Posts Tagged ‘Elliot Goldenthal’

ALIEN 3 – Elliot Goldenthal

May 19, 2022 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When I first started writing about film music, in the summer of 1997, I tried to write a review of Alien 3. I had seen the film previously, and liked it a great deal, and I remember being especially impressed with the music in the finale, so I went out and bought Elliot Goldenthal’s soundtrack CD. This was my first experience of his music outside of film context, and my film music knowledge at that point barely extended beyond the big orchestral scores of John Williams and James Horner, and the sweeping romance of John Barry. Hearing Alien 3 for the first time was… well, it was almost indescribable. I had no idea what I was listening to. It felt like angry, vicious, random noise, and I absolutely hated it. I hadn’t yet begun to explore the darker and more atonal side of film music, I had no knowledge of Stravinsky or Penderecki, or of twentieth century avant-garde music in general. In short, I had no clue what Elliot Goldenthal was doing. I didn’t have the vocabulary to understand it. Thankfully, thirty years down the line, I now have had vastly more exposure to and tolerance of this type of aggressive music, and I can now appreciate it for the masterpiece it is. Read more…

THE GLORIAS – Elliot Goldenthal

October 13, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As I was prepping and doing research prior to writing this review, I learned that this is the first review of a new Elliot Goldenthal score I have written since I wrote about Public Enemies in July 2009, more than 11 years ago. It’s also only the fourth new Goldenthal score I have covered since the turn of the millennium – the other two being Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 2001 and S.W.A.T. in 2003. Of course, Goldenthal has only written two scores since 2009 – one of which, The Tempest, I didn’t care for, while the other, Our Souls at Night, was not released on CD at all. He has been working on classical pieces and theatre works in the interim but, other than that, the most significant thing that happened to him was the potentially life-threatening head injury he suffered in 2005, when he fell off a chair in his kitchen and smacked his head on the marble floor; it caused a subdural hematoma, briefly put him in a coma, and rendered him literally speechless for several months afterwards. Whether this traumatic event was the catalyst for Goldenthal’s subsequent drift away from Hollywood is open to debate, but one thing’s for certain: I’m very glad that his wife Julie Taymor keeps hiring him to score her movies. Read more…

PET SEMATARY – Elliot Goldenthal

May 30, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pet Sematary was an adaptation of a popular novel by horror author Stephen King. Directed by Mary Lambert from a screenplay by King himself, the film starred Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, a doctor who moves with his family – wife Rachel (Denise Crosby), children Gage and Ellie (Miko Hughes and Blaze Berdahl) – from Chicago to rural Maine. Louis befriends his elderly neighbor Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne), who alerts him to the existence of a pet cemetery in the woods on his new property. One day, months later, the family cat is run over and killed on the highway outside their home; wanting to save little Ellie from the pain of losing her beloved pet, Jud reveals to Louis that things that are buried in the cemetery often return from the dead, and sure enough the cat comes back, albeit with a much different, more aggressive personality. Months later still, little Gage is hit by a truck and killed on the same highway – and despite dire warnings from Jud, Louis buries his young son in the cemetery too. Sure enough, the next day, little Gage returns… but, as the film’s famous tagline suggests, sometimes dead is better. Pet Sematary was a popular success at the box office in 1989, despite many critics feeling that the sense of dread that was prominent in the book, as well as its more thoughtful ruminations on grief and death, were missing from the finished film. Read more…


September 12, 2009 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s interesting how my musical tastes have altered and refined over the years. When I first started listening to film music properly, in the mid 1990s, I typically only listened to sweeping theme-led romance scores, or the best action music. I didn’t really know a lot about dissonance, avant-gardeism, or more progressive styles of writing, and tended to dismiss anything that didn’t have a huge theme or enormous action writing as noisy, or boring, or both. Such was the case with Elliot Goldenthal’s score for Interview With the Vampire, which had caught my ear in the cinema when I saw it back in 1995, but which I completely disrespected on CD, calling it “a bit of a mess”. Oh, how times have changed. Read more…

PUBLIC ENEMIES – Elliot Goldenthal

July 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Waiting for Public Enemies has been a test of patience for Elliot Goldenthal fans. It’s been a long six years since Goldenthal’s last theatrical score – S.W.A.T. in 2003 – although the intervening period has been an eventful one in Goldenthal’s life; he wrote his first opera, Grendel, in collaboration with his partner Julie Taymor, and produced the Beatles songs used in her 2007 film Across the Universe, but most seriously he suffered a potentially life-threatening head injury in 2005 when he fell off a chair and smacked his head on the marble floor of his kitchen, rendering him literally speechless for several months. So, is Public Enemies the triumphant return to the cinema fans of scores like Titus, Final Fantasy and Interview With the Vampire had wanted? The answer, a touch disappointingly, is no. Read more…

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE – Elliot Goldenthal

September 14, 2007 1 comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Full disclosure: I love The Beatles. Also, I love Julie Taymor (if my wife or Elliot Goldenthal are reading, I only love her in the artistic sense). So, when I heard about Julie Taymor (“Titus”, “Frida”) was directing a musical centered around songs of The Beatles (Greatest Band Ever), I was pretty thrilled. Of course, as a big Beatles fan, I approached the film with a certain amount of caution, too: though I was likely to enjoy the movie more than the average person, I was also more likely to be disappointed by the songs if they turned out to be bad covers of the tunes I loved. Beatles musicals of the past (most of which starred The Beatles) were giddy, silly, joyful affairs full of campy comedy and terrific music… unless you count “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which was bad comedy and terrible music. Taymor’s approach to creating a musical centered around the songs is considerably different. She attempts to make her film intensely dramatic, and in doing so puts her attention a bit more on the later, more ambitious (and more drug-fueled) Beatles songs. The approach works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s certainly a very compelling idea. Read more…

S.W.A.T. – Elliot Goldenthal

August 8, 2003 Leave a comment

swatOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Elliot Goldenthal won the Best Original Score Academy Award last May, and joined the hallowed ranks of the Oscar winning composers, much interest was given to the film he would choose to score next. Goldenthal is a notoriously selective composer, rarely scoring more than two films per year, and who more often than not lends his talents to meaty dramas and weighty subjects. When S.W.A.T., an action packed cop thriller, was announced as being his next project, eyebrows were raised. But, after several quite “deep and meaningful” entries over the last couple of years, S.W.A.T. was exactly what the New Yorker needed: a chance to have fun. Read more…


July 13, 2001 Leave a comment

finalfantasythespiritswithinOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been a long wait since Titus for Elliot Goldenthal to spring a new score on the world, but it has been more than worth it. His work on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is, from a pure enjoyment perspective, possibly the best of his career to date. I say that it is his best from an enjoyment perspective not because this score is his most challenging or complex – those accolades are reserved for works such as Alien 3 and Titus – but because, in terms of themes and developments, and for old-fashioned beauty, Final Fantasy has them all licked. It’s a dark, dark, score, make no mistake, but it contains more than its fair share of moments in the light. Read more…

TITUS – Elliot Goldenthal

December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

titusOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I was, quite literally, stunned into silence by Titus, both the film and the score. A visually breathtaking, emotionally shattering, conceptually brilliant restaging of William Shakespeare’s timeless play, Titus represents modern film making at its most vibrant. With Julie Taymor, the near-legendary director of several acclaimed Broadway plays (including the recent version of The Lion King) at the helm, and with an intriguing cast that mixes several heavyweight thespians with a group of talented newcomers, Titus is a film which has the power to shock and overwhelm, while still remaining entertaining and (comparatively) true to the original. Read more…