Thursday, August 25, 2016

X-Men: The Last Stand (Powell, 2006)


     For the third X-Men film, John Powell picked up where John Ottman left off (who had continued on from Michael Kamen's score for the first installment).  Powell created new themes but somewhat retained some of the rhythmic ideas featured in the previous film scores, most notably in the X-Men "march" rhythm and a development of the "love" theme for Jean (represented by the superb Phoenix theme).  Parts of the Jean/Phoenix theme are used in several variations to represent the beauty and destructive power of the Dark Phoenix, Jean's uncontrollable, near-omnipotent alter-ego.  The Jean/Phoenix theme is presented in a uniquely-glorious version as she kills Xavier and also when she fights Logan at the ending climax.  These pieces are rightfully heralded as some of Powell's best film cues ever.


     Some of the intertwining themes in the score include the following:
  • X-Men theme: Zig-zagging upwards in 4 phrases (3rd phrase somewhat quotes a previous X-Men theme motif), then a syncopated rising-falling B theme and ending fanfare.
  • Phoenix theme: Sweeping and romantic theme, fateful and epic.
  • Phoenix "flange" motif: a somewhat droney, flanging wind texture, representing the dangerous dark power of the Phoenix.
  • Alcatraz motif: short, fateful rhythmic motif, often paired with the Phoenix theme.
  • Golden Gate Bridge fanfare: soaring brass fanfare.

TrkDurTitleFilm Sequence
11:1020 Years AgoXavier and Magneto arrive at Jean's home in the suburbs (X-Men theme in high strings becoming inviting and friendly).
21:09Bathroom Titles0:00: Worthington finds his young son Warren in the bathroom with feathers around his feet.  He realizes his own son is a mutant. 
0:23: Main titles over montage of lab work and DNA imagery (march into X-Men theme).
32:40The Church of Magneto0:00: (Alternate) Magneto warns a gathering of mutants that the government will exterminate them.  He finds some allies and begins building his new army.
Raven Is My Slave Name1:16: Mystique is held behind bars in a moving trailer truck.  She alters her appearance several times to taunt the guard and then threatens to kill him.  Hank's helicopter arrives at Worthington labs to meet the "cure" (ends with hint of Alcatraz theme in high strings).
42:37Meet Leech0:00: Hank is taken to Leech, who can suppress mutant powers.
0:43: Hank is moved when he sees his reverted non-furry-blue hand.
Then Off To the Lake1:19: Scott rides a motorcycle to Alkali Lake in search of Jean (X-Men theme variation in brass).
1:49: Scott hears Jean's voice.  In frustration he eye-blasts the surface of the lake.
52:04Whirlpool of Love0:00: A whirlpool forms in the lake and an explosive blast knocks Scott off his feet (Phoenix theme begins).  Jean appears before him and they embrace.  Jean takes of Scott's glasses and tells him that she can control his optic blasts now.  He slowly opens his eyes and they kiss...
1:55: Suddenly Scott becomes "negatively affected".  Back at the school, Xavier is suddenly struck with alarm.
61:12Examining JeanThe X-Jet arrives at Alkali Lake (X-Men theme fragment in low brass).  Logan and Storm encounter bizarre physical phenomena (Phoenix flanging wind motif).  Storm disperses the mist.
71:28Dark Phoenix(Alternate mix) Back at the school with an unconscious Jean, Xavier explains to Wolverine that he had put psychic dampeners in Jean's mind to control her "Dark" Phoenix personality.  Logan is upset that Xavier has played with Jean's mind.  He leaves as Xavier continues trying to repair the psychic barriers he had put in Jean's mind.
82:34Angel's Cure0:00: Warren arrives at his father's lab.  After being strapped down, the doctors prepare to give him the cure injection.  
1:38: He changes his mind and breaks free.  He flies out the window (Golden Gate bridge fanfare).  Leech sees Warren in the sky soaring away.
91:39Jean and LoganLogan looks on as Jean suddenly wakes up and grabs his arm.  A seductive Jean flirts with Logan (Phoenix theme begins in ethereal choir).  
101:45Dark Phoenix Awakes0:00: Things heat up, but Logan eventually stops her.  When he mentions Xavier, Jean becomes menacing and taunts Logan (brief Phoenix flanging texture).
1:02 Logan asks Jean about Scott and Jean changes back to her "good" Jean personality.  
111:09Rejection Is Never EasyJean has a flashback about the lake and starts psychically tearing apart the room.  Jean begs Logan to kill her before she kills again.  The Phoenix persona resurfaces and blows the door off the room as she escapes.
122:05Magneto Plots0:00: (Alternate) In his underground lair, Magneto examines the "cure gun".  One of his mutant allies (Callisto) informs him that she senses Jean's newly-reawakened power (Phoenix theme). 
0:46: At the school, Logan tells Xavier that he thinks Jean killed Scott, and Xavier worries that she may already be too strong to be stopped.  They rush to Jean's parents' house.
1:35: Xavier runs into Magneto outside of Jean's parents' home and they approach together, as the X-Men and Magneto's mutant allies wait outside.
131:18Entering the HouseThey find boiling water tanks and floating objects (swirling strings, Phoenix flange texture), and then Jean.  They each try to engage Jean to their cause.  Jean/Phoenix becomes angry.
143:18Dark Phoenix's Tragedy0:00: Jean starts causing more psychic destruction as Xavier tries to convince her to calm down and let him help her. 
0:34: The X-Men engage Magneto's mutants. 
1:18: Xavier engages Jean in a psychic battle (Phoenix theme developed).  Jean levitates the house, as well as Xavier's wheelchair.  Xavier begins smoking.
150:30Farewell to XXavier exhorts Jean to resist, and is then disintegrated.
162:52The Funeral0:00: Magneto finds Jean alone and they leave together (somber Phoenix theme variation in strings).  Logan and Storm find Xavier's empty wheelchair in the destroyed house and grieve.
1:08: Xavier's empty wheel chair pans to his funeral on the school lawn, as Storm delivers the eulogy (romantic variation of X-Men theme in strings/brass).
171:12Skating On the PondBobby takes a depressed Kitty to a pond so that she can ice skate (playful variation of X-Men theme in high winds).  Rogue sees them and becomes upset.
182:57Cure Wars0:00: Bobby and Pyro have a confrontation in front of a Mutant Cure demonstration.  Pyro attacks a building.
0:55: Magneto makes ultimatums on TV.  The President considers his next move.  He decides to go to war with Magneto's army.
1:45: Military forces amass at the Worthington cure manufacturing facility.  Rogue gets in line for the cure.
193:06Fight in the Woods0:00: Logan tries to track down Jean in the woods.  He fights Magneto's mutant guards and dispatches them (X-Men theme developed in brass).
1:40: As Magneto rallies his mutant army, Logan locks eyes with Jean (Alcatraz/Phoenix theme).  Magneto pins Logan to a tree.  He tells him that Jean is with him willingly, and then magnetically propels Logan away.
203:03St Lupus Day0:00: Magneto makes plans to attack the Worthington cure lab on Alcatraz.
0:20: Logan returns to the school and asks for help.  The X-Men prepare to defend the Worthington lab.
1:03: Logan rallies the nervous, younger X-Men.  Storm hopes that Logan will be ready to do what's necessary when the time comes.  They launch in the X-Jet (brief X-Men theme march).
2:25: Inside the jet, the heroes think silently to themselves (soft, reflective X-Men theme in strings).
211:16Building BridgesMagneto halts traffic on the Golden Gate bridge (militaristic rhythm with brass and brief Phoenix flange texture).
221:15Shock and No OarsMagneto magnetically lifts the bridge into the air and re-positions it to connect to Alcatraz.
234:36Attack on Alcatraz0:00: Magneto and his army approach the Worthington lab.  Soldiers engage them with Cure guns. 
1:40: Arclight takes out the plastic weapons with a shockwave.  The X-Jet approaches.  Magneto's mutants invade the base.
2:35: The X-Jet lands on the roof of the lab (X-Men march and B theme developed).  Storm uses her lightning on Magneto's army to create a clearing.  Logan has the X-Men form a line to organize the defending soldiers.
3:42: Magneto's forces charge and engage the X-Men (X-Men theme developed).
240:31MassacreJuggernaut heads into the crowd to search out Leech within the lab.  Kitty pursues him.
254:20The Battle of the Cure 0:00: Kitty handles Juggernaut by making him chase her.
0:51: A small team of Magneto's mutants attack the lab staff, including Worthington and the female lab technician. 
1:34: The X-Men continue fighting outside (X-Men themes developed).
1:51: Worthington is dragged to the roof.  Kitty meets Leech.  They trick Juggernaut into running into a wall and knocking himself out.
2:40: Wolverine, Colossus and Beast form a plan to take out Magneto with the Cure.  Colossus propels Logan towards Magneto to distract him.  Beast hits Magneto with cure syringes from behind.
3:10: Magneto loses his powers and falls.  He calls out to Jean.  Logan and Jean's eyes lock, as Logan tells her that "it's over" (relaxed Phoenix theme).  Unfortunately soldiers arrive and shoot at Jean but she destroys the cure-bullets.
264:21Phoenix Rises  0:00: Jean rises into the air and begins disintegrating the soldiers (and causing general destruction to Alcatraz Prison) (Alcatraz theme).
1:06: Logan realizes that he's the only one who can stop the Dark Phoenix (Phoenix theme developed with drums/chanting female choir).  Destruction continues and water spouts erupt around the island. 
2:28: Logan approaches Phoenix, as his mutant powers enable him to resist Jean's destructive power (sweeping Phoenix theme).
3:04: Phoenix asks if Logan would die for "them", and he replies that he would for her.  Logan kills Phoenix/Jean.  The water spouts fall as Logan feels grief.
275:29The Last Stand 0:00: Jean, Scott and Xavier's graves are visited by Kitty and Storm (pastoral X-Men theme development begins).
0:42: Bobby finds that Rogue has returned but without her mutant powers ("cured").  Storm greets Leech as he enters the school, and Logan watches the TV report as Hank becomes a diplomat for humans and mutant-kind.  The camera pulls back over the destroyed Golden Gate bridge and into the sky (Golden Gate bridge fanfare).
2:50: Magneto is seen playing chess, as his powers seemingly begin to return.
3:26: End titles:  X-Men march theme.
4:05: Main theme coda (transition)
4:28: Slow march intro to Phoenix theme
4:50: Phoenix theme




Monday, August 1, 2016

X2: X-Men United (Ottman, 2003)


     In 2000, the late Michael Kamen scored the successful first X-Men film.  3 years later, John Ottman (who was originally chosen to score the initial film) picked up where Kamen left off in "X2: X-Men United", and added his own spin on the musical themes of the titular superhero outcasts.  In the next decade he would go on to score 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and 2016's "X-Men Apocalypse".


     Ottman crafted many themes based on the characters in the film, and for a few of them (Stryker, Magneto and Jean Grey), created several sub-themes as well.  There are also a few "action" motifs, usually developed around rhythmic string ostinati, as well as some less obvious melodic material for Kurt (Nightcrawler) and Storm.
  • X-Men theme: fanfare/march, somewhat a "mutation" of Kamen's X-Men theme, and keeping the falling tail note.
  • Stryker theme: 3 note falling-rising motif, also an inverted version (rising-falling).
  • Stryker temptation theme: hypnotic tremolo figure.
  • Mystique theme: 5-note phrase variation of X-Men theme, often on harp with female sighing.
  • Jean Grey theme: falling, resigned/mystical melody/chord cadence, sometimes with cascading Phoenix motif.
  • Magneto theme: Ominous 3 and 4-note falling figure, with a syncopated sub-theme.
  • Deathstryke theme: metallic march rhythm, sometimes with exotic flute motif.
  • Wolverine drums motif.
  • Pyro theme: slow tremolo figure leading into a fateful harmony.


     The original soundtrack featured about half of the music used in the film, but in 2012 Lala-Land Records put out an Expanded Release.  This is described below.
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence (and themes)
1.1 0:22 Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare 0:00: Logos (ends with X-Men fanfare).
1.2 1:09 Opening
Titles
0:00: Xavier talks about the human-mutant issue in a voice-over over a star background (X-Men fanfare surfaces out of choir).
0:28: Main title with "tunnel" graphic, backing out into locked Cerebro chamber door (X-Men fanfare and march).
1.3 3:18 Nightcrawler Attack 0:00: A tour group looks at a portrait of Lincoln in the White House (subtle American anthem quote).  The President confers with his staff.  Kurt (Nightcrawler) teleports among the crowd.
1:09: Kurt begins his attack on the White House staff (Mozart's Requiem Mass choral chant with brass and percussion accents).
2:15: The President listens to the sounds of struggle in his office (held texture).  Kurt enters (choral chant resumes), dispatches the final agents and prepares to stab the President, but is shot at the last minute.  He escapes, leaving a message: "Mutant freedom now".
1.4 1:59 Alkali Lake 0:00: Scene dissolve to a frozen lake and dam, with Logan (Wolverine) approaching in the snow.  A white wolf shows him a gate.
1:06: Logan finds the abandoned ruins of the "Alkali Lake Industrial Complex" (hint of Stryker theme in low brass).
1.5 1:02 Jean's Hallucination 0:00: In a museum, Jean starts having psychic disturbances (partially used).
Something Terrible 0:29: Jean tells Scott that her dreams are getting worse.  He comforts her and they embrace.
1.6 3:38 Newscast 0:00: A newscast about Kurt's White House attack prompts Xavier to ask the students to leave the museum and return to the school. 
0:22: Back at Xavier's office, he tells the X-Men that he has been trying to track Kurt but is having some trouble.
Permission 1:06: Stryker tells Senator Kelly-Mystique that he's been interrogating Magneto and has learned about Xavier's school for mutants (brief X-Men motif in steel drums).  The President gives him permission for a raid.
2:07: Mystique-Kelly and Stryker later have a tense talk about a mutant-human war (X-Men motif, Mystique motif in harp).
Reunion 2:33: Logan returns to the school and flirts with Jean (Jean Grey theme), until Scott arrives.
1.7 1:27 Cerebro 0:00: Logan joins Xavier, as the Professor uses Cerebro to search out Kurt (cello, strings/synth).  He tells Logan that if he concentrates too hard, his probes could kill the people he is mentally connected to.
1.8 4:01 Sneaky Mystique 0:00: Jean and Storm take off in the X-Jet to find Kurt (X-Men fanfare).
0:27: Mystique infiltrates Stryker's office to research Magneto's imprisonment (Mystique theme developed in harp, echoed pizz strings, metals, female sighing voice etc, hint of Magneto theme in low brass). 
2:18: Yuriko arrives (Deathstryke motif), as Mystique learns of a duplicate Cerebro (Stryker motif in high winds).
3:04: Mystique transforms into a janitor and leaves (Mystique harp motif/sighs).
1.9 2:20 Meeting Nightcrawler 0:00: Inside an abandoned church, Storm uses lightning to bring Kurt out of hiding (X-Men fanfare developed).  Jean catches him (brief, gentle Jean theme chords).  Kurt claims he is innocent and that he was mind-controlled. 
1:10: Among his skin carvings, they discover a strange scar on the back of his neck (female chant).
1:51: Logan has a flashback dream about the lab in which he was experimented on (hint of Stryker theme harmony in strings).
1.10 2:29 You Remember Him 0:00: Magneto tells Xavier that Stryker has been visiting him (inverted variation of Stryker theme).
0:39: They discuss Logan.  Magneto apologizes for being Stryker's tool.  The room is gassed.
1:39: Xavier and Scott are captured by Deathstryke (Deathstryke metallic rhythm).
1.11 7:54 Mansion Attack 0:00: Soldiers sneak into Xavier's school and begin tranquilizing students.  Logan senses something is amiss.
0:42: The students, alerted, begin trying to escape.  Stryker's helicopter approaches from afar (ominous piano/bass).  Logan engages soldiers in the kitchen (brass, Wolverine drums).  Colossus leads the students out.
2:34: Logan rushes more soldiers (drums, fateful Stryker theme variations).  Stryker's helicopter gets closer.
4:32: Stryker's helicopter arrives (reverse Stryker theme).  Rogue, Bobby and John try to escape but are cornered.  Logan rescues them (drums) and leads them out, until they run into Stryker.
Don't You Remember 5:20: Stryker tempts Logan with hints of his past (reverse Stryker theme in high winds), but Bobby interrupts when he erects an ice wall between them (Stryker temptation theme). 
Escape 6:52: Stryker blows up the ice wall (Stryker temptation theme).  Logan leaves with the kids in Scott's car (X-Men motif), as soldiers reach Cerebro.
1.12 1:58 Opening Cerebro 0:00: Stryker breaks into the Cerebro chamber.
Bottom's Up 1:22: In a bathroom stall, Mystique drugs one of Magneto's guards in order to give him an iron injection (Mystique motif in harp/sighs). 
1.13 3:29 Jason's Story 0:00: Stryker tells Xavier how his psychic son Jason tortured his parents until his wife killed herself (reversed Stryker theme).  He brings Jason in.
Harmless Kiss 2:26: While at Bobby's house (Pyro theme begins developing), Rogue flirts with Bobby and they have a brief kiss, with slightly uncomfortable consequences.
1.14 1:27 Magneto's Escape 0:00: (alternate mix) Eric senses the high iron content in the guard and draws it out of him.  He uses 3 metal balls to escape his prison.
1.15 2:49 What Bobby Can Do 0:00: Bobby freezes a cup of coffee for his mother during his "coming out".  Bobby's brother calls the police.
Finding Faith 0:51: Kurt explains his skin carvings to Storm.  Storm uses anger to express her feelings for humanity's prejudice, and Kurt advises faith.
1.16 3:15 Pyro Attack 0:00: Police arrive at Bobby's house.  Logan is shot unconscious.  John (Pyro) is tempted to use his fire powers (Pyro theme).  He attacks the police.  Rogue uses her power to absorb John's control over flame and stop the fires.
2:18: Jean and Storm arrive as Logan wakes up and gives the policeman who shot him if a warning look.  Bobby gives his fearful parents a regretful look and they all leave.
1.17 1:26 Xavier Escapes 0:00: (Unused) Xavier escapes by using his powers to overcome a guard.  He finds Scott (unfortunately it's all an illusion by Jason).
1.18 2:20 Storm's Perfect Storm 0:00: When the X-Jet is targeted by hostile fighters, Storm uses her powers to create tornado funnels, and the X-Jet performs evasive maneuvers (Jean harmony with choir).
Missiles 1:25: One of the pursuing fighters launches 2 missiles.  Jean stops one of them but the other hits and brings down the X-Jet (they are soon saved by Magneto).
1.19 5:02 Fireside Chat 0:00: Magneto and the X-Men discuss Stryker's plans (Stryker theme in strings).  
Flashback 1:20: Jean uses her powers to probe Kurt's mind in order to locate Stryker's hidden base.
Jean And Logan 2:01: Jean and Logan have a heart to heart (Jean theme featured on piano).  Logan kisses Jean, but gets rejected.
You Know What I Want 3:24: Mystique decides to play a trick on Logan and pretends to be Jean (Jean theme chords with playful pizz bass).  She taunts him with images of Stryker (Mystique theme in harp/sighs, Stryker motif in high winds).
1.20 2:11 God Among Insects 0:00: Pyro shows his power to Magneto (Pyro theme with choir support).
Where Is Everyone? 0:42: Jason puts Xavier into an illusionary visit with an empty school.  In the illusion he decides to use Cerebro to find the other students.
1.21 4:21 I'm In 0:00: Logan enters Stryker's base through an underground tunnel.  He calls out Stryker.  Stryker's men capture him and bring him to Stryker (hint of Mystique theme).
1:38: Stryker realizes that it's actually Mystique.  Mystique takes out some men and gets control of the tunnel doors (frenzied piano, etc).  Stryker uses charges to blow open the door to Mystique, but with little effect.
2:58: Mystique opens the tunnel doors, allowing the X-Men to enter (X-Men motif developed).
3:30: Xavier, still in Jason's illusion, approaches and enters Stryker's modified copy of Cerebro.
1.22 3:53 It's Time 0:00: The door to Mystique is broken down, but it is Magneto and the X-Men who enter.  They form a plan to split up, as Logan heads for Stryker. 
1:11: Stryker arrives at his modified Cerebro and tells Jason to proceed with his plan (Stryker temptation theme begins).  Jason tells Xavier to find all of the mutants in the world using Cerebro. 
3:27: Xavier puts on the Cerebro helmet.
2.1 2:40 The Children 0:00: Storm and Kurt rescue the kidnapped students.
0:26: Jean looks for the Stryker-controlled Scott.  Scott attacks and Jean retaliates, but her Phoenix powers manifest and cause major damage to the base (and dam).  Water begins to leak in (ominous brass).  Scott comes out of Stryker's control and embraces Jean (subtle Jean theme).
Something's Wrong 1:50: Jean feels that something is wrong.  Stryker realizes the base is finished, as Xavier continues tracking mutants with Cerebro..
2.2 4:58 Augmentation Room
(Death Strikes Deathstrike)
0:00: Logan finds the lab where his adamantium was fused to his bones.  He has flashback visions of the procedure. 
1:58: Stryker and Deathstryke arrive (Stryker theme in strings).  Deathstryke stops Logan from reaching Stryker (Deathstryke metallic elements enter).
3:05: Deathstryke reveals her claws (Deathstryke flute motif) and Logan engages her in battle.
2.3 5:53 Deathstrike Dies 0:00: John (Pyro) disobeys orders and leaves the X-Jet (Pyro theme).
0:15: Logan's fight with Deathstryke continues.
0:32: Logan finally kills her with an adamantium injection (solo boys voice).
Magneto's Old Tricks 1:01: Jason tells Xavier to kill all of the mutants that he's found with Cerebro.  Magneto kills a bunch of soldiers (by pulling all of their grenade pins) and approaches Cerebro's outer door (falling Magneto motif).  Xavier concentrates on the mutant population.
2:13: The mutants begin to feel Xavier's attack.  Magneto eventually breaches the door to Stryker's Cerebro and shuts down the device.  The X-Men regroup as Magneto lectures Xavier. 
4:05: Magneto reconfigures Cerebro's architecture (Magneto sub-theme).  Stryker-Mystique gives Jason new instructions.
5:23: Jason has Xavier target all humans.
2.4 8:16 Wolverine To The Rescue 0:00: At his escape helicopter, Stryker tells Logan that the base will soon be destroyed and that they must escape if he wants answers to his past (Stryker theme in strings over piano arpeggios).  Logan straps him to the plane and heads back to the base.
2:06: Xavier prepares to kill all humans.  The X-Men arrive outside Cerebro as Xavier begins his attack on mankind (moaning accents/organ/harp, etc).
3:31: Storm asks Kurt to teleport her into the Cerebro chamber (suspense piano/winds).
4:16: Storm decides to use her cold climate powers to wake up Xavier.  Outside, Magneto says farewell to Stryker (Magneto motif).
5:07: Storm begins lowering the temperature with high winds, as Magneto and Mystique escape in Stryker's helicopter.  Pyro joins Magneto (Pyro theme).  Storm continues to lower the temperature inside the Cerebro room.
6:30: Xavier finally comes out of Jason's illusion (rising horn figure).  The base starts to collapse (churning low winds). 
7:15: The X-Men race to escape the base.  Logan finds them and leads them out.
2.5 2:23 Rogue Earns Wings 0:00: As cracks develop in the dam, the X-Men reach the outside, but find Stryker's escape helicopter gone. 
0:48: Suddenly Rogue arrives in the X-Jet and makes a rough landing.  The students all board with the Professor.
2:00: Logan has a final talk with Stryker.
2.6 7:04 Goodbye 0:00: Logan leaves Stryker and rejoins the other X-Men.  Xavier urges the team to get to Washington.  The X-Jet prepares to take off.
1:06: The dam breaks and Jean makes a decision.  She exits the X-Jet so that she can turn away the water (Jean harmony begins).
2:01: Jean closes the exit ramp before Scott can call her back.  Water approaches.   Jean protects the X-Jet from the wave (Jean theme becomes Phoenix motif).
3:39: Jean communicates a final message to Scott through Xavier.  Her Phoenix power manifests as she raises the jet (Phoenix motif).
4:24: The X-Men realize Jean is gone (Jean theme developed).  Kurt says a prayer.  The X-Jet heads to Washington.
We're Here To Stay 5:39: The X-Men give the President documents proving that Stryker was behind the White House attack (after hijacking his TV address in the dark).  Xavier tries to change the President's mind about mutants.
2.7 3:10 Evolution Leaps Forward 0:00: The President reconsiders his next words.  At Xavier's school, Xavier talks to Scott.
0:29: As Scott leaves, Logan tells him that Jean chose Scott.  Xavier begins a class.  He senses something outside the window, and then continues teaching (Jean harmony in soft strings). 
1:51: Camera pans to Alkali Lake as Jean's voice-over describes a leap forward in evolution.  A Phoenix-like shape appears below the water.
2:40: End Credits (X-Men theme march).
2.8 7:17 Suite From X-Men 2
(End Credits Original Version)
0:00: X-Men theme developed into a march.
1:19: X-Men theme developed on strings/brass.
1:43: Phoenix theme in strings.
2:34: Jean theme developed in piano/winds/strings, joined by choir.
4:51: Pyro theme, Stryker theme.
5:56: X-Men fanfare begins to resurface.
6:16: X-Men March.
2.9 0:51 Evolution Leaps Forward
(Original Version)
(Alternate) Camera pans to Alkali Lake as Jean's voice-over describes a leap forward in evolution.  A Phoenix-like shape appears below the water.
0:43: End Credits.
2.10 9:10 Suite From X-Men 2
(End Credits
Film Version)
0:00: X-Men theme developed into a march.
1:19: X-Men theme developed on strings/brass.
1:43: Phoenix theme in strings.
2:34: Jean theme developed in piano/winds/strings, joined by choir.
4:45: Magneto themes.
5:55: Deathstryke theme.
6:40: Pyro theme, Stryker theme.
5:56: X-Men fanfare begins to resurface.
8:14: X-Men March.


     The original 2003 soundtrack release has many of the highlights of the score and, all things considered, is actually not a bad 1-CD representation:
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence (and themes)
1 7:11 Suite
from
X2
0:00: X-Men theme developed into a march.
1:19: X-Men theme developed on strings/brass.
1:43: Phoenix theme in strings.
2:34: Jean theme developed in piano/winds/strings, joined by choir.
4:51: Pyro theme, Stryker theme.
5:56: X-Men fanfare begins to resurface.
6:15: X-Men March.
2 2:18 Storm's Perfect Storm 0:00: When the X-Jet is targeted by hostile fighters, Storm uses her powers to create tornado funnels, and the X-Jet performs evasive maneuvers (Jean/Phoenix harmony with choir).
1:25: One of the pursuing fighters launches 2 missiles.  Jean stops one of them but the other hits and brings down the X-Jet (they are soon saved by Magneto).
3 1:31 Finding Faith 0:00: Kurt explains his skin carvings to Storm.  Storm uses anger to express her feelings for humanity's prejudice, and Kurt advises faith.
4 3:31 Sneaky Mystique 0:00: Jean and Storm take off in the X-Jet to find Kurt (X-Men fanfare).
0:27: Mystique infiltrates Stryker's office to research Magneto's imprisonment (Mystique theme developed in harp, echoed pizz strings, metals, female sighing voice etc, hint of Magneto theme). 
2:00: Yuriko arrives (Deathstryke motif), as Mystique learns of a duplicate Cerebro (Stryker motif in high winds).
2:42: Mystique transforms into a janitor and leaves (Mystique harp motif/sighs).
5 1:28 Cerebro 0:00: Logan joins Xavier, as the Professor uses Cerebro to search out Kurt (cello, strings/synth).  He tells Logan that if he concentrates too hard, his probes could kill the people he is mentally connected to.
6 7:35 Mansion
Attack
0:00: Soldiers sneak into Xavier's school and begin tranquilizing students.  Logan senses something is amiss.
0:42: The students, alerted, begin trying to escape.  Stryker's helicopter approaches from afar (ominous piano/bass).  Logan engages soldiers in the kitchen (brass, Wolverine drums).  Colossus leads the students out.
2:16: Logan rushes more soldiers (drums, fateful Stryker theme variations).
3:55: Stryker's helicopter gets closer.  Rogue, Bobby and John try to escape but are cornered.  Logan rescues them (drums) and leads them out, until they run into Stryker.
5:00: Stryker tempts Logan with hints of his past (reverse Stryker theme in high winds), but Bobby interrupts when he erects an ice wall between them (Stryker temptation theme). 
6:32: Stryker blows up the ice wall (Stryker temptation theme).  Logan leaves with the kids in Scott's car (X-Men motif), as soldiers reach Cerebro.
7 1:36 Rogue Earns Her Wings 0:00: Rogue arrives in the X-Jet and makes a rough landing.  The students all board with the Professor.
1:15: Logan has a final talk with Stryker.
8 3:41 It's Time 0:00: The door to Mystique is broken down, but it is Magneto and the X-Men who enter.  They form a plan to split up, as Logan heads for Stryker. 
1:01: Stryker arrives at his modified Cerebro and tells Jason to proceed with his plan (Stryker temptation theme begins).  Jason tells Xavier to find all of the mutants in the world using Cerebro. 
3:16: Xavier puts on the Cerebro helmet.
9 4:59 Magneto's Old Tricks 0:00: While in prison, Eric senses the high iron content in the guard and draws it out of him.  He uses 3 metal balls to escape his prison.
1:24: At Alkali Base, Magneto kills a bunch of soldiers (by pulling all of their grenade pins) and approaches Cerebro's outer door (falling Magneto motif).  He breaches the door and shuts down the device.  The X-Men regroup as Magneto lectures Xavier. 
3:11: Magneto reconfigures Cerebro's architecture (Magneto sub-theme).  Stryker-Mystique gives Jason new instructions.
4:29: Jason has Xavier target all humans.
10 4:12 I'm In 0:00: Logan enters Stryker's base through an underground tunnel.  He calls out Stryker.  Stryker's men capture him and bring him to Stryker (hint of Mystique theme).
1:38: Stryker realizes that it's actually Mystique.  Mystique takes out some men and gets control of the tunnel doors (frenzied piano, etc).  Stryker uses charges to blow open the door to Mystique, but with little effect.
2:51: Mystique opens the tunnel doors, allowing the X-Men to enter (X-Men motif developed).
3:21: Xavier, still in Jason's illusion, approaches and enters Stryker's modified copy of Cerebro.
11 3:22 If You
Really Knew
0:00: At his escape helicopter, Stryker tells Logan that the base will soon be destroyed and that they must escape if he wants answers to his past (Stryker theme in strings over piano arpeggios).  Logan straps him to the plane and heads back to the base.
2:05: Xavier prepares to kill all humans with Cerebro.  The X-Men arrive outside Cerebro as Xavier begins his attack on mankind (moaning accents/organ/harp, etc).  Storm asks Kurt to teleport her into the Cerebro chamber (suspense piano/winds).
12 2:45 Playing with Fire 0:00: Police arrive at Bobby's house.  Logan is shot unconscious.  John (Pyro) is tempted to use his fire powers (Pyro theme).  He attacks the police.  Rogue uses her power to absorb John's control over flame and stop the fires.
1:48: Jean and Storm arrive as Logan wakes up and gives the policeman who shot him if a warning look.  Bobby gives his fearful parents a regretful look and they all leave.
13 4:52 Death Strikes Deathstryke 0:00: Logan finds the lab where his adamantium was fused to his bones.  He has flashback visions of the procedure. 
1:38: Stryker and Deathstryke arrive (Stryker theme in strings).  Deathstryke stops Logan from reaching Stryker (Deathstryke metallic elements enter).
2:55: Deathstryke reveals her claws (Deathstryke flute motif) and Logan engages her in battle.
14 4:00 Getting Out Alive 0:00: Storm decides to use her cold climate powers to wake up Xavier.  Outside, Magneto says farewell to Stryker (Magneto motif).
0:50: Storm begins lowering the temperature with high winds, as Magneto and Mystique escape in Stryker's helicopter with Pyro (Pyro theme).
2:13: Xavier finally comes out of Jason's illusion.  The base starts to collapse. 
2:59: The X-Men race to escape the base.  Logan finds them and leads them out.
15 5:28 Goodbye 0:00: Logan leaves Stryker to die in the snow and rejoins the other X-Men at the plane.  Xavier urges the team to get to Washington.  The X-Jet prepares to take off.
1:06: The dam breaks and Jean makes a decision.  She exits the X-Jet so that she can turn away the water (Jean harmony begins).
2:00: Jean closes the exit ramp before Scott can call her back.  Water approaches.   Jean protects the X-Jet from the wave (Jean theme becomes Phoenix motif).
3:25: Jean communicates a final message to Scott through Xavier.  Her Phoenix power manifests as she raises the jet (Phoenix motif).
4:10: The X-Men realize Jean is gone (Jean theme developed).  Kurt says a prayer.  The X-Jet heads to Washington.
16 1:48 We're Here
to Stay
0:00: Back at the White House, the X-Men give the President documents proving that Stryker was behind the White House attack (after hijacking his TV address in the dark).  Xavier tries to change the President's mind about mutants.
1:18: End credit (X-men fanfare).

Links

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Little Mermaid, ie Malá morská víla (Liska, 1976)


     Zdenek Liska had a notable filmography with the avant-garde stop-motion film-maker Jan Švankmajer, but he also wrote a delightful score to Karel Kachyna's Czech adaptation of Han Christian Anderson's "Malá morská víla"- i.e. "The Little Mermaid".


     As in the original story, a Mermaid encounters a human Prince while visiting the surface world.  She rescues him from death, but when he wakes up, he mistakes a newly-arrived human girl for his savior.  Later, in order to be with the Prince, the Mermaid visits a Sea Witch and sacrifices her aquatic form (and voice).  All goes well until the Prince marries the wrong girl.  In the end, the Mermaid tragically chooses to die rather than harm the Prince.


     Liska uses a variety of instruments in the score including some unusual synthesizer (Moog?) textures, treated with reverb to create an "underwater" flavor.  The Sea King's celebrations are accompanied by on-screen musicians who play conch shells, and these are presented in the score with flutes and hand percussion.  The songs sung by the Mermaid are enchanting, but also sophisticated, using some exotic melodic ideas.  Several themes and textures include:

  • Pendant theme: Vibrating organ drone with swelling textures.
  • Mermaid theme: A childlike song which includes some ethnic melodic twists.
  • Sea theme: Sea King's royal theme, opens with 4 rising notes, heard in the Main Title.
  • Announcement themes: Short fanfares used to announce the arrival of the various families and rulers of the sea.
  • Sea Witch theme: Somewhat melancholy song which the Mermaid had overheard being sung by the Sea Witch.
  • Siren theme: Used to lure sailors to their deaths, choral and ethereal, derived from Sea Witch theme.
  • Prince theme: Opens with an accent followed by a 4-note figure (rising and then with a falling tail), somewhat fateful.


     The tracks below are listed in chronological film sequence. A few tracks include the Mermaid's vocal track, and these I put at the end (tracks 4, 11).
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence/Themes
1 4:02 Malá Mořská Víla 0:00: The Sea King throws a sword at the screen.  Cut to waves crashing on rocks, distorted beach camera shot with main titles, credits over waves crashing on a beach.
Pendant theme as organ drones, Sea theme (opening rising 4-note figure), choral glissandi/accents, theme, bridge, theme recap, coda.
3:02: As the camera gradually pans underwater, a voice-over explains that an aquatic race populates the seas.  The scene lands on 2 sisters at the bottom of the sea.
Sea theme coda developed on subdued choir/winds/timpani, underwater pops/Pendant theme organ drones.
5 2:20 The Pendant / The Little Mermaid (Theme) The Mermaid sings a song to her father the Sea King.  Meanwhile the King uses his magic ring to observe a ship on the surface crash and sink (version without vocal).
Pendant theme organ drones, Mermaid theme in strings/bass/guitar/synth, high percussion leads to harpsichord, then brass/percussion/bass, recap percussion/harpsichord coda
3 2:46 Pearls From The Deep 0:00: The various peoples of the sea gather and exchange gifts/food.  The Sea King displays a ship's masthead and other things he has obtained from the humans.  They joke about the humans' misconceptions of underwater people.  The Sea Prince talks to the Mermaid.
Sea theme in flute/hand percussion/synth/bass, crossfaded into electronic pulses/sliding ambient drones.
2:11: The Mermaid's sisters playfully throw pearls at her and the Sea Prince.  The king displays his collection of human weapons.
Metallic percussion/ambient drones, Pendant theme organ drones/underwater pops.
7 3:11 The Sixth Sister 0:00: The Sea Prince tells the Mermaid about her father's magic viewing room.
Pendant theme organ drones/electronic pulses/sliding ambient drone.
0:35: The Sea Prince departs.  All of the mer-people begin to ascend stairs towards the surface. 
Announcement Theme 1 in flutes/bass, tic toc guitar/hand percussion/ambient sounds, joined by strings.
1:48: The Mermaid stays behind in order to explore her father's collection.
Electronic pulses/sliding ambient drones, scuffling sounds.
2:41: The Mermaid enters the forbidden cave.
Mysterious strings dialogue with slow tic toc guitar/perc., underwater pops.
8 1:38 Statue Of Salt 1 The Mermaid comes across a beautiful statue of a woman.  Her father appears and tells her that it is her mother.
Mysterious strings/underwater pops, Pendant theme organ drones with pops developed into a rhythm, pops and ambient accents.
9 1:22 Aquatic Babička (Theme) 0:00: The Sea King's musicians play.  The Mermaid talks about her magic pendant, which glows.
Announcement Theme 2 (Crown Prince of the Sunset Sea) in flutes/bass.
0:22: The Mermaid sings the song of the Sea Witch to her grandmother (no vocal).
Sea Witch theme in harpsichord/strings/cymbals.  Theme developed with accents/swells/wind sounds.
6 1:19 The Song Of The Siren (Theme) The (human) Prince hears the Mermaid's song and tells his ship's crew to pursue it.
Siren theme in gliding choral textures, ambient textures/pops/glass clinking.
19 0:31 Ascension To Fireworks The Sea King tells everyone to ascend to see the fireworks.  The Mermaid is amazed.
Harpsichord/organ accents with tic toc guitar/hand perc./synth accents, ending in strings accent.
10 0:48 In Safe Hands On the shore, the Mermaid cares for the rescued Prince and kisses him.  She sees a rooster.  The Princess and her friends approach on horseback.
Prince theme in harpsichord in 4-note figure (rising-falling), with zigzag falling figure, mysterious string textures becoming darker.
22 0:23 Behind The Rock The Princess finds the Prince lying on the shore, as the Mermaid hides behind a rock.
Poignant strings derived from Mermaid sub-theme.
13 1:05 Statue Of Salt 2 After the Mermaid has disappeared, the Sea King visits the mother's statue, and then leaves.  The Mermaid returns from rescuing the Prince.
Pendant theme organ drones/underwater popping developed into rhythm, joined by echoed ambient sounds/roaring.
12 2:04 The Black Sea The Mermaid sits on ocean rocks and pines for the departed human Prince.  She daydreams about different natural locales on land.
Prince theme in vibraphone/bass/hand perc., joined by flute, clarinet, developed with strings/perc./flute/clarinet/music box/synth.
2 1:28 Witches Firewall The Mermaid carefully ascends a staircase to the Sea Witch's cave while evading flames.
Underwater popping in rhythm, developed with high ambient accents/hissing.
14 1:31 Čarodějnice's Castle 0:00: She asks to become human, but the Witch demands to have her song (voice) in return.
Sound effects/ambient textures, with howling/whirring sounds/accents.
1:05: The Sea Witch prepares a magic drink for the Mermaid.
Pendant theme organ drone joins.
21 1:16 The Voice The Mermaid sacrifices her voice so she can become human.
Sound effects/ambient textures, underwater pops, water sounds, Pendant theme organ drones with halting solo vocal chant.
17 3:25 Games / Echoes The Prince and his retinue playfully duel and flirt.  The Prince hears echoes from the Siren song, drawing him away from the party and towards the beach.
Medieval dance rhythm with winds/lute/percussion intercut with Siren theme in gliding choral textures and clapping, ending with gong cadence.
15 1:10 The Song Of The Siren (Song) The Prince leaves his retinue and is drawn to the beach.  He sees the Mermaid land on the sand, unconscious and transformed.
Siren theme blended with Sea Witch song vocal, clapping, joined by bass flourishes, a gong leads to a scream.
16 0:10 Prince Of The Southern Empire The Prince and the Mermaid (now human) emerge from the palace.
Regal bells texture.
18 2:06 The Kiss 0:00: On the beach, the Prince tells the Mermaid that they will have a great future together.  She kisses him and walks towards the sea and finds a dagger from her father.
Beach sounds/synth swells, strings/harpsichord rhythm, Mermaid theme fragments in strings/guitar/ambient textures leading to climax.
1:53: A ship is seen on the ocean, carrying the Mermaid with the Prince on an expedition.
Creaking sounds.
23 5:57 Sunken Dagger / The Little Mermaid (Song) 0:00: After the Prince gives up the Mermaid for the Princess, the Sea King and his people are seen on the rocks.
Accented and percussive variation of Sea theme.
0:52: The Mermaid is seen on the ship with her dagger among the sleeping crew.  Her father urges her to kill the Prince and Princess before it's too late.  She kisses the Prince instead. 
Mermaid theme fragment in strings, becoming poignant with subtle harpsichord/piano ornaments, swells, male choir/low organ/cymbal, poignant strings becoming sweetened with choir/synth/bass
3:20: The sun rises and the Mermaid is seen drowned in the ocean.
Joined by high winds/synth swells, Pendant theme organ drones.
4:01: The Prince looks for the Mermaid but only sees flowers on the ocean.  The flowers prevent the ship from being destroyed on the rocks.
Mermaid theme with vocal/winds/bass/synth/strings, joined by trumpet ornaments/percussion, sweet strings, Pendant theme organ drones.
24 0:21 The Pendant Final Pendant theme organ drones.
20 0:46 Bird In A Cage Unused: Sound effects/ambient textures. 
4 3:37 King Of The Ocean The mermaid sings a song to her father the Sea King.  Meanwhile the King uses his magic ring to observe a ship on the surface crash and sink.
Ambient textures, underwater popping, Mermaid theme in solo voice, joined by strings/synth, brass/percussion/bass, 2nd verse joined by trumpet ornaments, ending in solo voice/ambient sounds.
11 2:31 Aquatic Babička (Song) 0:00: Source music: the Sea King's musicians play.  The Mermaid talks about her magic pendant, which glows.
Announcement Theme 2 (Crown Prince of the Sunset Sea) in flutes/bass.
0:16:The Mermaid sings the song of the Sea Witch to her grandmother.
Ambient sounds, Sea Witch theme in strings/perc/harpsichord with vocal, wind sounds.


Links
Soundtrack at finderskeepersrecords.com
The Little Mermaid, ie Malá morská víla on YouTube (full film)
Zdenek Liska Wiki