Reviews of five soundtrack collections, from the stellar 'WALL-E' to the haunting score of the legendary 'Gloomy Sunday.'
With its subtle and appropriate tributes to "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" marbled throughout, Pixar's best film to date displays the talents of eight-time Oscar bridesmaid Thomas Newman at their best. Two story-essential Michael Crawford tracks from "Hello, Dolly!" are included, as is Louis Armstrong's memorable "La Vie en Rose." The obligatory cut from the big music star (Peter Gabriel), "Down To Earth," is warm and calming, but would be disposable if it were not so critical to the end-credits afterstory. The 100 percent recycled brown-bag packaging makes for a release as nearly perfect as the film.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL:
Baton-wielding hero to the "Star Wars" generation, John Williams again manages to mimic a wide range of styles while somehow making every piece his own in his 24th collaboration with director Steven Spielberg. In this third "Raiders" sequel, Williams naturally borrows a fair amount of his own classical thunder, but the familiarity is part of the appeal of this alternately serious and playful mini-résumé of sorts. And no matter how many times we hear the energetic refrain of his immortal "Raiders March," it is still not enough (even if four Indiana Jones movies are).
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN:
John Williams will retire someday, and when he does, the skilled cadre of composers including Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, and others featured in our roundup will compete for his de facto status as the modern film composer. Harry Gregson-Williams may not be in that core, but surely will be next time around. His score to the latest "Chronicles of Narnia" chapter brims with the kind of orchestral grandeur that sounds neither forced nor contrived, capturing so well the decidedly downbeat timbre of the fantasy epic. Forgive Disney's end-loading of four treacly tunes and give this powerful suite a chance.