How is it possible that such an excellent score was created for such a mediocre film? It’s a common adage that no-one ever sets out to make a bad movie, but in the case of each and every possible adaptation of the Fantastic Four, it’s almost as if those putting the films together are bound and determined to make a stinker.
Such is not the case for the score, however. Taking the likes of Marco Beltrami, whose work on action films as of late has been rather inspired, and pairing him with experimental composer Philip Glass to score a sci-fi actioner such as this is rather inspired. Given the possibly existential themes which could arise from characters dealing with keeping their inner selves stable as their outer appearances change so radically, Glass is the perfect choice for this film, as it exists on paper.
Regardless of whether or not the film’s worth watching, the score is a delight. It’s a very relaxed approach to a superhero film, with cuts such as “It Begins” and their quietly dramatic eeriness counterbalancing the rather more traditional brass and rolling drums of “Building the Future.” Granted, it’s not absolutely mind-bogglingly amazing, but it’s far better than this film deserves. The sweeping move from “Neil Armstrong” and its quiet impressions to the big, brassy, and bold “Maiden Voyage” to the combination of the two in “Footprints” makes a suite which actually evokes quite a few classic scores for the likes of The Day the Earth Stood Still -- science fiction that dealt with deeper themes than “get that bad guy.”
The only real downside to the double LP is that it doesn’t include “Another Body,” the instrumental track by hip-hop producer El P that appeared over the end credits. The actual “End Titles” piece by Beltrami and Glass does an excellent job of summing up all of the themes which they explored over the course of the entire film, but that El P cut is such a novel take on Glass’ work, it would’ve been nice to see what its inclusion would’ve added to the score as a whole.
Nice grey and white marbled vinyl, with a great gatefold sleeve and packaging from Music on Vinyl. The insert featuring all four characters before they transformed into the Fantastic Four is a nice touch. Actually, when one considers the fact that the front of the jacket features a facing view of the team, and the rear features a back shot, it makes for a very nicely complimentary inclusion. Another winning package from the label, as per usual. We especially love the PVC sleeve into which all the At the Movies releases are now placed. With the heft of the vinyl, it makes for a formidable product.
FANTASTIC FOUR (2015) / COMPOSER: MARCO BELTRAMI AND PHILIP GLASS / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL/AT THE MOVIES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW