Tag Archives: Army of the Dead

Soundtrack Review: Army of the Dead (2021)

Milan Records has released Army of the Dead (Music From the Netflix Film) by multi-platinum producer, musician, composer and educator Tom Holkenborg aka JUNKIE XL.  

Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Holkenborg for director Zack Snyder’s zombie heist film.  The project is the latest in a longstanding creative partnership between Snyder and Holkenborg, who most recently collaborated on Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but started their relationship in 2014 with the Snyder-written and produced 300: Rise Of An Empire. The duo have also worked together on Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  2021 has already been a major year for Holkenborg, whose epic score for Zack Snyder’s Justice League was one of the longest ever recorded, and was swiftly followed by him scoring the record-breaking Godzilla vs Kong blockbuster.  Army of the Dead is now available to watch in select theaters and to stream on Netflix. 

Of the soundtrack, composer Tom Holkenborg says:

“A zombie heist movie in Vegas with Zack and Netflix, how could I say no? Army of the Dead was a chance to start something very new and fresh, which is certainly ironic for a movie about the undead! It was such a fun project as we got to rip up the rule book, and really re-examine what a zombie movie could sound like. It’s a LOT of fun!”

From filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Zack Snyder’s Justice League), Army of the Dead takes place following a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home, is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), it’s with the ultimate proposition: break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours. With little left to lose, Ward takes on the challenge, assembling a ragtag team of experts for the heist. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all.

Now while I found the film itself to be quite underwhelming, I was still willing to give the soundtrack on its own a chance. However I really should have known better because the soundtrack for Army of the Dead did absolutely nothing for me. Except for one moment in ‘Not Here’ where I like how the music comes together, the soundtrack for Army of the Dead is dull, dead, downright boring, and so on. The biggest crime of them all is how boring most of this music is. I’ve said many times that it’s hard to screw film music up, and in a zombie heist film, the process should be fairly simple: all you need is an action-y score to back up what’s happening on the screen.

Um, clearly someone missed that idea because most of this soundtrack does the complete opposite. Most of this music is ploddingly slow and thoughtful which is not what you need for a zombie heist film. I get that Holkenborg wanted to re-examine what a zombie movie sounds like but….they’re really not supposed to sound like this. Put more simply: if the music in a film soundtrack bores me, then something has gone terribly wrong.

I can now definitely chalk up Army of the Dead as one of my biggest disappointments of the year, because not only was the film bad, but the soundtrack is equally as bad. Though, as I mentioned before, there is the one bright spot of ‘Not Here.’ In THAT track at least, I like how the music crashes together in a rising crescendo that, if it takes place in the moment I think it does, is the one moment in the film where music and picture work together perfectly.

In good conscience, I can’t recommend the Army of the Dead soundtrack, but if you check it out and happen to like it, then I am happy for you. For me personally, it doesn’t work and is one of the worst soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time.

ARMY OF THE DEAD (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX FILM)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Viva Las Vegas
  2. Scott and Kate Part 1
  3. Scott and Kate Part 2
  4. Scott and Kate Part 3
  5. Toten Hosen
  6. Swimming Pool
  7. Not Here
  8. 3 Flares
  9. Battle Hallway Part 1
  10. Battle Hallway Part 2
  11. Zeus and Athena Part 1
  12. Zeus and Athena Part 2

Let me know what you think about Army of the Dead and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Army of the Dead (2021)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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My Thoughts on: Army of the Dead (2021)

warning: minor spoilers below for Army of the Dead

I was originally going to skip this film altogether because I normally avoid zombie films (I’m scared to death of zombies and the undead in general). However, after I was able to successfully get through Spiral earlier this week, I decided to give Army of the Dead a try because after all, why not? I’ve been proven wrong before with scary films (the Saw franchise being a notable example), so maybe Army of the Dead would be a similar case where finally, FINALLY, I would find a zombie film I could get into.

Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way.

Don’t get me wrong, Army of the Dead does have some good moments in it (I’ll get to them shortly) but as a whole….I just don’t like it. I don’t know if I went in with the wrong expectations or I’m just not that familiar with how Zack Snyder makes movies, but Army of the Dead by and large was nothing like what I expected it would be. For one, it’s much too long and worse, it begins with a first act that, after a killer opening, is almost dead on arrival afterward. I feel like if you’re going to do a big zombie heist film, you should get to the zombie action part sooner rather than later and the movie just took way too long to get to where it needed to go.

Thank goodness there were some fun moments along the way. The zombie tiger is one of my favorite parts of the whole movie and I love the role it plays within the story as a source of karma. I also love that I was right about the tiger being one of Siegfried and Roy’s (well who else in Las Vegas would have white tigers?).

And then there’s Dieter (the safecracker, played by Matthias Schweighöfer). To quote Looney Tunes, I like him, he’s silly. Seriously, Dieter is my favorite non-zombie character as he’s probably the closest you’ll ever come to seeing how I would act in a zombie apocalypse situation. It was genuinely fun to watch his character arc develop from beginning to end. Also, his chemistry with Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) is genuinely funny. It’s an odd couple pairing that totally works (if only the rest of the film had clicked so well as those two).

On the zombie side of things (outside of the tiger), I was really intrigued by the film’s presentation of “Alpha” zombies. I’m pretty sure the concept of “smart zombies” has been explored before, but I like what Snyder was going for, the idea of there being a type of zombie that still continues to have some form of functional society and order, even if it’s taken on a cruder form. There’s even a mention of “trading” being done with the zombies, which is something you really don’t encounter that often (or ever??) in zombie films and it’s a plot point I wouldn’t mind seeing explored further. I really did enjoy the performances of the two lead zombies. Since we can’t understand zombie speak, most of their performances is channeled through their movements and body language and that was all very well done.

Oh, and on a quick note: I LOVE Tig Notaro, you’d never guess she’d been digitally inserted into the film after the fact.

But these good things don’t change the fact that most of the film rubbed me the wrong way, particularly in how it ends. I had a feeling early on that things wouldn’t end well for most everyone going in to Las Vegas because it’s a zombie film and that’s how zombie films work. But for the love of all things holy in cinema, one of the film’s primary subplots was rendered absolutely moot by how the ending pans out. What was the point of trying to rescue that one character if they die in the end? I get that not all stories have a happy ending but that plot trope in particular drives me crazy. As for the ending scene itself (not THAT scene with Vanderohe, the one before that), I get it, I do. It tugs at all the right heartstrings and is downright heart wrenching. But…I might have felt it even more if the preceding hour hadn’t bummed me out with disappointment.

If you enjoy Army of the Dead, I am genuinely happy for you and I’m glad you enjoyed the ride. But for me, it just felt wrong for the most part, and I felt more disappointment than satisfaction by the time the credits rolled.

Let me know what you think about Army of the Dead in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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

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Soundtrack News: ‘Army of the Dead’ Soundtrack Releasing 5/21

Milan Records announced the May 21 release of Army of the Dead (Music from the Netflix Film) by multi-platinum producer, musician, composer and educator Tom Holkenborg aka JUNKIE XL. Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, is a Grammy nominated multi-platinum producer, musician, composer and educator whose versatility puts him on the cutting edge of contemporary music, and whose thirst for innovation is helping to reimagine the world of composition.

  Available for preorder now, the album features music written by Holkenborg for director Zack Snyder’s upcoming zombie heist film.  The project is the latest in a longstanding creative partnership between Snyder and Holkenborg, who most recently collaborated on Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but started their relationship in 2014 with the Snyder-written and produced 300: Rise Of An Empire.

Of the soundtrack, composer Tom Holkenborg had the following to say:

“A zombie heist movie in Vegas with Zack and Netflix, how could I say no? Army of the Dead was a chance to start something very new and fresh, which is certainly ironic for a movie about the undead! It was such a fun project as we got to rip up the rule book, and really re-examine what a zombie movie could sound like. It’s a LOT of fun!”

From filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Zack Snyder’s Justice League), Army of the Dead takes place following a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home, is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), it’s with the ultimate proposition: break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours. With little left to lose, Ward takes on the challenge, assembling a ragtag team of experts for the heist. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all.

Track List

1. Viva Las Vegas – Richard Cheese & Allison Crowe (5:55)
2. Scott and Kate Part 1 (5:24)
3. Scott and Kate Part 2 (2:49)
4. Scott and Kate Part 3 (4:42)
5. Toten Hosen (3:56)
6. Swimming Pool (1:05)
7. Not Here (1:50)
8. 3 Flares (4:42)
9. Battle Hallway Part 1 (4:00)
10. Battle Hallway Part 2 (6:41)
11. Zeus and Athena Part 1 (3:17)
12. Zeus and Athena Part 2 (4:14)

Be sure to pick up the soundtrack for Army of the Dead when it becomes available on May 21, 2021.

See also:

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

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook