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Terminator Salvation: Original Soundtrack

1 rating: 2.0
2009 Score of the Film Composed by Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman for the first time in his career, composed a Terminator film, scoring Terminator Salvation.        Originally, director McG wanted Gustavo Santaolalla or Hans Zimmers, but couldn't arrange a meeting with either composer.  … see full wiki

1 review about Terminator Salvation: Original Soundtrack

Danny Elfmans Talents are Not Put to Good Use as Salvations Score is Mediocre at Best...

  • Jun 8, 2009
  • by
When you think of Danny Elfman you think of great scores like Batman or Nightmare Before Christmas or any other Tim Burton film for that matter.  You would think that such a film like Terminator Salvation would be right up Danny Elfmans alley seeing as how he specializes in scoring dark films, and if it had been any other director then it would have.  Instead, we get a score that is toned down that almost sounds like it belongs in a superhero movie.  Sure John Connor is a pretty awesome guy, but he is no superhero and this is not a happy go lucky film.  It's unfortunate because if Danny Elfman had had free range with this score, it would have better complimented the film.

Right off the get go McGs biggest mistake was not letting Danny Elfman take the ball with Salvations score.  Instead, McG didn't want his film to have that eerie Terminator sound that made previous films so great, hence why he didn't use Brad Fiedel.  So what we end up getting is this score that has more upbeat themes than dark ones.  As far as scores go, this one ended up being pretty standard for a movie; a rookie composer could have written this score.  It really is hard to blame any of this on Elfman seeing as how he had restrictions.

Instead of being very drum and horn heavy like prior films,  the score for Salvation ends up being very stereotypically string heavy for a summer action blockbuster.  In the very first track, "Opening" you can hear horns in the background, but they are overpowered by strings.  Luckily though, most of this track is horn heavy trying to get that original Terminator feel, but instead, the track sounds like a mix of both Terminator and Elfmans Spider-Man scores.  And even though he didn't compose any of the scores for the X-Men films, I can here a little bit of those movies themes in his opening.

The only saving grace of this whole soundtrack is that Elfman is able to sneak into most of the tracks that eerie Terminator horn blow with the drum beats that you heard every time a Terminator was close by.  if these themes had been incorporated into more of the score, this might have been a better soundtrack, but instead it is used very lightly and not enough to really make you get goosebumps.  Also, I enjoyed the fact that they did include Alice in Chains, "Rooster" into the soundtrack, but I think the movie and score would have benefited from including the Nine Inch Nails song "The Day the Earth Went Away" that was used so heavily in the trailers for the film.

Overall, the score for Terminator Salvation is a complete waste of Danny Elfmans talents.  If McG had wanted something epic, he should have gone to John Williams or James Horner.  Instead, Elfman is left with his hands tied and a bad score.  The last thing that I want to say is that this is not bad music, and the score does have lots of horns, it just in no way fits into the Terminator film.  2/5.
Terminator Salvation Score Cover Art

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June 13, 2009
Although I really did like this move alot, I was disappointed with the score as well. Elfman has done some of the greatest film score in the past twenty years. But the music in this film is neither as good as his typical work or of the same quality as the music from the first two Terminator films. Other than your precisely accurate qualms with the music, how did you feel about the film (story, direction, acting, production design, cinematography, editing, special effects, etc.)
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Terminator Salvation Score Cover Art
Composer: Danny Elfman
Release Date: May 19th 2009
Label: Reprise Records
Artist: Danny Elfman

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