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ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE

"Good old animation scoring returns"


Review by Thomas Glorieux:

Music fans were still under the magic spell of wizard James Newton Howard's latest Disney score Dinosaur. The successful soundtrack that featured no songs and a dazzling score became one of the best efforts of 2000, Atlantis surely wasn't to be the exception in 2001. The trailer gave us an advantage and it contained portions of Howard's music, using some of the best moments of the score. Atlantis: the Lost Empire is another Disney production that ignored the usual sing a long songs because the last successful attempt was Hans Zimmer's The Lion King in 1994. This of course makes the job of Howard a bit bigger and harder but he seems to deliver the almighty goods on Disney projects nonetheless. He did it with Dinosaur and he achieved it again with Atlantis, perfecting the movie with more then a mystical and magical environment. The score is another high art delivery and James Newton Howard fans shouldn't panic, this beauty offers more magic qualities of Hollywood's biggest sensation of the moment.
The soundtrack starts with the song 'Where the Dream Takes You', this entry is the next commercial attraction that follows the recent paths of The Mummy Returns and Pearl Harbor, merely for attracting a wider interest. And again it fails to even stir up the attention because I find it a very ordinary song.

Then we hear the powerful entrance of Howard's score, with 'The Submarine' you have the biggest performance of the main theme. It literally explodes onto the disc in almost gothic proportions. The first 7 tracks all embrace an animated pace and mood, to let you remember that this is still an animated movie in the first place and no serious flick. Of course nothing new because Howard approached this scene before with Space Jam. It is a bit on the same level but the music it much more mature, (it isn't for Bugs Bunny but for someone called Milo). Uh ... also good in my book. Especially 'The Leviathan' is big. A bold piece combining the moments of Space Jam and Waterworld into a fitting design. This isn't beautiful but more the adventure ride of the score. And then we arrive at the crossroad of the soundtrack. Those that want more Mickey Mouse scoring will take the wrong direction but others will experience the true majesty of a lost city, the mystical and awe inspiring beauty of Atlantis. 'Milo meets Kida' offers Dinosaur's African style and the theme for Atlantis itself. This especially sounds a lot like Vertical Limit's approach in sound. And here do we also start to hear the main power of Atlantis, the choral performances by The Metro Voices Choir. Almost each track has a short or long performance but each one is magnificent and truly inspiring. 'The City of Atlantis' offers the beauty of the city based on Waterworld's approach and 'The Crystal Chamber' represents the first part of the trailer's accompanying score. The track has a mystical quality that makes it even better then what Dinosaur as a whole offered of power.

The next two tracks are equally stunning and my favorite is 'Just Do It', the first minute is non stop action but the next two minutes offer sublime choral music. It is performed with beauty and surely its one of the most sensational film music moments of James Newton Howard's year. If 'Atlantis' would have been a tad longer then it could have become another highlight but you will be dazzled with the end result nonetheless. The main music of Mya's love song is used sparsely and shows up in the love theme for Milo and Kida. When I heard Atlantis: The Lost Empire for the first time I was simply stunned. But after repeated listens I started to compare it with Dinosaur, and I came to the conclusion that Dinosaur was better on long term. Dinosaur blew me away with each further listen and Atlantis only worked when the absolute beautiful music started to play. But, do not be confused about what you are reading here because Atlantis still offers some of the best music of 2001 so far. It is stylish film music with a lot of mystical beauty and a magical quality. The last 10 tracks offer short moments to long versions of spectacular music and this makes the second part a truly sensational experience. The first part is too much animated accompanying and doesn't work as much as I had hoped. On the whole, Atlantis is nothing short of spectacular and it shows once again why James Newton Howard is such a beloved composer. It isn't because he can score a lot of genres, its because he excels them more then ever.

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Tracks Single Disc

1. When The Dream Takes You: Mya (3.58)

2. The Submarine (3.18)    Excellent Track

3. Milo's Turned Down (1.48)

4. Atlantis Is Waiting (2.41)

5. The Leviathan (3.24)

6. Bedding Down (2.32)

7. The Journey (3.21)

8. Fireflies (2.11)

9. Milo Meets Kida (1.46)

10. The City Of Atlantis (2.48)

11. Milo And Kida's Questions (2.59)

12. Touring The City (2.51)

13. The Secret Swim (2.43)

14. The Crystal Chamber (3.45)    Excellent Track

15. The King Dies / Going After Rourke (5.11)    Excellent Track

16. Just Do It (3.17)    Excellent Track

17. Kida Returns (3.09)

18. Atlantis (1.59)

Total Length: 54.06

 

The use of artwork or photos is posted for non profitable reasons

=== Link to Composer Site: James Newton Howard ===

Original Soundtrack by James N. Howard
Original song by Mya

Produced by by James Newton Howard & Jim Weidman
Executive Producer: Chris Montan

Orchestrations by Jeff Atmajian, Brad Dechter, Pete Anthony, Frank Bennett, John Kull & James Newton Howard

Performed by The Metro Voices

Recorded at Todd -AO Scoring Stage, O' Henry Sound Studios, Air Studios; London, JNH Studios & Schnee Studios

Also See:

Dinosaur

Space Jam

Vertical Limit

Waterworld