is the two disc soundtrack to the 2004 film Godzilla:
Final Wars "composed" by Keith Emerson.
The quotes are because, in reality, the soundtrack
was supported by a ton of themes by Daisuke Yano and
Nobuhiko Morino, to the point where the two actually
dwarf the contributions of Emerson despite him getting
top billing. The release of the full soundtrack highlights
this fact even further, as much of Yano and Morino's
work is released here for the first time while the
only new tracks from Emerson are ones derived from
his "Crusing the Cirro-Stratus" and "Kazama"
themes. Consequently, the score benefits a lot over
the previous issue from Victor (VICP-62936)
and actually contains some of the best themes from
the movie for the first time on CD.
Like with many releases from Toho Music, the track
titles have been changed here. The score for this
film has always been a "diamond in the rough"
in regards to its themes: some great ones mixed in
with some awful ones. Many of the poorer ones are
attributed to Emerson, although the worst on the score
is generally regarded to be by Morino and on this
release is titled "Godzilla vs. Hedorah and Ebirah".
A lot of the better themes from the Victor release
are still stellar here, such as "Godzilla vs.
the Undersea Battleship" and "Kazama's Suicide
Attack". "The Xilien Arrive" theme,
one of the best from the soundtrack, is present in
a more bulky version that better represents its use
in the film. However, the more appealing album edit
is included with the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
set (G-027), so fear
Enough about what has been carried over, though. It's
time to focus on what's new and exciting about this
release, this being the star attraction of this particular
Perfect Collection box set. To start off and be fair,
some of the new themes do disappoint, such as the
obnoxiously repetitive"Doctor Otonashi"
track. However, there are a lot of themes here that
are among the best of the score, and why they had
previously been left off is anyone's guess. The most
obvious of these, from fan discussions, is the "Gigan
Awakens" theme, which is just as great as a standalone
experience as it is in the film. "Commander Namikawa's
Abnormality", "Monster X Appears",
and "Keizer Ghidorah Appears" are more great
tracks which were tragically left off the earlier
CD release. The disc also contains edits of themes
previously found on the single disc release, such
as "Mothra vs. Gigan" which really benefits
from being on its own as it highlights the fact that
it is one of the better battle themes from the film.
It should be noted that, as complete as the score
is, some of the stock themes are missing. Specifically,
the Minilla theme from Son
of Godzilla (1967), the Mechagodzilla theme
vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and the SUM41 song
that was used for Zilla.
In terms of actual bonus content, I will just talk
about what is present in this set, discussing the
third Godzilla: Final Wars CD in the Godzilla:
Tokyo S.O.S. review (G-027).
The bonus tracks here are mostly outtakes, some of
which are the edits that appeared on the previous
album, while others are 5.1 surround versions of these
themes. None of these particularly standout as make
or break additions. Some of the outtakes are different
enough from the source to be interesting on their
own, if inferior to the used tracks. For example,
the "Monster X Appears" outtake does not
contain the brief guitar work found in the final version
and also stresses instruments differently. Sadly,
this does mean that this disc contains outtakes for
the "Crusing the Cirro-Stratus" and its
offspring themes that were edited from it ("Ending"
and "Earth Defense Force and the Threat of Monsters").
This means that the second disc alone contains 20
minutes of the video-poker-style theme, which is far
too much. In fact, prolonged exposure is known to
have the side affect of having one dreamily imagine
what the soundtrack might have been like had Emerson
never been attached to the project.
As far as audio quality goes, it's slightly below
the Victor release. I'm not sure on Toho Music's methods,
but running the same tracks side-by-side, with volume
levels equalized, the Victor content sounds a bit
more rich in this respect, with more range to the
instruments. In contrast, the Toho Music stuff sounds
marginally more "normalized", which is a
running trend with their releases versus the larger
record labels. The difference is minute, and only
noticeable in such comparison, but it is there for
those curious. In terms of the 5.1 tracks, they sound
more robust than the others although the difference
isn't night and day. For those interested, they do
not originate from the DVD-A that was released but
are brand new for this CD set.
Overall, this soundtrack is still hit and miss. The
added content for the two disc release helps it out,
adding more "hits" than "misses",
and fleshes out the contributions of Yano and Morino
in terms of original music that was left out. To be
fair, there are even some good edits of Emerson's
"Kazama" motif that work well. The soundtrack
will always polarize, though, as most people are outspoken
both about tracks that they love and those that they
absolutely hate. Regardless, this score highlights
some of the positives that were unfairly left out
of the previous single disc release and is overall
a very worthwhile addition to any fan's collection.