© 2004 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title||Destroy All Monsters|
|Japanese Title||Kaiju Soshingeki|
|Movie also known as:||Attack Of The Marching Monsters|
|CD Label||Toho Music Corporation|
|Music by:||Akira Ifukube|
|Number of tracks||41|
|Number of discs||1|
|Year of release/manufacture||December 24, 2004|
|Year Movie Released in Japan||1968|
|Year Movie Released in U.S.||1969|
March 07, 2005
Review courtesy of Sam Scali
After a two-year absence from the Godzilla series, Akira Ifukube reunited with director Ishiro Honda for the Big G's ninth appearance, the all-star romp DESTROY ALL MONSTERS. Ifukube hadn't scored a Godzilla film since 1965's MONSTER ZERO, but it's not like he was out of practice - in the interim he had composed the music to more than a dozen films, including Toho's WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS, KING KONG ESCAPES and THE ADVENTURES OF TAKLAMAKAN, as well as all three entries in Daiei's MAJIN trilogy. With DESTROY ALL MONSTERS the maestro picked up the Godzilla baton as if he had never left, turning in one of his all-time classic kaiju scores. Like his music for MONSTER ZERO, it is a seamless combination of familiar themes and new, suitably futuristic ones.
Thankfully there is much new material, the most famous piece being the "Title Credits" march (track 2). This theme had never before appeared in a Godzilla movie, though the basic melody had shown up in some of Ifukube's non-sci-fi scores. The rousing march is repeated at various points throughout the film (tracks 15, 21 and 29), and is not only one of the score's highlights, but undoubtedly one of the greatest and most recognizable pieces of music in the entire Godzilla canon. Incredibly, the credit sequence and title march were omitted from the original U.S. release of the film. Another major new theme actually shares three different titles (tracks 5, 10 and 22), the second of which, "Escape From Monster Land" is perhaps the most definitive version. A chilling blend of orchestra and eerie electronics, it's one the score's most characteristic compositions. The "Monster Land" theme (track 3) is another winner - both mysterious and sad, it evokes a feeling of sympathy for the once-feared monsters now trapped on their remote island prison. The piece also makes a brief but somewhat less forlorn appearance in the "Ending" (track 30), closing the score on an optimistic note.
The more futuristic themes are similarly noteworthy. The recurring "Lunar Base" theme (tracks 4, 6 and 20) is a highly effective motif played on electric piano and theremin. The brief "SY-3" theme (track 7) begins with a wavering, futuristic melody that quickly morphs into a catchy little march. "The Unmanned Subterranean Center" features some quietly creepy orchestral interplay, which reappears in a more developed form (and with added electronics) as "The Kilaak Starmen II" (track 19). The actual "Kilaaks" theme (tracks 9 and 23) is a dreamy, theremin-laced melody backed with what sounds like a distant female vocal (though it could just as easily be a mellotron or some other synthetic effect).
As for the more familiar material, Rodan's theme (tracks 13 and 18) gets the most mileage, with the plaintive trumpet wail of previous incarnations replaced by a considerably beefier arrangement. As always, the theme forms the backbone of the film's monster attack/battle sequences (tracks 14, 17 and 26 thru 29), interwoven with the themes for Godzilla and, eventually, King Ghidorah. The Godzilla theme itself sounds more regal and less bombastic than usual, while King Ghidorah's theme (tracks 26 and 27) is more bloated than ever, dripping with textural piano flourishes and electronic effects. "Remote Control Destruction!" (track 24) is another familiar composition, an exciting uptempo motif that Ifukube had used several times in the past, but the frenetic arrangement here is arguably its best and most fully realized incarnation. "The Monsters Pow-wow on Earth" (track 25) is actually an extended version of the film's ominous "Main Title" (track 1), and also incorporates a more plodding, march-like arrangement of the Rodan theme.
The "Perfect Collection" edition of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS adds 11 bonus tracks that are not included on the 1993 Futureland release. At first glance this may seem like a generous helping of extras, but collectively the tracks add a mere 10 ½ minutes of music to the disc. The cues themselves are more tedious than interesting - tracks 31-37 are simply alternate takes of material from tracks 7, 14, 15, 17 and 19. And though it's instructive to hear the first three unused takes of the "Title Credits" march (tracks 38-40), the repetition takes its toll. The disc closes with the rejected first take of "The Unknown Metal" (track 11), one of the score's less significant cues.
While all of the "Perfect Collection" soundtracks were remastered for boxed set release, the upgrade in sound quality is barely noticeable on most of them, and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS is no exception. Like many of the early Godzilla scores, the recording is flat, compressed and frequently muddy. Other than a bit more resonance in the bass frequencies, there is little discernable improvement over the score's 1993 release - clearly Toho had already squeezed whatever fidelity they could from the existing mono tapes.
Despite its inherent sonic shortcomings, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS is one of Akira Ifukube's finest scores, and an essential component of any Godzilla music collection. Budget-conscious fans should not feel obligated to purchase the boxed set if they already own the Futureland edition (or the recent ADV reissue), but newcomers will welcome the rare opportunity to build an instant library of this classic material.
Added March 11, 2005
Additional info courtesy of Robert Storch
Tracks 38 thru 41 on this disc (the three alternate Main Title Marches and The Unknown Metal) can also be found on the "DOGORA" soundtrack (TYCY-5503) on tracks 36 thru 39. The DOGORA soundtrack has a collection of Godzilla outtakes towards the end of the disc, and most of these tracks are now finding their way on to these new Godzilla Perfect Collection CDs.
Destroy All Monsters