For the latest animated DC-themed film, Robert J. Kral borrows a bit of inspiration from John Barry, the BBC Radio Workshop’s vintage sounds, and techno rhythms to create an inventive main theme for The Green Lantern: First Flight (2009).
Intermittent, trippy, pliable electronic tones recall the BBC’s iconic sounds from the Dr. Who series, whereas the main theme is comprised of slowly-rendered notes punctuated by sharp brass fanfares. It’s all about heroism, and Kral thickens the orchestral elements towards the theme’s end, while a continuous pulsing beat crunches in the background.
Clearly the filmmakers wanted a punchy sound that differed from the other single-character films – such as Batman, Wonder Woman – and Kral’s use of rhythms propels every cue like a bullet, except when there’s a moment of hesitation, or some deep thinking before dealing with a nemesis.
“The Ring Chooses Hal” presents the Barryesque theme as pure techno, with drippy-wet pulses and soft keyboards playing the score’s trademark 4-note ostinato. It’s also one of several cues that listeners should give a slight volume boost, since bass really is the score’s ruling colour. Vibrato dominates the low strings, as well as fuzzy electric tones, and the cue also contains a restrained string passage prior to a full orchestral surge, with minimalist figures spiraling at the stereo image peripherals.
Other punchy tracks include the source cut “Labella’s Club,” with a heavy primal beat accented by chimes and clipped audio fuzz effects, and the evocative “The Weaponers / Sinestro Transforms” with its pseudo-echoplex effects reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith’s Alien (1979).
The album presents over an hour of original score, and there’s a good variation of material that’s overtly theme-based, or classic movie serial style, with the Green Lantern’s theme spurted out whenever he swings into action in a montage full of cutaways, such as “Teleport Pursuit.”
By using organic strings, analogue-styled bass and percussion, and brass emulations, there’s a slight futuristic veneer to the score, although the trumpets sometimes lack a ferociousness that would’ve given some action cues an extra edge. Tracks like “Brutal Attack / The Fate of Kanjar Ro” however, feature a strong mélange of formal orchestral brass and percussion, tightly wrapped up with some chilling dissonant tones and eerie amorphous vocals. More brooding tonalities are very dominant in the powerful “The New Power Arrives.”
As with previous DC scores, La-La Land’s mastering is first-rate, and another solid score for a classic comic book hero makes its way to CD. Kral’s other scores for DC characters include Superman: Doomsday (2007), Batman: Gotham Knight (2008), and Green Lantern: First Flight (2009). Also available: music from Green Lantern: The Animated Series [M] (2011-2012).
© 2009 Mark R. Hasan