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Section Header
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
(2012)
Composed and Produced by:
Andrew Lockington

Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Nicholas Dodd

Label:
WaterTower Music

Release Date:
February 7th, 2012

Also See:
Journey to the Center of the Earth
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

Audio Clips:
7. Discovering Atlantis (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

8. Who's Up For an Adventure? (0:33):
WMA (215K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

10. Bee Chase (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

19. Mysterious Island Main Titles (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release, primarily distributed via download but also availabile through Amazon.com's "CDr on demand" service.

Awards:
  None.









Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
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Buy it... if you have any affection for Andrew Lockington's breezy, entertaining score for Journey to the Center of the Earth, in which case you'll likely love his superior reworking of the same general sound for this impressive evolution of the concept's music.

Avoid it... if you tend to over-intellectualize your film music, because the appeal of the Lockington scores for this franchise exists in the heavy doses of grandiose thematic bravado and awe-inspiring fantasy interludes that will never be labeled as high art.



Lockington
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: (Andrew Lockington) After the unexpected success of the 3D venture Journey to the Center of the Earth in 2008, the studios purchased an unrelated script by Richard Outten, which the writer then adapted to serve as a direct sequel to the previous film. In this follow-up adventure, elements of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island," Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," and Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island" are thrown together to explain the existence of one elusive, real-life island that contains important plot elements from all three of those existing stories. The only recurring cast member from Journey to the Center of the Earth is the lead boy, who, with the help of his stepfather (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson replacing the character played by Brendan Fraser previously), decodes a transmitted message from his lost grandfather on this mysterious island. When the boy and the stepfather go to Palau to seek out the coordinates of this supposed kingdom of wonders, they and their hired helicopter crew (including the obligatory young love interest for the boy) crash at their destination in a freak storm. From there, they find Michael Caine as the grandfather and journey through several of the famous elements from the source stories (the sinking city of Atlantis, a volcano of gold, giant creatures, and the Nautilus, among others) before devising a creative way to escape and prepare themselves for another adventure suggested clearly at the end of the picture. Despite its haphazard race through plot contrivances and the mixed (at best) critical response to the senseless script, the movie lived up to the formula for success of its predecessor, earning $200 million internationally within just a couple of weeks and confirming the pre-production on the third movie in the franchise. The 2008 entry was supported by an immensely entertaining "guilty pleasure" score by young Canadian composer Andrew Lockington, whose duo of Journey to the Center of the Earth and City of Ember announced his arrival to the mainstream solo film scoring scene after a career working as an orchestrator for fellow Canadian Mychael Danna. Unfortunately, the recognition that these two 2008 scores received did not lead to a sudden influx of work for the composer (and that trademark cap always fixed atop his head), whose output in the three subsequent years was limited to obscure film and television projects of little note. His attachment to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island couldn't have come sooner for film music enthusiasts seeking another opportunity to hear his fantasy mode shine once again.

It was fairly common in 2008 to encounter opinions about Lockington's work that compared him to David Arnold in the early 1990's. The flavor of his large-scale orchestral action mode was indeed remarkably similar to the vintage Arnold mould, a circumstance no doubt owing to some degree to the common involvement of orchestrator and conductor Nicholas Dodd, who has had a knack for transforming other composers' adventure music into a sound that emulates the early Arnold successes that he also helped guide. There was nothing particularly impressive about the constructs of Journey to the Center of the Earth outside of their sheer ferocity and melodic grandeur. The orchestral and choral score was refreshing blast of fresh air in a rather poor year for film music, highlighted by a handful of majestic fantasy cues and a few rowdy action interludes concentrated in the central portion of the work. For Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, he reprises the same general sound and his title theme from the previous score, creating solid continuity despite the fact that the franchise's entries are only loosely connected in their logic and casts. For the sequel, however, Lockington expanded the scope of his ensemble and its various specialty layers, increasing the role of synthesizers, exotic percussion, and voices. All three of these new contributors have a significant impact on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, causing its resulting mixture with the orchestra and choir to strive for greater textural heights whereas the previous score never made such an attempt. The composer headed to Papua New Guinea and lived in its jungles for a month in preparation for writing this score, using guides to interact with tribes of indigenous people for the purpose of recording their truly unheard percussive techniques. He combined these recordings with others made in Australia to achieve a sense of authenticity unnecessary but artistically satisfying for this assignment. These performances are often mixed very prominently in the final product, sometimes distracting from the orchestral activity but at least a more formidable force than the Taiko drums employed for the previous score. The increased role of synthesizers is also a factor in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, usually restricted to looped rhythm-setters that range from Basil Poleoduris' tonally pleasing variety to the harsher tones you hear in contemporary scores of all-synthetic abrasiveness. Finally, a solo female voice is added to accentuate the sense of magic associated with Atlantis and the island as a whole. The feel of these vocals is somewhat Celtic, reminiscent of the tone and mix of Sinead O'Connor's contributions to James Newton Howard's The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.

Thematically, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is even more engaging than its predecessor. While containing several inspiring melodies, Journey to the Center of the Earth sometimes has difficulty expressing them in convincing narrative forms, the title theme often utilizing anticipatory chord progressions in its bass that made the theme sound incomplete at times. In his development of ideas for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Lockington not only writes several new and appealing self-contained themes that don't suffer the same fate, but he compliments his existing title theme with more resolute, on-key bass accompaniment, giving the identity better footing. He also reminds listeners of its two phrases (sometimes together in full, as in the awe-inspiring reprise of the highlight of the previous score in "Island Reveal") at seemingly the perfect intervals, using its presence to suggest continued adventure without ever becoming repetitive or obnoxious. The swashbuckling nature of the theme's main phrase is adeptly applied as counterpoint to new ideas several times as well, and enthusiasts of the first score will hear common secondary motifs that do toil in the background during the action cues. The new themes, however, are the highlight of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Two of them are substantial and the third, as always, is the bewitching favorite hidden in a few key places. Leading these fresh ideas is the theme for the island itself, foreshadowed on truly Arnold-like brass over skittish strings, woodwinds, and piano in "The Attic," a cue that would be at home in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Its formal announcement comes early and late in "Island Reveal," the theme's two similar phrases resolving especially nicely. Lockington anchors his "Mysterious Island Main Titles" suite with this theme and faithfully reprises it in full several times throughout the score (though not as frequently translating it into a softer melody of contemplation as he does with the primary franchise identity). The other dominant new idea is a swelling, redemptive representation of family and discovery. Heard twice in full in "Mysterious Island Main Titles," this theme receives its initial major choral performance in the first 50 seconds of "Discovering Atlantis" and punctuates several similar moments, including one about a minute into "Finding the Nautilus" that is also not to be missed. The final theme is one directed specifically at the female vocals and features the most exotic progressions of any in the score. Introduced briefly as an interlude to the family theme at the start of "Discovering Atlantis," several solo statements of this ghostly representation of the lost city and its inhabitants follow, reprised similarly at 4:00 into "Bee Chase" and at the outset of "Let's Power This Thing Up."

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The singular highlight of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is Lockington's "Mysterious Island Main Titles," which rotates dutifully through all of his new themes and instrumental representations with seamless integration. The island's theme starts the suite, its bold brass rendition followed by the resounding synthesizer and solo vocal version heard in "Who's Up For an Adventure?" At the one-minute mark, he transitions to the family/discovery theme before allowing the percussion to let rip underneath the island theme once again. After hinting at the franchise theme, he then flows elegantly into two beautiful choral performances of the Atlantis theme starting at the two-minute point. Finally, the franchise theme is presented as an immense fanfare with the family theme as its natural interlude, the female voice closing out the suite as the lone survivor of the ruckus. It's a truly stunning arrangement of the score's best attributes. Like the previous score, a trio of cues in its central portion easily steals the show, however. The ten minutes of material in "Discovering Atlantis," "Who's Up For an Adventure?," and "Gold Dust" combine to form the most satisfying expressions of fantasy in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, featuring the bulk of the female vocal contributions. The voice is mixed as a contributor to the ensemble (or even as a subtle lead to the choir), allowing its tone to work its magic without wailing away in the stereotypical ways you often hear in film music these days. Other highlights include the aforementioned instrumental complexity of "The Attic," the incredible trumpet counterpoint to the Atlantis theme at 1:30 into "Bee Chase," and the piano hints of the family theme in the middle of "Sean's Birthday." There are numerous such moments of unnecessary intelligence in this score, an asset that far outweighs the score's weaknesses. There are negatives to contend with, including the sometimes irritating, overbearing mix of the percussion and synthesizers. The dissonance and shrieks in "Helicopter Crash" are to be skipped. The album's major fault is the placement of the "Main Titles" suite at the end, despite its use in the credits, for it is clearly a fantastic introduction to all of the score's themes (and "Sean's Birthday" concludes the work with a satisfying crescendo of the main theme). Not a detriment, surprisingly, is the singing voice of Dwayne Johnson, which is an important and entertaining source inclusion translated into a studio environment for the end credits. Overall, if Journey to the Center of the Earth remains a strong, four-star "guilty pleasure" score because of its "wall of sound" bravado, then Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which features better themes, a stronger narrative, and equal fantasy highlights, has to be considered the superior sibling, earning it a weak five-star rating. You still need to turn off your brain for this music, but you can't help but look forward to what Lockington will conjure for his journey to the moon for the next installment. *****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download




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Regular Average: 3.84 Stars
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 65:44


• 1. Vernian's Believe (2:53)
• 2. The Attic (4:11)
• 3. Helicopter Crash (2:13)
• 4. Island Reveal (3:38)
• 5. Lizard Chase (2:44)
• 6. The Treehouse (4:55)
• 7. Discovering Atlantis (5:34)
• 8. Who's Up For an Adventure? (2:14)
• 9. Gold Dust (2:39)
• 10. Bee Chase (5:33)
• 11. What a Wonderful World (Film Version) - performed by Dwayne Johnson (2:18)
• 12. Campfire (1:47)
• 13. The Swamp (2:41)
• 14. Trident Cliffs (2:33)
• 15. Finding the Nautilus (3:08)
• 16. Let's Power This Thing Up (3:08)
• 17. The Nautilus Escape (5:03)
• 18. Sean's Birthday (2:28)
• 19. Mysterious Island Main Titles (3:22)
• 20. What a Wonderful World (End Credits) - performed by Dwayne Johnson (2:43)




 Notes and Quotes:  


Rather than featuring pictures or information about the film, the insert contains a lengthy note and fascinating pictorial, both from the composer himself, in regards to the research and recording of the score. As in many of Amazon.com's "CDr on demand" products, the packaging smells incredibly foul when new.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Journey 2: The Mysterious Island are Copyright © 2012, WaterTower Music. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com 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 2/25/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.