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Mission to Mars

Track List:
  1. A Heart Beats In Space 7:58
  2. A Martian 6:05
  3. A World Which Searches 2:58
  4. And Afterwards? 6:32
  5. A Wife Lost 3:26
  6. Towards the Unknown 8:14
  7. Ecstasy of Mars 2:57
  8. Sacrifice of a Hero 13:19
  9. Where? 5:32
  10. An Unexpected Surprise 2:32
  11. All the Friends 2:38

Total Time: (62:11)

Composed by:
Ennio Morricone

Conducted by:
Ennio Morricone

Orchestrated by:
Ennio Morricone

Not your average film score; not by a long shot. To be honest, Morricone's score to Brian De Palma's sci-fi blunder Mission to Mars is not just unorthodox, it's downright *weird*. With all of the possibilities open for space travel musically, the legendary Italian composer chooses to take the road less traveled and create a score that is not the usual bombastic space symphony, but is slow, contemplative, and sometimes menacingly atonal. Even so, it contains a very lovely title theme and plenty of good music that fans of unusual approaches to scoring should love.

The opening tracks reflect the more romantic aspect of space travel with a calm and soothing tone that changes drastically by track 4 which introduces odd fluttering woodwinds which change into synth and play atonal bleeps and blips throughout its duration. Though track 4 is different, it's really track 6 that takes the cake. It contains a floating synth bass beat that is complemented by minor chords being played on a pipe organ, and it never begins to speed up, rather it creeps along slowly with sinister effect.

My favorite track, "Where?", is one of the more exciting ones, it opens with three minutes of the threatening atonality but shifts into one of the most ecstatic conclusions I've heard in any film score. It contains a huge arrangement of the title theme complete with a large chorus, which I believe even contains a hint of 1950s era sci-fi corniness. I think it would be difficult for just about any fan of movie music to not appreciate this incredible track.

The final tracks contained on the CD leave me perplexed though. It would have made a better listening experience had the two tracks come before the "Where?" cue. They are slow and contemplative cues like the majority of the score *before* the exciting track 9, and it hurts the album just a bit, so I usually quit listening after track 9 is over. This is an unfortunate end to an otherwise excellent CD.

Overall, I'd recommend Mission to Mars to fans of Moriconne or fans of atonal music. This score is likely to fly over most people's heads, despite its superior composition.

Mission to Mars is Copyright 2000 Hollywood records. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.