August 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation  
Music composed by John Morgan & William Stromberg
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records (VSD-6581)
Running Time: 73:01
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

starship troopers 2

See also: Trinity & Beyond / Atomic Journeys- Nukes in Space

A fascinating nostalgic confection from duo Morgan & Stromberg with a true old school sensibility featuring orchestrations in the spirit of those born fifty years ago which, ironically, in this modern age sound somehow almost fresh again.

Beginning with 'Fed Net', this is a catchy, extremely likeable main theme, reminiscent of '50s and '60s war films with just a tinge of Elmer Bernstein, and yet still with enough originality and vigour to avoid sounding like a rehash. Alongside this, action/suspense pieces like 'Battle at Z.A.' are inventive and utilise some strong brass and string work (and even feature a brief reprise of Basil Poledouris' original Starship Troopers (1997) material). If occasionally some cues do seem just a little generic that is hardly surprising with over seventy minutes of music, and yet no sooner have you began to think this than the tone shifts and something comes along to renew your interest.

In the sleeve notes director Phil Tippett talks about hoping to summon the ghost of Herrmann for the horror scenes, and he wasn't kidding when you listen to a cue like 'Attack' which is a fist-rate tribute to the great master. In other places, a piece like 'Reunion' recalls the western sound of the John Ford movies of the '40s, and this again is a deliberate attempt to create something that recaptures the musical style of the past and will certainly give the movie itself a distinctive quality. Add to this some nice understatement on tracks such as 'Soda Wakes' along with more modernistic dramatics ('Door Jam' and the outstanding 'The Rape of Rake') and you have a very strong package indeed. Fans of film music from times gone by will almost certainly get a buzz from this approach and it's sure to win the composers a broad range of admirers.

There's a lot of music here (thirty eight cues in all) but this actually creates a sense of size and scope and there's never any doubt that the compositions themselves are well thought out and thematically sound. This is one of those scores that really benefits from repeat plays and the more you listen the more inherent quality you discover. A fun, entertaining score then, both homage and reinvention, sprinkled with a generous dose of spirited charm.

Mark Hockley

**** 4

Gary Dalkin adds:-

This is indeed a thrilling, extremely well crafted score paying homage to an older era of film music by the collaborating composers behind many successful reconstructions and re-recordings of Golden Age scores on the Marco Polo label. If you like this try their explosive Trinity & Beyond or Atomic Journeys- Nukes in Space albums, or their thrilling complete recording of Max Steiner's grandfather of all science fiction action scores, King Kong (1932) (Marco Polo 8223763)

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