, a fantastically fun energetic piece with a great catchy melody and exciting flurrying orchestration. It then segues into a scurrying piano development which darts all over the place and reflects Snowy's character perfectly.

Later cues introduce more character themes, some silly like the one for the Thompsons, the two dim-witted policemen and others more heroic like the theme for TinTin himself . And there are some more great themes that reach full development in the action cues.

There is a lot of action writing here and since this is one of Williams' fortes, he rises to the challenge with obvious ease. His trademark virtuosic use of the orchestra never lets up, fleeting musical ideas and motifs flit between sections numerous times a second it seems yet never seeming contrived or strained, always flowing perfectly. And he interweaves it all them with the great melodic flourishes and trademark sounds he is known for.

In this new era of the film score sound, where the minimalist scores of Hans Zimmer and his legions of clones dominate not just film but TV and adverts and where the emphasis is very much on sounds and atmosphere rather than music, it's a relief to have some real superior musical talent on display. The things this man can do with an orchestra is very special and rare and there are only really a handful of other composers I can think of who could possibly go some way to take over the reins when the time comes. But for now, we should cherish the fact that John Williams is still around and able to write to this amazing standard. And let's hope that there will soon be another paradigm shift back towards a more rounded orchestral sound where composers have to use actual musical rather than mixing talent.
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on 25 August 2016
Masterpiece, worthy of any Indiana Jones score. Perhaps surpasses Kingdom of Crystal Skulls. Quirky main tittle shows a different but equally proficient side of the composer's talent. The range of musical expression on this CD is wide. From the jazzy main intro theme to the mysterious Unicorn theme to the edge of seat chase sequences to the comical Thompson twins theme and the pirates sword fight music worthy of Korngold and Errol Flynn. There is classical music influence, hint of the Incredibles, Cantina Band and comic motifs from Superman and Jabba. We should also appreciate The maestro's dedication in piecing together this album to provide us with such an enjoyable listen rather than a straight transfer. A thoroughly enjoyable CD with hidden gems.
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on 27 December 2011
I'm a big fan of John Williams... however, I prefer his former works. His action themes seem unfresh to me, no matter I listen to "SW Revenge of the Sith", "Indiana Jones & The kingdom of the Crystal Skull" or this one...

However, there's always lots and lots and lots of good material in his scores... and maybe I don't like his action themes as much as years ago, but I love his recent complex character based themes.

John Williams' works are always pleasant to listen to.
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on 4 January 2012
As a collector of Soundtracks this one certainly doesn't disappoint. Highly recommend. Amazon as always excellent value for money, always an asset when your a collector and it becomes more and more expensive to keep up your collection
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on 27 December 2012
Good cd. Fun score to the movie. Good quality recording but would have liked a better info booklet.
Not Williams best, but an entertaining listen.
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on 15 March 2015
Absolute loved it's trip down memory lane.
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