Friday, February 3, 2012

Quick Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Music composed by Andrew Lockington
Orchestrated and Conducted by: Nicholas Dodd
Music Recorded at Abbey Road Studios
Album time: 62 minutes
Available by WaterTower Music
(Download and CD-R)

Lockington first caught the attention of film score fans with his rousing score to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Lockington returns for the sequel, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and delivers a score that doesn’t just match the quality of the original, but exceeds it.  This is a superbly written, thrilling adventure score with great energy and triumphant themes.

Returning from the original film is the ‘Journey Theme.’  Very much the musical identity of the original film, it was most triumphantly stated in the original’s trademark ‘Building The Raft’ cue.  Lockington does a great job utilizing this theme; integrating it without ever recycling.  The theme gets a few very satisfying variations as Lockington alters its resolution in tracks such as The Attic, The Nautilus Escapes and the extraordinary Who’s Up For An Adventure?

But it’s the new material that makes Journey 2 a step above its predecessor.  The theme for the island is perhaps the most memorable.  A grand fanfare with just enough foreboding to express the dangers ahead, it is wonderfully featured through the score, including the Mysterious Island Main Titles.

There is also a dramatically satisfying theme for the camaraderie of our heroes and an intriguing theme for the score’s female vocal solo work.  This in particular gives the score a wonderfully distinctive feel.  The Who’s Up For An Adventure? cue benefits immensely from these unique vocals.

Lockington clearly wanted to add something a bit more exotic to his orchestral score, and even travelled to Papua New Guinea to research Melanesian music.  In addition to female vocals, Lockington even recorded unique tribal percussion for use in the score.  Indeed this percussion is a great fit and is well-utilized in action cues such as the Lizard Chase.

All of these elements are woven together wonderfully by orchestrator Nicholas Dodd.  Dodd is famously known for his collaboration on composer David Arnold’s works; and indeed the excellent action cues feature a similar sound.

The only missteps on the album are a pair of tracks where Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson gives his rendition of What a Wonderful World.  They clash with the rest of the score both in terms of sound and intelligence.

But Lockington’s work stands on its own and his themes are truly wonderful.  Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a great adventure score that should not be missed.

[Thanks to Greg for this guest review.]

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