Dungeons and Dragons

Artist Credits

  • Justin Caine Burnett (composition)
  • Adam Schlesinger (composition)
  • Steven Gold (composition - track 15)
  • Western Australian Philharmonic Orchestra (performance)
  • Ashley Arbuckle (conducting)
  • Northwest Sinfonia (performance)
  • Adam Stern (conducting)
  • Buck 250 (performance - track 15)

Tracks

76 minutes total
  1. Opening To Profion's Dungeon
  2. Council Of Mages
  3. Breaking Into The Magic School
  4. On The Run
  5. Damodar's Curse
  6. Antius City
  7. The Maze
  8. Thieve's Fight
  9. Capture By Norda
  10. Death Of Snails
  11. Dungeon Of The Rod
  12. Battle On The Rooftop
  13. Fighting Profion
  14. Resurrection And End Titles
  15. BONUS TRACK: This Is Not A Game
  • Released Dec 5, 2000 by New Line Records (catalog no. NLR-90062, retail $20).

Reviews

An incredible musical achievement from a newcomer composer.

Recommended

Reader review by Jon Turner (2000-12-31)

Whether or not you are a fan of the fantasy genre, one thing can really help bring a picture - troubled or not - to life. That thing is a grand immense musical score that defines the action and gives the film the spirit it needs. Many fantasy films have been supported by such scores, whether the movies were truly magical or a far cry from it. Given this statement, it shouldn't come across as surprising that the soundtrack to the recently released (and critically panned) Dungeons And Dragons film qualifies as such a score.

Composed by newcomer Justin Caine Burnett (who seems to have taken a strong influence from Hans Zimmer), the score to Dungeons And Dragons contains a very stirring, dramatic, and appropriately heroic theme that is present throughout the entire album. Themes define a great soundtrack, and apparently, Burnett understands it. (This theme comes in rather impressively on the first track, "Opening To Profion's Dungeon"; it begins every bit as quiet and mysterious as the opening to The Land Before Time, then the theme is performed magnificently by brass.) Aside from the triumphant main theme, Burnett creates several others - the dark, malevolent themes for the villians, lighthearted bits of comedy for the funny characters, the benevolent fanfares for the heroes, and the mysterious, moody ambiences for the scenes when our heroes go into the dungeons. The themes are so dominant in the entire soundtrack that it is easy for one to pick them out, and that is what makes this score so much fun. The final score track mixes these themes into a very enjoyable six-and-a-half-minute concert suite, bringing the score to a satisfying close. Some may complain that such a formula for a score is no longer an original idea, but if it is done right, it is always fresh.

As can be expected, the score has an unpredictable personality. At times, it is majestic and heroic, at other times it's eerie and suspenseful, at other times, it's lovely. And at other times, it is *extremely* exciting, particularly when the action cues come up. There are moments when the strings begin to get dissonant and high-pitched (accompanying some of the scarier scenes in the movie, particularly "Damodar's Curse"), but it is done quite effectively. The action cues, as can be expected, are performed with loud bombast and intensity - so intense, in fact, that you may feel obligated to turn down the level of your stereo.

All of this, along with truly incredible performances from the Western Australian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Northwest Sinfonia - as well as an occasional chorus - make this soundtrack an enjoyable experience. (Although they come up only briefly, the choral tracks are a delight, whether they feature a deep, menacing male's chorus or a lighthearted, perhaps heavenly, women's chorus.) One can feel tempted to say that the performances are a little bit overblown, but on the other hand, a score like this is very suitable to a fantasy film jam-packed with plenty of action scenes.

Regardless of what you think about the movie (I thought it was a far cry from the better fantasy movies around but not half as bad as the critics found it to be), chances are good that you will enjoy this soundtrack. Just ignore the final track, an extremely monotonous techno club mix song (complete with blaring rock guitars, repetitive drum beats, and occasional voice samples) that gets annoying fast. Aside from that, Dungeons And Dragons contains 73 minutes of purely enjoyable orchestral burst and fury, and more than does justice to the title.

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