Michael Giacchino is one of the most sought after composers in Hollywood. I was expecting great things from John Carter. Almost every review of the film I have heard has commented on how good the score is. I haven't seen the film yet so I can only comment on the music as heard on the album itself. I will start by saying I think it is Giacchino's best score to date (surpassing what I considered to be his previous best for his score to Super 8).
The style of the album is purely orchestral with some great choral writing. Giacchino's quality of writing has continued to improve over time, and in John Carter he has shown that he can write brilliant themes and adapt them. The quality of the album rarely drops below 5 stars for the entire duration.
I started to list my favourite tracks, and quickly realized I would be listing pretty much the entire album. The ones that stood out for me were the opening "A Thern for the Worse" (Track 1) and takes a suite form lasting just short of 8 minutes. It introduces most of the main themes on the album. "A Thern Warning" (Track 11) was fantastically somber with some amazing writing for the string and choral sections. There's also the epic "The Prize is Barsoom" (Track 14) with some great action writing for the orchestra and choir. The album comes to a spine tingling conclusion with "John Carter of Mars" (Track 19), a near 9 minute track that finishes the album off on the perfect note. All of the tracks deserve an acknowledgement though!
The production side of the album definitely deserves a mention. One of the pet hates by many who have heard Giacchino's previous scores argue that the mix is always horrendously dry. The lack of reverb does often make the music sound less impressive because it makes the orchestra sound smaller than it really is. This criticism cannot be said for John Carter. The mix has a much wetter quality to it, and this enhances both the quality of the music and the listening experience. I have always been impressed by Giacchino's music, and this mix elevates it to a new level.
As with the majority of Giacchino's albums, the running time is lengthy. Lasting just short of 1 hour 15 minutes, this is above average for score releases and I loved every minute of it. Some longer albums can cause a listener fatigue, but the variety and quality of the orchestrations and styles across the album kept my attention throughout. Of the 19 tracks on the album, only 2 are shorter than two minutes, meaning most of the tracks have time to develop musically before the track is over. The track titles are horribly cheesy as with every Giacchino album but it does raise a smile!
Overall, this is a score that exceeded my expectations (and they were high to begin with). The reasons for this are simple. The themes are amazing, the quality of the mix is fantastic and the orchestrations were sublime. Quite simply, if you loved the music as heard in the film you will surely love this release. For soundtrack fans, if you weren't a fan of Giacchino previously now is the time to give him a second chance. For those (who like me) have enjoyed his previous work, this marks a new high point in my opinion. I have been unashamedly enthusiastic in this review - but the album really does deserve it. Five stars does not feel enough, so if you find yourself on this page, do not think twice about getting this score. It is (and will undoubtedly be) one of the best releases of 2012.
The music on this CD is a reminiscence of a pleasurable couple of hours or so spent in the cinema watching the film "John Carter". The composer has wrought a soundtrack which matches the ambitions of the film's scenario.
It's so great to be able to listen to the music in an epic movie! Michael Giacchino's score is romantic, evocative. It tells us about adventure, sadness, love....a journey to Barsoom, or Mars. The 2nd track "Get Carter" still gives me goosebumps. The 8th one makes me remember Dejah Thoris' words "You are John Carter of Earth!"
If you love movie soundtracks this is by far one of the BESTS of this year....we are still in April and it's too soon to be final. If you haven't seen the movie, you loved Julio Verne, you want to know where did James Cameron and George Lucas take their ideas from, why Carl Sagan had a Barsoom map in his office and a Barsoom drive plate.....come to Mars, come to Barsoom. Do it now! You won't regret it.
Favourite tracks? It's so difficult to chose
2. Get Carter: it captures the fighting spirit of the character 14. The prize is Barsoom....amazing 19. John Carter of Mars: it captures the essence of the movie
Take up a cause, fall in love, write a book.
Och, ohem, och tay wyess...Barsoom I really want to go back