Reviews - CD
 
Street Date: 10/23/07
Closed Captioning
: Yes
MSRP: $16.98
Packaging Type: Jewel Case
Media Quantity: 1
Run Time: 56:53

Track Listing
1. Superman Doomsday Main Title (2:05)
2. Fortress of Solitude (1:33)
3. Alien (2:25)
4. Killing the Hick (0:52)
5. Doomsday Rising (3:59)
6. Superman vs. Doomsday (1:49)
7. Doomsday Battle (2:11)
8. Superman's Sacrifice (2:38)
9. The Death of Superman (2:07)
10. Lois & Martha (0:48)
11. Toy Man Attacks (2:28)
12. Return of the Hero (2:22)
13. Superman Clone (3:16)
14. Heartbeat (0:43)
15. Relocated (1:13)
16. Lois Was Right (0:37)
17. Cat Rescue (1:42)
18. A Safe Superman (1:47)
19. Lois' Plan (2:21)
20. Clone Discovery (3:17)
21. Luthor's Fate (0:32)
22. Superman's Return (2:27)
23. Superman vs. Superclone (4:56)
24. Superman's Victory (4:23)
25. Smallville Elementary (1:03)
26. Superman Doomsday End Titles (2:58)

Synopsis: Presenting the original score to the Warner Bros premiere DVD motion picture event Superman: Doomsday, an all-new animated feature film based on the award-winning Death of Superman comic book trilogy. Composer Robert J. Kral (TV's Angel, The Dresden Files and The Lost Room) brings the Man of Steel to spectacular new heights with a score bursting with thrills, chills and emotional drama.

Review (James Harvey)
There’s something different about this Superman soundtrack. It hits all the right notes, which I’ll get into, bit there’s something else. Now, I am a big fan of movie scores, with a collection that continues to grow. And in that collection I happen to have the two-disc Williams score to Superman: The Movie and Ottoman’s Superman Returns score, on top of every DC animated soundtrack ever released, and then some. And now I can also add the score to Superman Doomsday to that collection. And what’s so different about this Superman score? Well, it’s darker. It’s intense. And it’s also very, very good and still retains that heroic sound that we’ve come to expect from a Superman-fueled soundtrack.

When listening to Robert J. Kral’s score to Superman Doomsday, I couldn’t help but realize how much movie I didn’t notice in the movie that’s now coming to my attention, and I suppose that’s the mark of a great score. It’s a score that doesn’t distract you, or take you out of the movie. This score helped the movie along, underscoring the right moments with the right themes and tone. But, as I listen to this, so much more music that I missed has come to light and, boy, it is great.

Fans familiar with previous DC Animated score releases will be familiar with the score we get here. While it’s from a relative newbie to DC Animation, it’s as solid as anything that has come before. However, Kral’s take on the Superman theme is slightly different than anything that has come before. Kral, as he states in the liner notes for the CD, states that he opted to take more of a dark, “man” approach to the Superman theme. While previous composers usually emphasized the “super,” here he went a bit more low-key. However, that resulting Superman-theme is still strong, but a shade darker and not as triumphant as one may expect. And, for the Superman Doomsday movie, it works. He also signifies “Superman” in the melody, but instead of a traditional three-note phrase, he makes it a bit different by adding a fourth note to it. It boasts the three notes by adding that extra note, which seems to emphasize the “man” in the title, as Kral wanted. However, there are a few callbacks to the theme, which sounds more heroic, in the “Superman’s Return” track.

And it works. It’s darker, less heroic, but it’s also more down to earth.

Running nearly 58 minutes, this score release captures every moment of the movie. From the chilling arrival of Doomsday to the quiet heart to heart between Lois and Martha, Kral touches upon every aspect of movie. During the darker scenes of the movie, his score adds that extra chill, that extra tingle down your back to really sell the scene. The track “Toy Man Attacks” has a very creepy, almost horror-movie-vibe to it. Again, I never noticed it in the actual movie, but here, as clear as day, it becomes so apparent and just sends a shiver down my spine. Even the “Cat Rescue” track has an underlying creepiness to it, hinting at the events unfolding in the actual movie. And, while I’m on the subject, you just got to love how “Clone Discovery” opens, using a cue that horror fans may find familiar.

But with any Superman score, there has to be that epic feeling for some of these tracks. Tracks that make you realize the scope in the story. And, no worries, there are some epic, epic sounding tracks in here. “Superman vs. Superclone” has a great drum beat that resonates through it, making realize not only the scope of the tussle, but how epic the battle should feel. And it works. The suspense that Kral builds up in this track, which continues right into the next track, “Superman’s Victory,” just pulsates. You can imagine Superman and the Superclone just pummeling each other as the score blasts along.

There’s also two distinct love themes in this movie. One which seems to have a hint of Superman’s theme, as we hear in the tracks “Fortress of Solitude” and for the first half of “Smallville Elementary,” and another that seems to be a bit more distinct, as heard in “Lois & Martha.”

So, finally, how does the big ol’ killing machine Doomsday fare in all of this? The first twenty minutes, roughly are mostly devoted to him. Once you get past “Superman Doomsday Main Titles” and “Fortress of Solitude,” we’re slowly thrust into Doomsday’s segment. What Kral does here is slowly build up to his big reveal in the movie. As the track “Alien” begins, we know right away that this ominous movie is only going to build, and build it does. Over the successive tracks, “Killing the Hick,” “Doomsday Rising,” “Superman vs. Doomsday,” “Doomsday Battle,” “Superman’s Sacrifice,” and finally, “The Death of Superman,” we get the entire Doomsday experience and, as he progresses, the tension builds and builds. And, as the score builds, it gets epic. It becomes fierce and brutish as the Superman/Doomsday battle commences, laced with moments of shocks, tension and, finally, sacrifice. And it works great. “Superman vs. Doomsday,” in particular, has some tense, tense moments that don’t seem to let up, building until the final blows are thrown. Superman’s theme is also thrown about briefly, emphasizing when our hero arrives to save the day or when he gets that rare upperhand.

I like how “Superman’s Sacrifice” has that shocked sound to it, like even the music is shocked to see Superman dying after such a tumultuous battle. And man, it gets just crushing, how even mthe music seems to be overcome with emotion. In this track, it even has a different rendition of the Superman theme, one that just drips with shock and grandeur, until, finally, it simply fades away.

I also want to note that Kral’s “Superclone” theme is a stark opposite to the Superman theme. Yes, the Superman theme is a little dark, but it has an underlying heroic tone to it. Here, with the “Superclone,” there’s a sense of menace to it. It’s dark, menacing and flat-out creepy, providing a perfect counterpoint to the true Man of Steel’s theme.

If there’s a particular track to note, out of everything on this soundtrack release, I’d have to go with the brief track, “Lois & Martha.” It lasts less than a minute, but it’s a nice quiet, somber cue that underlays the scene where Lois goes to see Martha. There’s something about it that is refreshing, touching, and provides a break from the intensity and creepiness that surrounds the majority of the remaining tracks. It’s a great scene with a great music cue under it to really bring it home.

Overall, I’d have to label this soundtrack a success. I wasn’t expecting a soundtrack release to Superman Doomsday but was very pleased to hear about. And now, having an opportunity to hear the score for myself, and discovering so much more music and rousing themes, it ranks as one of the best DC Animated soundtracks. If fans have any complaint, it’ll be that Superman’s theme, while heroic, is not heroic enough. However, in context of the movie, it works. This isn’t something akin to Superman: The Movie or Superman Returns. Superman Doomsday is considerably darker, considerably more violent, and dark theme works in spades for it. Kral hits every cue. His cues for the action scenes are just thrilling (I can’t help but listen to the music for the Doomsday and Superclone battle scenes over and over) and the creepy, tense scenes are just that. This soundtrack is, without a doubt, a worthy addition to the DC Animation music library, and I urge fans to give this disc a spin. The packaging for the CD is also sharp, following the same lines as the DVD release in terms of artwork used and overall quality. It goes without saying that Superman Doomsday Original Soundtrack Recording comes Highly Recommended.

Review (Zach Demeter)
It’s amazing that while I listen to this score, I pick up on how many great music cues that I missed throughout the entire film. I praised the composition in my review of the film, but I didn’t realize it was this good. There were a lot of superb elements that you miss so easily when the action and dialogue is flooding the screen at the same time as the score.

Obviously the focal point of the score is the “theme” for Superman. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in feeling that it was very reminiscent of John Williams historic theme while adding a bit of a darker spin on it. The film, after all, isn’t exactly pony tails and lollipops—there’s dark material to be seen, both thematically and visually and Robert Kral’s score underlines every beat of it.

Listening to the score with the volume way up, you begin to really notice things. First is that not only does the score help the movie be what it is, but it also sounds damn fine on its own. There are few movie scores that I can really listen to over and over again and I’ve listened to Superman Doomsday for about four days in a row now, with no other music of any kind mixed in. I got well acquainted with the music before I even began thinking of reviewing it and I’m happy to say that even on my twelfth listen-through, it never got old. There are cues that still raise the hairs on the back of my neck and the sometimes demonic sound of the Doomsday tracks never tire.

The key elements of the soundtrack are the “Main Title”, “Doomsday” and the Return/Clone fight towards the end of the CD. Having listened to the “End Titles” many times prior to getting this soundtrack (I made a personal recording of it off of the DVD when it came out), I already knew what I was in for for the first few minutes of the soundtrack, but as soon as it delved into the “Alien” (track 3), I quickly realized that I had no idea what the score really sounded like from just watching the film. Moving straight into “Doomsday Rising” with the thudding soundtrack, I began getting flashes of other scores that I’d listened to over the years. I heard pieces of Hellboy, Constantine, Serenity and even a bit of the final episode of Justice League Unlimited (“Destroyer”) in this track alone. In later tracks I picked up on cues that sounded reminiscent of Revenge of the Sith’s somber and sometimes evil sounding score. Not to say Kral is picking specific cues from other artists, it’s just something I noticed that inevitably occurs after hearing so many theatrical scores isolated on CDs.

Only four of the tracks on the disc, which runs near fifty-eight minutes in length, are under a minute in length and most are over that and some even approach the five minute mark. From what I can tell every cue from the film is included on this soundtrack, as well as a “Smallville Elementary” (second to last track) musical bit that I would imagine stems from a deleted scene from the film. While it sounds like it would be an upbeat track, it quickly turns dark—from what I remember this is the bit that accompanied the last few minutes of the film, so why it’s named “Smallville Elementary”, I’m not entirely sure. Edit: As a member on our forums pointed out, the "Smallville Elementary" is a reference to what Clark says to Lois in one of the final scenes of the film.

One of the great things about the soundtrack is hearing all of the character specific scores that we heard in the film. The aforementioned Doomsday tracks were wonderful and the eerie Superman Clone theme, which Kral states was an “accident”, all add up to a truly remarkable score. It’s been a long time since I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed a films score as I have with Superman Doomsday.

I’ve never had to review a soundtrack before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to listen for. I noticed on one of the tracks towards the end of the disc (“Superman vs. Superclone” perhaps) there is a slight hiss in the background that lasts for only a few seconds. Aside from that there was no audio distortion—everything was crystal clear and sounded absolutely terrific.

The packaging for the release comes in a standard clear CD jewel case. Stills from the film are sprinkled throughout the CDs packaging and the included booklet. Disc art is the same bloody “S” symbol from the cover and on the interior of the booklet is a three page letter from Robert J. Kral and a three page letter from producer/director Bruce Timm. Both go into detail about their feelings towards the sound of the film and both even echo stories about one another. Some cool behind-the-scenes notes are included in the letters and gives a nice look into the scoring for the film, something the DVD release sadly omitted in the special features. The only odd element of the packaging is that behind the CD itself is a big picture of Robert Kral and a list of his selected filmography. Why that’s not in the booklet and another image from the film behind the disc, I don’t really know. Seems kind of strange. Oh and there’s a typo on the back of the packaging, but that’s just me being nitpicky (“Superman vs Doomsday” is missing a period after the “vs”) .

Overall the soundtrack is a must-own for those who are a fan of the animated DC Universe (or for those who just enjoy great music). I can easily say I enjoyed the soundtrack for Superman Doomsday more than I enjoyed the film—with the film we saw things we’d seen in previous animated ventures, but the score was almost an entirely new take on Superman’s world. Robert J. Kral did a superb job on the score and I hope we get to hear more of his work on future DTVs. Highly Recommended.