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The Rock
Highly fragmented score, but fun in parts. -Isaac Engelhorn (12/30/2001)
Track List:
  1. Hummell Gets the Rockets 6:25
  2. Rock House Jail 10:12
  3. Jade 2:01
  4. In the Tunnels 8:40
  5. Mason's Walk - First Launch 9:34
  6. Rocket Away 14:25
  7. Fort Walton - Kansas 1:37
  8. The Chase 7:35

Total Time: (60:22)

Themes Composed by:
Hans Zimmer

Score Composed by:
Nick Glennie-Smith,
Harry Gregson-Williams,
Don Harper,
Steven Stern

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler,
Suzette Moriarty,
Ladd McIntosh,
Walt Fowler,
Dennis Dreith

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith,
Bruce Fowler,
Don Harper

I should probably start off by saying that the first four minutes of The Rock are very, very, very good. And then it all goes downhill from there. What could have been one of the single best action scores of the 1990s, and has indeed been labled that by many people, sadly turns into a loud, overbearing action-fest with little to no direction. I have made this complaint about scores and the films that they accompany in the past, but it seems to me that this score should have been handled by fewer people. Since there are a total of five people that worked on the score, it's no wonder that the whole thing is so choppy and inconsistent. I place much blame on the film's director, Michael Bay, my personal least favorite in Hollywood. Too bad the guy hasn't had a single non-hugely successful movie to date, as he's been the leader of such memorable pieces of trash as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the mindless action of the film doesn't lend itself well at all to the countless different ideas of so many composers (not on a single score, anyway).

The best parts of the score are those that do so well presenting Hans Zimmer's excellent themes. As I've already mentioned, the first four minutes are extraordinary, as I love Harry Gregson-Williams' take on the main theme of the score. Once the more popular action theme enters though, the music begins to veer in all sorts of different directions, with no regard for what it was trying to accomplish just seconds before some drastic changes are presented. Because of faults like this, the score simply cannot be listened to and thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Most soundtrack listeners can only be in the mood for different bits and pieces of the music at different times. The biggest and best example of this within the score is the transition from "Rocket Away", with it's large orchestral action segment, to "Fort Walton - Kansas", with it's miniscule and cheery light-rock sound.

To put it bluntly, I don't like Nick Glennie-Smith's music much at all. He has always been Zimmer's weakest protege musically, and since he has made the largest contribution to this score, it is hard for me not to dislike large portions of the music. All I know for sure is that the first track is very good, and I believe it was done by Harry Gregson-Williams, so it is not much of a surprise that I like it since Harry is my second-favorite Media Ventures composer. The softer tracks are the only ones that aren't highly grating to the ears, and though I complained about the transition from tracks 6 to 7, I can say that the likes of "Jade" and "Fort Walton - Kansas" are pretty fun to hear on their own, without the loudness surrounding them. They both present warm, soft themes that can be appreciated by people who are fans of Media Ventures or not.

Now that it looks bad, I'm going to shock you by saying this, but I'm actually going to have to recommend this CD. I wouldn't buy it again, and you shouldn't get it at full price, but if you can buy the disc used, it is easily recommendable for the awesome first track and the few moments of softness in other parts, even though much, if not most, of it will give you a headache.


The Rock is Copyright 1995 Hollywood Records. CD produced by Nick Glennie-Smith, Hans Zimmer, and Harry Gregson-Williams. Executive producer: Jerry Bruckheimer. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.