Music By John Debney Soundtrack Album Review
BSX Soundtrax/19 Tracks/Disc Time: 67:20/Grade: B-
When “Jurassic Park” effects guru Michael Lantieri came up with the idea of doing a high quality effects laden film for about half a million dollars, the idea of “Komodo” was born. The film which was directed by Lantieri starts out during the 1970’s, when some Komodo Dragon eggs are dumped on the beach of a North Carolina island. Somehow, the baby Komodos survived, and twenty years later they have grown up and taken over the island for themselves. Young Patrick (Kevin Ziegers) has lost his parents and his dog to the lizards, but didn’t see them himself, which has left him traumatized. Now, with his therapist Victoria (Jill Hennessy, “Law & Order”, “Crossing Jordan”) who doesn’t believe the Dragons are real, is returning to the island to confront his fears. Soon people are being killed, Patrick and Victoria must fight for their lives if they ever hope to make it back home with the help of the scoundrel Oates (Billy Burke). The film went straight to DVD and on cable in the late 90’s unfortunately.
The film which surprisingly looks good for a cheapie, with its’ high production values brought in another member to make the film much better than it really should be. The work of Oscar nominee John Debney (“Passion Of The Christ”, came at a time where he was really taking off with lots of projects offered his way and in late 90’s saw him take on projects such as “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, “The Relic”, “Dick”, “My Favorite Martian”, “End Of Days”, and “Liar Liar”. Debney had also by this time become a go to guy for all genres as his musical style would continue to develop into what would propel him into being one of the best and versitile Hollywood composers around today. “Komodo” was a score that was recorded in late 1999 in the middle of a busy year for the composer that is a rather odd and intriguing film and score that fans of the composer have often wondered about without having to see the film.
The score is at times, an epic and pulse pounding work that is a mixture of a mini-sized orchestra of only thirty players and electronics and sampled vocals that would make up the sound of the deadly Komodo dragons. Opening with the percussive and brass sounds of “The Dragon’s Isle”, this track sets up the scores’ main theme featuring electronics and strings to fill out what would’ve been a fuller sound if there was a bigger orchestra. Debney also establishes early on a more subtle and tender sound for Patrick for strings, brass and woodwinds aided by a nice piano solo to rounded out featured in the tracks “The Eggs / Summer House”, “Bogue Sound / An Old Friend / Company Chopper”, “Uneasy Return / Stains”, “Laundry Room”, and “A Piece Of Twine” which also a touch of uneasiness to the material underneath the surface. The strongest part of this score is obviously the material that is action and percussion oriented that’s devoted to the terror of the Komodo Dragons. These tracks feature the main theme established in the opening track but also some excellent suspense material utilzing this theme in various guises and they include “Noises And Shadows / Into The Hole”, “They Don’t Stop”, “Backseat Diner”, “The Swamp”, “This Is Not Happening/Blasted”, “The Komodo Gets Stoned” and “Oates Comes Through”, the last track is a really rhythmic and exciting track that is a great finale with Debney’s trademark brass and percussion that is really cool as usual and one final gasp of the Komodo theme and with the album ending with the excellent “Never Better”, which is a great ending for the score featuring a cool rock guitar motif as well as percussion in which is very solid.
BSX Soundtrax’s release of “Komodo” is the first time this score has been released and an often requested title from Debney’s early days which was a very tough assignment for the composer considering the music budget as well the limited amount of musicians that he had to work with to pull off a surprisingly entertaining score that is filled with alot of energy. Fans of the score and the film, will no doubt enjoy this album that has pretty much everything you’d want in an action score and definitely one of John Debney’s more intriguing titles for sure that is worth picking up. Thumbs up.