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Reviews - Soundtrack

Label: New Line Records
Street Date
: September 29th, 2009

1. Markets Crash
2. Main Titles
3. Freeway Chase
4. Admit Something
5. Meteor
6. Metallo
7. High Voltage
8. Framed
9. Luthor Talks to Power Girl
10. S.T.A.R Labs / Banshee & The Cold Crew / Mongul, Grundy, Grodd
11. Bounty Hunters
12. No Surrender
13. Tornado Recovery
14. Trust Your Instincts
15. Missle Launch
16. Luthor's Fix
17. Shazam!
18. Luthor Shoots Up
19. Heroes In Disguise
20. Toyman
21. Blast Off
22. Ultimate Sacrifice
23. A Hero's Return
24. End Credits
Synopsis: United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel and his "partner in crime," Batman. Heroes and villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of Superman and Batman, who must unite - and recruit help - to stave off the action-packed onslaught, stop the asteroid, and uncover Luthor's devious plot to take command of far more than North America. The movie features music by Christopher Drake (Wonder Woman, Batman: Gotham Knight, Hellboy: The Science of Evil).

Review (James Harvey)
There's something undeniably epic about Christopher Drake's score to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. It's rousing, it sounds triumphant, and it has a recurring theme that allows this score to easily stand above all the previous DC Universe Animated Original Movie releases to date. Now, I've enjoyed them all, especially the fascinating experimentation done with the Batman: Gotham Knight score, which Drake also had a hand in, but there's something different about Drake's work here. Currently available to own on CD through Amazon, and via digital download through iTunes, Drake's score to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies creates some of his most exhilarating work to date in this perfect compliment to the animated feature of the same name.

Returning for this second solo gig in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie series, Drake definitely brings his "A" game to the proceedings. Kicking things off with the ominous opening track "Markets Crash", the soundtrack erupts quickly through the "Main Titles" and then proceeds to build on itself, similar to how the movie itself tries to constantly one-up itself throughout the duration. Given the type of movie this score accompanies, it only makes sense for the score to try and build for the duration, at times allowing it to come down to essentially 'catch it's breathe,' such as with the "Power Girl talks to Luthor" track, but even that is laced with uncertainty and danger. And, naturally, it's followed-up with the absolutely booming "S.T.A.R Labs / Banshee & The Cold Crew / Mongul, Grundy, Grodd ." We do get the lulls and quiet tracks, but the majority of those tracks always seem to just have an enormous burst that takes it someplace else completely. And, to be honest, it's both a pro and a con, really.

It's a pro in the way that there always seems to be an undercurrent of anticipation and excitement. That, at any moment, one of the tracks could just explode into a rousing score, and it does for the most part, or catch you off-guard by going into a completely unexpected direction, like "Toyman." It's a track that feels as though it's going to build to something utterly expect, but then turns into a playful jaunt. To me, this soundtrack is just an enthralling listen. Which brings us to the con, and it's such a small insignificant one. The score does run the risk of wearing out as it gets closer to the end, and actually comes close, but Drake thankfully knows when to bring it back before it becomes too much. Track #22, "Hero's Sacrifice" gives us that last bombastic burst of energy before closing things down with the upbeat and reassuring "A Hero's Return." Now, "End Credits" brings back the familiar themes and testosterone-driven compositions, but that's to be expected of an "End Credits" track, naturally. Drake is able to bring everything back just in time to stop the listener from getting overwhelmed by such an energetic, unrelenting score.

After all of that, for whatever makes sense above, it'd be crazy to suggest this score isn't a perfect match for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. It fits the premise, the characters, the over-the-top nature, the summer blockbuster feel to it, all of it. I can't think of a more suiting score for the DC Universe Animated Original Movies than this one. Track #12, "No Surrender," is the track that probably best encapsulates both the movie and soundtrack. It just carries the main overall theme of the score, similar to what we hear in "Main Titles" and repeated throughout the album's hour-length, and amplifies it by adding an underlying ominous sense of uncertainty.

Now, again, I have enjoyed all the score releases for this line to date, but there's just something that gives this score a leg-up when it comes to the previous ones. It's like Drake found a way to mix his epic-sounding score to Wonder Woman, mix in some of his amazingly creepy work from Batman: Gotham Knight, toss in some nice summer popcorn, and create something that just works in every way. In fact, the track "Metallo" really reminds me of the "Killer Croc / Hallucinations / Scarecrow Interrupted" track from the Batman: Gotham Knight score. The ominous touches, the epic battles, all of it just gels so nicely here, fitting everything and actually helping the movie surpass itself. Now, I could be imagining things, but I even get the hint of Danny Elfman and in a few tracks, particularly when Drake allows the track to just of stretch itself out toward the end before quickly fading. It's built up and up, and then quickly fades down, as if the music itself has run out of energy and needs to catch it's breathe before going on.

After listening to this score again and again, I am counting the days until the CD release of Drake's Wonder Woman score, scheduled for February 2010 from La-La Land Records. I'm sure that will serve as a great companion piece to this current Superman/Batman: Public Enemies score release from New Line Records. I find Drake has really done a commendable job here, able to stir up so many different melodies and just allow it to all crash together. Whether it's a loud, aggressive track, highlighting a scene where Batman and Superman fight for their lives, or a quiet scene, as the devilish plots against our heroes start to come to light, all of it works in unison so well. It does comes close to the point of exhaustion toward the end, but Drake expertly knows when to bring back to allow both the listener, and the music itself, to breathe a sigh of relief at the end of another dramatic adventure. Easily one of the best score for the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line to date, this release comes Highly Recommended.

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