Friday, February 22, 2008

D-War: Dragon Wars (Soundtrack) by Steve Jablonsky

D-War: Dragon Wars (Soundtrack) by Steve Jablonsky
Big Snake Moan
Review by Christopher Coleman
...Now D-WAR (DRAGON WARS), when compared to most film's of this type produced in the West, is not a great film. In fact, in terms of story and screenplay, it is one of the worst I've seen in a while. If there is one thing we are NOT short on in Western's feature films overburdened with look-what-we-can-do-computer-generated-shots and look-how-poor-our-writing-is-screenplays. So another one, even an import from South Korea, isn't going to make too big of a splash with audiences here. While many of the scenes in D-WAR were leaps and bounds ahead of any Korean film before it (if you doubt me...just look at Shim's own film REPTILIAN (2001 Yonggary)), there were still few "wow" moments in the film. And if there were, and I somehow missed them, they were ruined by plastic acting, wobbly writing, and a plot with enough holes for a herd of giant snakes to fall through.
STEVE JABLONSKY's score is certainly one of the better elements of the film. He develops a solid main theme, which we are immediately introduced to in "Imoogi" (track 1). This theme seems to build off of a familiar musical pattern, which I cannot help but associate with James Newton Howard (Signs, Lady in the Water). Under girding the whole thing is this repeating four-note motif, which provides the mysterious, otherworldly feel. The theme's backbone is this circular pattern which continually builds to a powerful and determined crescendo. This Imoogi/Title theme can sit alongside his theme for The Autobots in TRANSFORMERS quite well...and might even be considered superior by some. "Yeouijoo" track 5, is actually a more beautiful instance of this main theme. Being that this "Yeouijoo" is central to the plot of the film, almost as The Force is to Star Wars (but let's not get too crazy here), it makes sense that this is the central musical theme as well. The film's love theme (track 4) is rather mediocre with all the standard elements yearnful strings layered with simple piano and light vocals accents. Even though it is in the same family as The Last Samurai, it doesn't evoke the same level of emotion. You'll hear further connections to THE LAST SAMURAI (and other Zimmer scores) throughout the many, many action sequences, but most clearly in tracks 2 and 3.

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