Category Archives: Jerry Goldsmith

My thoughts on Alien: Covenant (2017)

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Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my…..well, I finally worked up the courage to go see an Alien film in the theater, and the experience was exactly what I suspected it would be: I.Was.TERRIFIED!!!! Not all the time, but enough that I was thoroughly weirded out by the time the movie ended.

And every time I relate my fright to someone, the first thing they ask is: but did you LIKE it? And…well….I’m actually not sure. I THINK I liked it, I mean if the goal of the film was to scare it’s audience half to death (and gross out the other half) than I think it succeeded).

The story is eerily similar to the original Alien film (which I believe was the idea): the colony ship Covenant is en route to Origae-6 with 2000 colonists (and 1000+ human embryos) in hypersleep and cryo-storage. With seven years and four months left in the voyage, the ship is overseen by the synthetic Walter, who is a physical duplicate of David, the android we met in Prometheus (the events of which are revealed to have occurred ten years before this film). Everything is fine until a random neutrino storm damages the ship. The crew is woken to deal with the problem, but the captain’s pod malfunctions and Branson (James Franco!!) burns to death trapped inside his pod (in the first majorly disturbing scene of the film).

From that point, through pretty much the rest of the film, the crew makes one bad decision after another, and the only one who speaks any degree of sense is Daniels (Covenant’s version of Ripley), who vehemently protests departing their original course to pursue a mystery planet that was previously undetected. This planet turns out to be where David and Shaw ended up after departing at the end of Prometheus. The Covenant crew lands to explore (leaving the main colony ship and a few crew members in orbit) and finds a gorgeous planet, fertile and perfectly habitable (bad weather notwithstanding) but no animals of any kind. Still, there’s no apparent danger until one crew member steps on a pile of half buried jars that release the same pesky pathogen from Prometheus. And a little while later, a second crew member ingests the same pathogen at the site of Shaw’s crashed ship.

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Well, you can guess what happens: chaos!! The first crew member becomes host to a “back-burster” because, well, it claws its way out of the poor guy’s back in a terrifying scene. And, I have to admit that the one critic was right; these crew members act really really dumb. I mean, the one is trying to fend off this newborn Alien with a KNIFE, like that is going to do ANYTHING!! And the one crewmember who DOES go for a gun, misses at point blank range!! *facepalms* As bad as all of that was, it’s nothing compared to the “mouth-burster” that appears from the other crew member. I can’t describe it to you without feeling nauseous, but you can imagine what it looked like.

(Un)Fortunately the crew is “rescued” by David, who has been living alone on the planet for the last 10 years. Claiming that Shaw was killed in the crash and the planet’s population wiped out accidentally, David takes them to the heart of a city that is now a necropolis, literally. The square is full of thousands of blackened corpses, all twisted up in terror from the pathogen that killed them.

The truth about what David has done is absolutely horrifying (especially given that Shaw rescued him and put him back together). Not only did Shaw not die in the crash, she was systematically tortured as David experimented with what the pathogen would do to a human body. It is further revealed that David deliberately released the pathogen on the planet, knowing what it would do to the people living there. It seems that from the beginning David has had nothing but contempt for the humans who created them, deriding them to Walter as “a dying species” who are not worthy to start a new life elsewhere. It seemed to me that David hoped to sway Walter to his side, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the dynamic between Data and Lore in Star Trek: The Next Generation. David refers to Walter as “brother”, and like Lore, he possesses advanced emotional capabilities that Walter does not have. In fact, Walter informs David that others were afraid of him for that reason, which is why subsequent models were made with less emotions (almost the identical reasoning for why Data was made without emotions). Seeing that Walter will not join him, David attempts to kill him, but Walter has a secret: his body is capable of self-repair (something David is unaware of). The first climax involves a tremendous fight between Walter and David (essentially Michael Fassbender is fighting himself and it’s great!!) but the outcome is left unresolved, we only see “Walter” running out after the few surviving crewmembers when pilot Tennessee brings another ship down to rescue them.

ALIEN: COVENANT

It should be mentioned that before all this, David revealed to the captain that he has created eggs, yes THOSE eggs, facehuggers and all. The captain is lured into peeking into an open egg in one of the stupidest moments I’ve ever seen (I mean seriously, looking into the scary alien egg because the untrustworthy android told you to? Seriously?) Revealing David to be the creator of the traditional xenomorph to me turns the history of Alien on its head. Because, it now comes out that the most deadly creature in history was created by one of our own androids for the express purpose of wiping out the human race. But then again, if THAT is true, how is it possible that Predators have been hunting Aliens for thousands of years (per the events of Alien vs Predator and Alien vs. Predator Requiem)? Ah plot holes…don’t you just love them?

Returning to the story, there’s one last fight between Daniels and the xenomorph who is clinging to the ship, but it is disposed of. The fight is over, good guys won, but just as we all breathe a deep sigh of relief…it turns out it’s not over at all. See, the one surviving crewmember, turns out he was already infected with a chestburster (when or how that happened, I’m still not sure, though I have my suspicions. And don’t even ask me why it took longer for this one to gestate). Now there’s a fully formed Alien loose on board the Covenant. It takes out two more crew members (who are too busy getting “busy” in the shower to hear the alarm bells) and it takes the combined efforts of Daniels and Tennessee (“Walter” is watching in fascination) to eject the Alien from the ship.

 

NOW the crisis seems to be over and Daniels and Tennessee can return to their sleep pods for the remainder of their trip. But just before she goes to sleep, Daniels asks “Walter” if he will help her build the cabin she talked about at the beginning of the film. But the android doesn’t answer…because he isn’t Walter. He’s David…and now he has control of everything on the ship. The last scene with Daniels is the most horrifying at all because she knows exactly what David plans to do with her (the same that he did to Shaw) and watching her futilely bang and scream inside her sleep pod before she is yanked into cryo-sleep is terrifying to watch. And that’s where the film ends, with David in control, looking over the 2000 colonists that are now his unwitting test subjects. A final transmission reveals that any news of this “incident” won’t be relayed to Earth for at least 18 months. It’s a dark ending, and a terribly dark film, one that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to watch again because it was just that terrifying.

 

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But one detail in the film intrigued me to no end: at least half of the film uses Jerry Goldsmith’s original Alien score to the exclusion of any other type of music. Even the opening titles (where and how the main title appears) is done in the same way as the original Alien title. It’s an interesting decision that makes sense to a certain degree. Ridley Scott is determined to have Covenant (and the films that follow) set squarely in the Alien universe (no confusion like what happened in Prometheus). What better way to do that than using the original Alien music? When in doubt, set the world with music.

Having watched Alien, Aliens and Prometheus (along with Alien vs Predator), I thought I had some idea of what to expect from this film. I knew there would be blood and gore, that goes without saying for an Alien film, but I was not prepared for what I saw in the film, not even close to prepared.

Contrary to what some people perceive, I am not scared of seeing blood in and of itself. What gets to me is when it’s a LOT of blood, and especially when it’s right up front, no getting away from it. And when you compare Alien: Covenant to its predecessors, one thing stands out right away: the amount of blood actually visible during the violent sequences. Oh sure, there’s the iconic “chestburster” scene with its violent spurt of blood; the pilot Ferro meets a bloody end in Aliens, but really, most of the deaths happen so fast there isn’t any blood at all. But in Alien: Covenant, it seems like every other death scene is an excuse to let loose a torrent of blood and guts. While the “back-burster” scene was gross, I could (mostly) watch because it was really just a chest-burster in reverse. However, the scene that will always bother me is the “mouth-burster.” As soon as I realized what was happening, I had to look away, I could not watch it happen, because I felt physically ill at the thought of it. I know the Alien films are firmly set in the horror genre, but I really feel like that scene took it too far (unless your goal is to make the audience want to throw up).

One detail I’m glad for is that they kept Shaw’s torture and death offscreen, only showing us a few details via David’s drawings. And thankfully, by the time they showed those pictures in detail, my mind was so weirded out that I didn’t really process the images (I didn’t even realize it was Shaw until the last picture) or what they were all about. And speaking of David’s “experiments”, something has been bugging me: in the flashback, the pathogen turned all the Engineers into blackened corpses, right? In that case, where did David get that dissected corpse that was laying on the table? It had an Engineer’s physique, so where did it come from?

These are my excess thoughts on Alien: Covenant; despite the fact that I was royally grossed out and freaked out, I’ll probably be lining up to see the sequel whenever it gets here, if only because now I have to see how this prequel series will line up with the original Alien (that is, if there IS another sequel).

See also:

My Thoughts on: Alien (1979)

My Thoughts on: Aliens (1986)

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Mulan “The Huns Attack” (1998)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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After discovering that the Huns have wiped out the Imperial Army, Shang and his small group of men move towards the pass that leads to the Imperial City, as they need to warn the Emperor of the danger. They seem to be alone…but as they move through a snowy valley, Mushu inadvertently sets off one of the rockets (he tries to blame Lucky Cricket), which quickly reveals that the Huns have been following them all this time as they launch an ambush, destroying many of the valuable rockets in the process. Most of the ambush party is taken out, and suddenly only one rocket is left.

But now the true attack is coming: the smoke clears to reveal Shan Yu up on the hillside, alone. But then his advisors ride up to join him, and then more men and more men…suddenly the entire top of the mountainside is bristling with Hun soldiers, and a loud roar indicates that there are thousands more behind them. Shang orders everyone to prepare to fight, but this is really a suicide mission now (and everybody knows it). Even if they had a hundred men, they wouldn’t even put a dent in Shan Yu’s massive army, which now comes spilling down the mountainside as their leader charges forward.

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This moment never fails to send chills down my spine: the sight of the army pouring down in this huge wave, it really is incredible. In fact, so determined were the Disney animators to get this right, that a whole new software program was invented just to render the Hun army realistically. And Jerry Goldsmith’s music for this moment adds the right level of tension, even though the whole army hasn’t crossed over the mountain yet, you know that this is a huge and awesome force, nothing stands a chance against them!

 

With one cannon left, Shang decides to use it to take out Shan Yu. But as Yao prepares to fire, Mulan looks up and realizes that the taller mountain above them is thick with snow. A cannon blast there would trigger a huge avalanche….with no time for explanations Mulan grabs the cannon and runs ahead to get in proper range to fire. With Shan Yu quickly advancing, Mulan is forced to use Mushu to light the cannon, which fires just as Shan Yu rides up. It’s a perfect hit and Mulan can’t help but smirk a little as the massive avalanche begins. It’s also worth pointing out that the music momentarily vanishes during the beginning seconds of the avalanche and all you hear instead is the rumble of the falling snow (a good example of when it’s better to have no music).

A stunned Shan Yu looks back and sees his massive army being slowly wiped out. Enraged, he swings back to Mulan who suddenly remembers that there’s a really angry Hun standing in front of her. He swipes his sword across her chest but Mulan has no time to react as she needs to run with everyone else to safety before the avalanche takes THEM out as well.

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Mulan and Shang are saved in just the nick of time, while the entire Hun army (Shan Yu) included appears to have been taken out. All seems to be well, except now that the adrenaline is wearing off, Mulan suddenly remembers that she has a serious chest wound and quickly passes out. Things are going to be very different when she wakes up….

Next time: Mulan is finally caught, the Huns aren’t all dead and the Emperor is in serious danger!

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See also:

Mulan “Honor to Us All” (1998)

Mulan “Reflection” (1998)

Mulan “Mulan’s Decision” (1998)

Mulan “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (1998)

Mulan “A Girl Worth Fighting For” (1998)

Mulan “I’ve Heard a Great Deal About You Fa Mulan…” (1998)

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Mulan “A Girl Worth Fighting For” (1998)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Mulan “A Girl Worth Fighting For” (1998)

Believe it or not, this is the last song in the film (though I plan to cover several more orchestral moments to round out the film). Here’s the set up: while Mulan’s training is now going very well, there have been no orders for the soldiers to move out to battle, making it very possible that they won’t see any combat at all. This goes against Mushu’s plans of making Mulan into a hero (to improve his reputation back home) so he conspires with Lucky Cricket to create some fake orders that are ostensibly from Shang’s father General Li. According to the “urgent news”, Shang and his troops are needed at the front, so they quickly head out on the march.

During the long march, the soldiers begin to complain about the never-ending boredom of marching along, but Ling has an idea to keep their minds occupied: talking about girls! Specifically, the dream girls that they’d love to have waiting for them when they get home after the war.

For a long time, we’ve been marching off to battle
In our thund’ring herd,
We feel a lot like cattle
Like the pounding beat,
Our aching feet aren’t easy to ignore
 Hey, think of instead
A girl worth fighting for

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The “dream girls” are animated in a style similar to traditional Chinese art

That’s what I said: a girl worth fighting for

I want her paler than the moon
With eyes that shine like stars
My girl will marvel at my strength, adore my battle scars
I couldn’t care less what she’ll wear or what she looks like
It all depends on what she cooks like
Beef, pork, chicken…
Mmm…

Bet the local girls thought you were quite the charmer
And I’ll bet the ladies love a man in armor
You can guess what we have missed the most since we went off to war
What do we want?
A girl worth fighting for

My girl will think I have no faults
That I’m a major find
Uh… How ’bout a girl who’s got a brain
Who always speaks her mind?
Nah!
My manly ways and turn of phrase are sure to thrill her
He thinks he’s such a lady killer

Ling, Yao and Chien-Po each have their idea of the “perfect woman,”: Ling wants a really pretty girl; Yao wants a girl that admires his physical strength; and Chien-Po (predictably enough), would like a girl that can cook really well. When pressed on the type of girl Mulan/Ping would like, she lamely sings about a girl with “lots of brains, who always speaks her mind” but that idea is rejected as being “unrealistic.” Chi-Fu (the stuck up advisor from the Emperor’s court) claims to have a girl waiting for him back home (but Yao is of the opinion that the only girl who could love Chi-Fu is his own mother).

 But when we come home in victory they’ll line up at the door
 What do we want?
A girl worth fighting for

Wish that I had
A girl worth fighting for
A girl worth fighting-

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Now approaching the mountains, the men continue to whistle about “girls worth fighting for” and everything seems about to break down into a snowball fight when suddenly-the song abruptly ends (this is one of the few Disney songs to end this way). The reason for the song ending is frighteningly clear: the small army has encountered a burned out village in the mountains. Incredibly, while Mushu’s news was meant to be fake, there really IS danger up at the front, because this is where General Li is supposed to be with the bulk of the Imperial Army.

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But the bad news isn’t over. Just over a rise, Chi-Fu sees the full extent of what’s happened: the entire Imperial Army has been slaughtered, including Shang’s father. Heartbroken, Shang sets up a small memorial to honor his father’s memory and then makes ready to pursue the Hun army. With the Imperial Army wiped out, the only thing standing between the Huns and the Imperial Palace are Shang and his men (and one dragon and a cricket).

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What should have been an easy mission to support General Li’s forces has now turned into a life or death scenario: Shang’s forces are hopelessly outnumbered by the Hun Army, how are they possibly going to defeat them? It’s going to take a lot of ingenuity on the part of a certain soldier named Ping….

Next time: the Huns begin their attack!!!

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See Also:

Mulan “Honor to Us All” (1998)

Mulan “Reflection” (1998)

Mulan “Mulan’s Decision” (1998)

Mulan “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (1998)

Mulan “The Huns Attack” (1998)

Mulan “I’ve Heard a Great Deal About You Fa Mulan…” (1998)

And for more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Mulan “Mulan’s Decision” (1998)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Note: This moment has also been known as “Short Hair”

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This scene of Mulan sitting in the lap of the dragon was the introduction of the film’s main trailer.

Mulan has already had a pretty bad day: she’s been humiliated by the matchmaker, her future is uncertain and now…soldiers have ridden into town, led by the sniveling Chi Fu (one of the advisers to the Emperor) and they bring news: the Huns have invaded China! By order of the Emperor, one man from each family must leave to serve in the Imperial Army. Though suffering from some type of illness (or perhaps injury, or both), Mulan’s father steps forward to receive the scroll giving him orders to report to military duty.

Unable to restrain herself, Mulan attempts to intervene and is publicly rebuffed by her father, upsetting things even more. That night, Mulan and her father get into an argument over whether someone should “die for honor” and Mulan’s father snaps “I KNOW my place, it’s time you learned YOURS.” Mulan flees the house in tears and a storm eventually breaks out.

As the music begins, Mulan sits and watches while her parents bid each other good night (Mulan’s mother is visibly upset). There is no dialogue, but as her father blows out the lights, you can see a decision has been made in Mulan’s eyes as she rushes off to the family temple. Jerry Goldsmith uses his full musical talents in this sequence as Mulan prepares for what is essentially a suicide mission: in ancient China, women were strictly forbidden from combat; if Mulan is caught, the sentence will be death.

Despite knowing this, Mulan cannot let her father go and gives her parents a last look as she grabs her father’s orders and leaves to finish her tasks (being observed by the “lucky” cricket that she released during “Reflection”)

Mulan “Mulan’s Decision” (1998) Alternate Goldsmith Score

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The biggest change that must be made is, Mulan’s long hair needs to go. Taking her father’s sword, she hesitates only a moment before cutting most of her tresses away; now she’s passed the point of no return. The next step is to put on her family armor, and by the time she is finished, Mulan is the very image of a young man dressed for war. So complete is the transformation that her horse, Khan, initially doesn’t recognize her.

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Mulan leaves, knowing that she may very well never see her home or her family again. In this entire scene not a word is spoken, the music tells us everything we need to know. And speaking of the music, I was surprised to discover that there are actually TWO pieces of music written for this scene. The film version that we all know and recognize is not the original piece that Jerry Goldsmith composed. THAT version is completely orchestral and more traditional Chinese in sound (for lack of a better description), whereas the film version features a synthesizer for most of the sequence (used to great effect I might add). Personally, I enjoy both versions, and if I prefer the synthesizer score, it’s only because it’s the version I’m used to.

This really is my favorite scene in the entire movie, the art, the music, everything combines together and nothing is lacking or overdone.

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Mulan “Honor to Us All” (1998)

Mulan “Reflection” (1998)

Mulan “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (1998)

Mulan “A Girl Worth Fighting For” (1998)

Mulan “The Huns Attack” (1998)

Mulan “I’ve Heard a Great Deal About You Fa Mulan…” (1998)

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

And don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Mulan “Honor to Us All” (1998)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

 

Mulan was the 36th entry in Disney’s Animated Classics series. The film is based on the legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who lived during the Han Dynasty. For twelve years she practiced kung fu and fought in the army, becoming a well-respected soldier before retiring to her hometown. The score was composed and conducted by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith, while the songs were written by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel.

I remember seeing the trailers for Mulan in the theater, and this film certainly didn’t disappoint me once I saw it for myself. The animation is stunningly gorgeous, the colors are vibrant and the story is very well done. After nearly a decade of churning out great animated films, Disney was in peak form and it really shows here.

In Disney’s Mulan, the story starts at the Great Wall of China. While the guards patrol, invaders suddenly appear: it’s the Huns, led by the feared warrior leader Shan Yu! The Hun leader sees the Great Wall as a personal challenge from the Emperor and he’s more than happy to invade and prove that his army is superior. News of the Hun invasion is brought to the Imperial Palace, and the Emperor commands that all reserves be called up, as he puts it: “A single grain of rice can tip the scales; one man, may be the difference, between victory and defeat.”

At the same time, Mulan is practicing for some type of examination (she’s painting cheat notes on her forearm). Today is a very big day: this is the day Mulan is presented to the local matchmaker to determine what sort of husband she will have. Being a girl in ancient China, making a good marriage is the only way that Mulan can bring honor to her family. Well, for such a big day, it’s not getting off to a great start, because Mulan is LATE!!

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Racing into town on her horse Khan, Mulan is ushered into a series of rooms where she is bathed, dressed and painted to look like a beautiful, traditional Chinese lady from a good family. This is the setting of “Honor to Us All.” Each section of Mulan’s preparation constitutes a different verse of the song, and each verse sings of how obedient girls should be, how finding a great husband is everything, and being the best wife one can be brings great honor to the family and honor is EVERYTHING.

This is what you give me to work with?
Well, honey, I’ve seen worse
We’re gonna turn this sow’s ear
Into a silk purse

We’ll have you washed and dried
Primped and polished till you glow with pride
Trust my recipe for instant bride
You’ll bring honor to us all

Wait and see
When we’re through
Boys will gladly go to war for you
With good fortune
And a great hairdo
You’ll bring honor to us all

During this sequence, there are already hints that Mulan is not your average girl. For one, she has no qualms about riding a horse into town, hair all askew. For another, she appears to have a mind for strategy: in between rooms, she passes by two men playing a game called Go. After observing the board, she makes a move that apparently wins the game for one of the players (though neither of the men could see the move themselves).

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A girl can bring her family
Great honor in one way
By striking a good match
And this could be the day

Men want girls with good taste
Calm, Obedient, who work fast paced

With good breeding (and a tiny waist)

You’ll bring honor to us all

When we’re through, you can’t fail
Like a lotus blossom soft and pale
How could any fellow say “No sale”
You’ll bring honor to us all

Mulan looks distinctly uncomfortable while being dressed up, and deep down she is terrified of disappointing her family. Mulan is barely finished in time and must go racing after the other girls who are already en route to the matchmaker.

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Scarier than the undertaker
We are meeting our matchmaker

Destiny
Guard our girls
And our future as it fast unfurls
Please look kindly on these cultured pearls
Each a perfect porcelain doll

Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us all!

In the nick of time, Mulan is able to join the other girls and comport herself so that she too looks like a perfectly behaved young lady. But while the other girls in line seem quite happy to be meeting the matchmaker, Mulan still isn’t quite sure about the whole affair, but it’s too late to back out now, because they’ve arrived at the matchmaker’s house.

Random thoughts and trivia!

  • I LOVE the reveal of who “Little Brother” really is. You absolutely expect a human, only to find that it’s….a dog!
  • Mulan’s singing voice is provided by Lea Salonga, who was also the singing voice of Princess Jasmine.
  • Mulan’s SPEAKING voice is provided by Ming-Na Wen, aka Melinda May in Agents of SHIELD
  • Grandmother Fa is voiced by June Foray, better known for voicing Granny and Witch Hazel in the Looney Tunes cartoons, among many other roles
  • Mulan is the final film in the Disney Renaissance to be presented in the format of a musical.

I hope you enjoy listening to “Honor to Us All”!

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

See also:

Mulan “Reflection” (1998)

Mulan “Mulan’s Decision” (1998)

Mulan “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (1998)

Mulan “A Girl Worth Fighting For” (1998)

Mulan “The Huns Attack” (1998)

Mulan “I’ve Heard a Great Deal About You Fa Mulan…” (1998)

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*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Jerry Goldsmith talks Lionheart (1987)

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While I am generally familiar with all of Jerry Goldsmith’s work, Lionheart (1987) is a film that I admit I have never heard of, and for good reason it turns out. The film received an exceptionally limited release in theaters, a VHS copy was not issued until 1994 and a DVD version was not seen until 2009.

Lionheart is loosely based on the real-life story of the Children’s Crusade. In this film, a young knight named Robert Nerra, who is disillusioned by the death of his brother, leads a band of orphans en route to join King Richard in the Third Crusade, and must also protect them from the Black Prince (who’d like to enslave all the children and sell them to the Muslims).

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The limited release does not change the fact that Goldsmith’s work was of exceptional quality and the video follows the composer as he works on recording the score in Budapest. I’m pleased to share a rare video of Goldsmith at work with all of you (if only more of these videos existed, what treasures they are!) Have a great weekend!

See also:

Jerry Goldsmith talks The Sand Pebbles (1966)

Jerry Goldsmith talks Chinatown (1974)

Jerry Goldsmith talks about Alien (1979)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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*all images and video are property of the film studio and the creator of the interview

Deja Vu: Comparing the Klingon theme in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: The Motion Picture has had a bad reputation for years, and some of it is rightfully deserved. The pacing is way off (compared to the later films), the acting is…less than ideal at some points, and the mysterious V’Ger is so large as to border on the absurd (in the original version, the size was given as being larger than our own solar system (80 AUs, it was later dubbed over to 8, which is still very massive).

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But one component of the film that I will defend to the death is Jerry Goldsmith’s score. Goldsmith introduced musical themes that have remained with the series (at least in the prime universe) ever since. One such theme is the “Klingon theme” that is heard at the beginning of the film when three Klingon ships move in to attack the mysterious cloud passing through their territory. (The theme begins around 0:09 seconds, listen for the brass)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture “Klingon Battle”

This theme set the tone for the Klingons as they would now appear in the Star Trek film universe (this is also the first time we see “proper” Klingons with the distinctive ridges on their foreheads). Brass, horns and trumpets in particular, have long been associated with war and other martial endeavors (as that is where those instruments evolved) and by utilizing them, Goldsmith is reminding the listener that Klingons are a martial race, they always attack first, ask questions later.

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Fast forward almost twenty years to 1996 and the events of Star Trek: First Contact. The Federation’s ultimate nemesis, the Borg, are making another attempt to conquer and assimilate the human race, and all resources are being pulled together to stop this menace. In the midst of the battle, we come across the Defiant (the starship from Deep Space 9) commanded by everyone’s favorite Klingon, Worf (Michael Dorn joined Deep Space 9 after Next Generation went off the air). No sooner does Worf pop up, and the music heard is definitely the same Klingon theme played in The Motion Picture back in 1979 (considerably sped up, but the same theme regardless). The theme begins around 2:25.

Star Trek: First Contact “Klingon Theme”

I will always love how composers reuse musical themes from one film to the next (I also can’t believe it took me as many years as it did to catch this particular example).

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