Thursday, August 07, 2008

Music Review Justice League New Frontier


Justice League The New Frontier is the soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie of the same name, based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke. As the soundtrack title implies, the concept is very different than other projects using these characters.

When Cooke wrote the story, he set it during the 1950's and early 1960's. A distrustful government still needed the aid of superheroes to fight off one of the greatest threats known to mankind. People not endowed with powers beyond what anyone could imagine were also not keen on the trust idea.

Michael Goguen, Supervising Producer for the movie version, ran with the idea. He put the League members into a fictionalized motley band not yet formed into the fighting team people still talk about today.

"Main Titles" is the opening piece. Kevin Manthei, the composer and a performer, did a decent job portraying the battle which is the main storyline. For some reason, the first few notes reminded me of Peter and the Wolf. Once those passed, the overtones told me I was in for a bumpy ride!

"The Centre/Hal Shot Down" continues the dark theme. Since no song on this recording has any lyrics, one does not understand if the Centre is an entity or human. Ominous horn music leads me to believe who or whatever this is, an evil presence lurks. Considering the rest of the work has Hal Jordan, a military test pilot, plunging to Earth after a plane attack, it's clear the Centre does not take prisoners.

The sky is not the only place experiencing trouble. "The Flash Saves Las Vegas" is one of my favorite works. It puts the fast-footed crimefighter in the city where just about anything goes. He does not have much time to get his work done, but that detail is a mere pittance for someone who can run faster than time. The marcatos set up the race, while the flute shows off effortlessness of action.

The saxophone on "J'onn Becomes John/Church Brawl" sets up a film noir scene nicely. One thinks of Raymond Chandler and the detective Sam Spade during this tune. Yes, there is a slight bit of dark mixed in, but what else would be music to a cop's ears? I get the impression John is called to break up a fight which has broken out at church after someone got offended at the sermon, and someone else took offense.

Not everything is overcast. "Carol & Hal Banter" proves even a hard driven military man is capable of having more in his life than just planes. Cello notes reflect Hal, while a mixture of cymbals and piano are testament to just how entrancing Carol is.

Yes, brass and woodwinds are potent. There is never a question concerning the mission's intensity. A trumpet, played by Jeff Bunnell, acts as a clarion for the triumphs both big and small.

I can speak for the depth of this CD, but I imagine others might be inspired to purchase the DVD after looking over the voice talents. David Boreanaz and Neil Patrick Harris share the screen with Lucy Lawless and Kyra Sedgwick, among others. Miguel Ferrer, of Crossing Jordan fame, adds a sense of gravitas by playing the detective John Jones.

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