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Composed and Co-Produced by:
Steve Jablonsky

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Walter Fowler
Rick Giovinazzo
Kevin Kaska
Jennifer Hammond

Additional Music by:
Jacob Shea

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Co-Produced by:
Rick Rubin

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
May 8th, 2012

Also See:
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Island

Audio Clips:
2. The Art of War (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

3. Full Attack (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

17. Somebody's Gonna Kiss the Donkey (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

19. Thug Fight (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


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Buy it... if you've always dreamt of hearing the excruciating sound of an MRI machine translated into music, in which case Steve Jablonsky's score will pierce your head with equally mind-numbing pain.

Avoid it... unless you crave the harsh, mechanized sound design that defines the most grating portion of the Hans Zimmer generation of muscular bombast and you have no issue with 87% of all the score's notes being pounded with ensemble unison on key.

Battleship: (Steve Jablonsky) Don't be fooled by the attempts by Universal Pictures and filmmaker Peter Berg to attach their 2012 fantasy action movie Battleship to the classic board game. While there are basic similarities between some of the combat sequences and number of opposing vessels involved in the story, Battleship is little more than another pointless alien invasion film glorifying American military might. A small fleet of hostile alien ships lands near Hawaii and engages the terrestrial naval forces in combat, rendering some of their targeting systems useless in ways that require the hit and miss firing approach of the game. When exhausted of destroyers and other vessels, the humans have to resurrect the American Iowa class battleship Missouri (surely thrilling Japanese audiences) and use yesteryear's flagship and its ultimate phallic weapons to screw the aliens out of existence. Never mind that the USS Missouri and its three sister ships were decommissioned in the early 1990's; the movie would have been more interesting if the humans had lost the battle because of the kind of turret-exploding mishap that occurred aboard the USS Iowa in 1989. Naturally, the movie leaves open the possibility for a sequel, so perhaps someone can raise a Yamato or Bismark class battleship from the bottom of the ocean, scrub off the rust, put it back together, and continue blasting away at alien ships with other giant phalluses of the past. Hell, even something from the Dreadnought era of the 1900's would suffice, as long as it has appropriate phalluses in the form of 12-inch guns. Let's not forget some wretched characters and inexcusable dialogue for the concept, too, an aspect of Battleship clearly deemed unimportant by those who awarded the movie over $200 million in grosses. Berg's opinion of movie composers is poor ("They're difficult and pretentious"), but he loves Hans Zimmer and was handed Steve Jablonsky as a consolation prize for Battleship. The director had worked with other Zimmer-associated composers in the past, including Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell (guess which is "pretentious"?), but he was thrilled by the workmanlike effort of Jablonsky. A veteran of the Transformers franchise, Jablonsky could handle an assignment such as Battleship with his library of discarded ideas from prior projects. From the sounds of it, he did precisely that. But having recently experienced an MRI for medical reasons, Berg instructed Jablonsky to sample the sound of an MRI machine for use as the musical identity of the aliens in this movie. The composer gladly did so, and for those of you who have been unfortunate enough to tolerate the excruciating sound of an MRI, now you have the pleasure of appreciating that terrible memory as a film score!

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If you thought that Jablonsky had reached the pinnacle of masculinity in his Transformers work, then you are wrong. He infuses that sound with Zimmer's Inception to set a new world record for the most notes pounded on key during one score. It wouldn't be surprising if Jablonsky's software revealed that 87% of the notes in Battleship exist on key. When in doubt, stomp broadly on key just to make sure the audience understands the gravity of the situation... hundreds of times. The orchestral ensemble consists of strings in the usual "chop here for urgency" mode, brass in the "play in unison to imitate a synthesizer" mode, and percussion in the "pound repeatedly to induce a headache" mode. No need for dainty woodwinds. Electric guitars and rock percussion are unleashed in several cues, guitarist Tom Morello laying waste to a couple of late scenes. The synthetic manipulation of the MRI sound and other nasty and nightmarish electronic noises grace the score, sometimes emulating the famed "wrong answer" sound from "Family Feud," applied here for the battle-station alarm notification ("It's Your Ship Now"). The MRI noise is truly hideous; the fact that a person has now made music with that sound is testimony to how far some people will go to try to innovate. Unfortunately, there's nothing innovative about Jablonsky's actual structures. A noble theme for the Navy ("The Art of War") is also obsessed with notes on key. He has a secondary idea that owes mostly to Gregson-Williams but has a little Gladiator in it. The actual theme for the villains also revolves around the key on low strings before resorting to its pounding ("Regents Are on the Mainland"). These ideas are lacking any novelty in their progressions or statements, "We Have a Battleship" revisiting Crimson Tide and elements of finesse like counterpoint and complex meter adjustments totally absent. In fact, the intellectual highlight of the entire score could be the single note at 4:19 into "Objects Make Impact," when the brass actually split to perform a minimally complex chord. Most of the score is content to click, grind, and thump away in sound design methodology, shifting between notes in predictably melodramatic minor-key fashion. The pair of "The Aliens" and "Planet G" is a total waste of eight minutes of air time with its wobbling electronic effects and generic string ostinatos. Only slight redemption comes in the heroes' sendoff in "Silver Star" and with bagpipes in "Hopper." Otherwise, Battleship is an intellectual wasteland of rehashed action for mechanized situations from previous movies. The 77-minute score-only album is an extremely arduous prospect, especially for MRI sufferers. And for anyone who argues that brainless movies deserve brainless music, recall the late, legendary Jerry Goldsmith and imagine what he could have conjured for this context. Chalk up another loss for the Zimmer generation. * Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 1.7 Stars
Smart Average: 1.99 Stars*
***** 12 
**** 18 
*** 35 
** 78 
* 214 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Asshole reviewer
  paolo -- 6/19/12 (3:24 a.m.)
   Battleship = awful
  Rob -- 5/30/12 (8:18 p.m.)
   Re: Anticipation
  Ligno Vitae -- 5/21/12 (10:59 p.m.)
  JordiVCecilia -- 5/20/12 (3:53 p.m.)
   Re: Asshole reviewer
  Flo -- 5/20/12 (5:23 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 77:26

• 1. First Transmission (3:17)
• 2. The Art of War (4:31)
• 3. Full Attack (3:53)
• 4. You're Going to the Navy (1:01)
• 5. The Beacon Project (5:07)
• 6. Objects Make Impact (4:38)
• 7. First Contact Part 1 (1:51)
• 8. First Contact Part 2 (2:08)
• 9. It's Your Ship Now (4:04)
• 10. Shredders (4:05)
• 11. Regents Are on the Mainland (2:43)
• 12. Trying to Communicate (3:15)
• 13. Water Displacement (2:18)
• 14. Buoy Grid Battle (3:02)
• 15. USS John Paul Jones (2:29)
• 16. We Have a Battleship (2:49)
• 17. Somebody's Gonna Kiss the Donkey (4:33)
• 18. Super Battle * (1:32)
• 19. Thug Fight (3:29)
• 20. Battle on Land and Sea (2:48)
• 21. Silver Star (1:54)
• 22. The Aliens (4:17)
• 23. Planet G (3:59)
• 24. Hopper (3:15)

* written and performed by Tom Morello

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Battleship are Copyright © 2012, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/18/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.