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Customer Review

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither daft, nor punk but nevertheless a competent soundtrack album, 6 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Tron Legacy (Audio CD)
The problem with soundtrack albums is that, out of context, many of them sound like background music - which is of course what they're meant to be. The best ones somehow transcend that - for me it's those that go heavy on the atmospherics that work the best: check Betty Blue Ost, Passion : Music for The Last Temptation Of Christ and Shutter Island (Music From The Motion Picture) - to name three examples.

Daft Punk's soundtrack for Tron Legacy doesn't quite pull that trick off. It's adequate, surprising even (in a "DP do orchestra" way) and features the underrated mixing skills of Alan Meyerson (Factory Records' mixer of choice circa 1989-90). There are some nice references to Vangelis (some might say derivative, I would say homage) but overall these tracks can't quite get me out of the zone of sitting in a big dark hot dog-smelling multiplex room, supping tango and getting bits of Malteser out of my teeth, feeling the thud of a kid kicking the back of my chair whilst waiting for the Gillette adverts to end and the main feature to start.

I read somewhere that Daft Punk turned down the offer of Hans Zimmer's assistance in making this record. Commendable and brave maybe, but I think the input of an experienced soundtrack composer is, paradoxically, what this album needed to lift it above the "soundtracky" feel.

The music may work very well with the film (I don't know as I haven't seen it) but the acid test for me is - had the soundtrack been uncredited or by an unknown artist, rather than one of my favourite electronic groups, would I have rushed out of the cinema to buy it as a stand-alone product? And the answer is no.

NOTE ON THE SPECIAL EDITION: The 2CD edition comes in a digipack with an unusual fold out disc tray, as opposed to the jewel case of the standard edition. Otherwise the packaging is comparatively unremarkable. The booklet is virtually identical to the single disc version, save for some minor printing modifications - however the deluxe edition does dispense with some annoying inlay flyers advertising a printer and an Xbox game. Musically, it adds a mere 12 minutes/5 tracks of music which is basically just more of the same as disc one. Unimpressive then, in that by my calculations these tracks could easily have fitted onto one CD (disc one runtime is 58 mins). No lost classics on here, although "Castor", one of the more up-tempo tracks over the whole album, is worth hearing. There's some enhanced content as well, but that type of stuff doesn't interest me (you have to create a login, for ****'s sake!). The 2CD is for completeists only.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Dec 2010, 16:15:23 GMT
Luke says:
You can't really complete it with the special edition. Since, there are additional tracks on Amazon MP3 and iTunes.

Posted on 16 Dec 2010, 03:04:11 GMT
Thanks for the heads up on the second disc. I was wondering if it was worth the extra. The Amazon description is especially silent about the matter...

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Dec 2010, 09:20:49 GMT
Small furry creature - I didn't know Amazon delivered to Alpha Centuari?

I accidentally (don't ask) ended up with copies of both editions and can say with some confidence that I don't believe anyone who purchases the single disc version is missing out.

Best wishes

Colin

Posted on 18 Dec 2010, 19:12:01 GMT
W. Lee says:
Great review, and a perfect assessment of the soundtrack. Having now seen the film as well (after listening to the soundtrack in isolation), I can't say it improves. It's adequate in the atmosphere of the film, without being outstanding or note-worthy (and occasionally showing it's 80s synth routes too boldly to the point of cheesiness). While an outstanding achievement for Daft Punk in comparison to their normal output, it's merely competent as a soundtrack. One can't help wondering how much more impressive it all would have been with a genuine film composer. (Personally I think Graeme Revell or Elliot Goldenthal could've done something outstanding for this)

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Dec 2010, 19:51:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jan 2011, 00:16:39 GMT
Thanks very much W. Lee.

I haven't seen the film yet so it's reassuring (as a reviewer) to know my suspicions have been confirmed.

I think we all assumed beforehand - not unreasonably perhaps - that Daft Punk would aim to make a soundtrack that would work as a stand-alone album.

Maybe (though I doubt it myself) they DIDN'T set out to do that. There are many great film soundtracks that I wouldn't sit in and listen to (e.g. Jaws, Star Wars), so a soundtrack which doesn't work as an album is not necessarily a poor reflection on them. I just think that we were all expecting this to be the next "Betty Blue", "Big Blue", "Bladerunner"-type of thing and, though it has its moments, it's not.

All the best - CDM
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