Music By David Newman Soundtrack Album Review
Milan Records/25 Tracks/Disc Time: 73:33/Grade: B-
From the German mind of Director Reinhard Klooss, who directed another animated film in “Animals United” which was CGI comes back with another retelling of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Tarzan story. This time Tarzan (voiced by Kellan Lutz of “The Expendables 3”) and his love environmentalist Jane Porter (voiced by Spencer Lock) face a mercenary army dispatched by William Clayton (Trevor St.John, “One Life To Live”) the evil CEO of Greystoke Energies, a man who took over the company from Tarzan’s parents, after they died in a plane crash in search of a sacred meteorite with not a thought for the environment. The film received a brief limited run here in the U.S. before its’ eventual Blu-Ray, DVD and On Demand release.
As with “Animals United”, the most distinguished element of that film and this one is the work of the truly underrated and great composer Oscar nominee David Newman, who has always brought class to the films he’s scored throughout his career that includes the likes of “Affair Of The Necklace”, “The Nutty Professor”, “Heathers”, “Galaxy Quest”, “Paradise”, “Jingle All The Way”, “War Of The Roses”, “Hoffa”, “Matilda” (the composers’ best and personal favorite score of all time) and the animated remake of “Anastasia.” Newman unfortunately hasn’t been as active composing too many films of late here which is a real shame because his music is always refreshing and welcome. This score is grand and epic sounding with a complete full orchestra and chorus that easily tops his score for “Animals United” and while revisiting his strongest score of the 90’s and a fan favorite of many, “The Phantom.”
“Tarzan” is a living breathing work that is filled with energy and sweep that makes it easily more memorable than the film that it was written for. From the grand majestic opening of “Prologue” that establishes the what would be considered “Tarzan’s Theme” with energetic percussion and a grand chorus. The first few tracks, Newman dedicates the score to setting up Tarzan and his back story with tender and musical awe filled with really lush themes. Highlighted by the tracks “Family Fun”, “Tarzan Is Alive”, “Kala And Kerchak”, “Tarzan Wakes Up”, “Growing Up”, “Tarzan Climbs Tree”, “Tarzan Looks Beyond”, and “Tarzan” which feature alot of action within that would later build up Newman’s solid action material in the last half of this score and album. Of course, Newman also incorporates some nice romantic into the mix with the lush and tender material for both Tarzan and Jane which is one of the highlights of the score featuring his trademark of pure orchestrial sweep highlighted in “Tarzan Helps Jane”. “Tarzan And Jane In The Lake” and “Reunion.” The last half of the score features Newman in fine and exciting form where he’s able to let loose with some nice action material featuring percussion, brass and strings as well as chorus that adds even more depth in the tracks “Tarzan Fight”, “Jane Returns To The Camp”, “Take Me To The Meteor” and “Detonation In 8 Minutes”, the last track happily revisits the great material from “The Phantom” which is more than welcome here.
Milan Records lengthy and entertaining score is a refreshing release that is worthy of anyone’s collection and in a way a close cousin of his brilliant “The Phantom” score from over twenty-years ago that was featured some of his best action writing, as well as some very tender and lush moments that had that golden age score sweep to it that is serverely lacking in scores today. Here there is alot of it, which is a great thing. It’s always great to see David Newman’s work on CD because he really is underrepresented and alot of his work really deserves to be released. I can easily name at least twenty scores that are worthy of a release and hopefully soon like this score, we’ll see more and more released. This version of “Tarzan” is obviously isn’t one of the best, but one thing that will surely stand the test of time and that is the work of David Newman, who really brings the best to this film regardless of its’ limitations.