Monday, February 03, 2014

Review: Intrada Transformers: The Movie soundtrack

Transformers: The Movie soundtrack
Studio: Intrada
CDs in Set: 1
Price: $19.99 USd
Available: Now
(Buy it here: )

Album artwork images courtesy the Intrada website

     At long last, those who have wanted to own a copy of the instrumental soundtrack to Transformers: The Movie are able to do so. And unlike the very limited BotCon releases from the late nineties/early oughts, this version should be more widely available.
    If you already own one of the BotCon releases, there really isn’t anything new here. In fact, this release is strictly instrumental music only. The title theme isn’t even on here (either version).    
    The sound quality on this release is noticeably crisper then the BotCon versions. I’m not a sound technician so I’m not entirely sure what the difference is on a technical level but this is definitely better sounding then its predecessor releases.
    The CD comes with a color booklet with several pictures of the animation (as one would expect for such a release) as well extensive liner notes detailing the lead-up to the creation of the movie and thoughts on Vince Dicola’s scoring talents as well as some comments from the man himself and Flint Dille (it’s standard CD soundtrack stuff. Interesting reading to some, irrelevant to others, depending on their interest level).
    The actual packaging is much nicer then the older versions as well. The front is the movie poster art of the Autobots shooting up at Unicron while the back has several head shots of the characters and the track information. The disc itself is black labeled with orange titling and white supporting text.
    Of note, they’ve rearranged some of the tracks, merging them together by theme and outright renaming others. For example, the track called “Autobot/Decepticon Battle” merges together the original “Autobot/Decepticon Battle” and “City Under Siege” into one track (they do go back to back in the film, but this is technically a difference). Another example is “Optimus Prime vs. Megatron” which takes the older “Showdown”, “The Death of Optimus Prime” and “Witness to a Funeral” and merges them into one track (all the music is still there, it’s just all on one track now instead of however many the original had).
    Some tracks have been renamed. “Pursuit” is now “Closing In” (I preferred the symmetry of “Escape” and “Pursuit” better). “Unwelcome Visitors” is now “Twisted Planet” (actually an improvement). “Their Darkest Hour” is now “The Fight Continues”. And so on.
    Again, depending on your level of interest, this might infuriate you or leave you indifferent. It annoys this reviewer because I got used to the original track names on the 1997 BotCon release and it would be confusing discussing the tracks someone who might not possess the various iterations.
    Another thing that has occurred to me about this soundtrack in the recent era: It has no real ending. It ends off with the battle inside/around Unicron. The final track is “Legacy”, Dicola’s demo track for the audition to get the job in the first place. Over time, I really wish he’d done up an end title of some kind for the overall suite. He went into the movie knowing it would have a rock song to wrap the film so he apparently didn’t bother to compose anything and I think that’s a shame. Especially since we have never ever had a complete release of the soundtrack together (that is, instrumentals and songs in one release. It falls to the listener to track down the various discs so they can assemble the complete soundtrack on their own). Some films--Batman (the Tim Burton film), for example, have an end title while the finished film uses songs to wrap it up instead. I wish Dicola had elected to do the same here.
    On a related note, I wish someone would’ve done an “Ultimate” version of the soundtrack with two discs, if need be, and every song and instrumental together on it. The CD is copyright “Sony Music”, who did a songs disc back around the 25th Anniversary of the movie so it stands to reason they must either have the rights to everything–or easily possess the power to license them. As cool as this release is, imagine how much cooler that would’ve been!

Verdict:  Very Good. A must-buy for those who don’t already own an earlier release.