47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2000
Wow! After getting started into soundtracks by liking John Williams' works, I've really grown fond of James Horner's scores, and have scads of those. I still have liked Williams, but have not payed as much much attention to his scores of late. Angela's Ashes, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List; all nice, pleasant (if not sad) scores, but not the kind that really grabbed me (Star Wars, Jurassic Park Main Themes).
But now along comes The Patriot, and all I have to say is THAT Williams is back here! I was looking forward to the movie, and was quite glad when I found Williams was going to do the soundtrack. I knew it would be something good, but I guess I like it even more than I thought I would. It's very powerful, moving, and patriotic, and takes the listener on quite a ride.
The music is not done with a lot of drums and fife, as one might expect for a movie about early Americana, but instead paints a very grandoise, and majestic picture of the time period, and the country. The middle tracks are the action music, and sound a lot like Jurassic Park or Star Wars action music. But they still have their distinct feel, and are quite driving in nature.
This soundtrack really has all of Williams' styles in it. It has the sad, moving music like Schindler's List and Angela's Ashes, patriotic music like Saving Private Ryan; majestic and triumphant cues like Jurassic Park's theme; and the sustained, bold melodies of Star Wars. In my opinion, this could quite possibly be Williams' best work thus far, and definitely is right up at the top. Long live John Williams!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2000
John Willaims has written so many film scores that it is hard to keep up with his output, but he almost never fails to produce good to great scores for the films. He scores big with his film score for "The Patriot," a giant, sprawling epic that also has a lighter touch of a family caught up in the Revolutionary War in 1776. Willaims manages to avoid most cliched songs of the period, with just a few strains of "Yankee Doodle" and some drum and fife music but this is rare in a score of great emotional feeling, for the families that had to go to war and how war takes its toll on them. Ironically, Williams performs the miraculous by composing music that raises the spirit but shows little bombast, when it would be easy to go for giant effects. Here, on this CD, he writes beautiful music for pastoral South Carolina, the main setting of the film, and then the war themes come marching in, but always he returns to the human story, the emotional rise and fall that perfectly matches the story's narrative. John Williams rarely repeats himeslf. This score reminds me a little of his beautiful musical score of "The River," where a lone modern farming family fights a different war against greed and the elements. Mel Gibson was in that film also. John Williams makes any movie better with his feeling for the elements of the film and the characters. Few composers have had as many "classic" flim scores as John Willams and with "The Patriot," he has composed a score that stirs the blood to action, underscores the human suffering, and wonderfully colors his music with a sense of place and setting. He should get another Academy Award nomination for "The Patriot," and I havn't heard a better soundtrack CD in 2000. A must for all fans of John William's film music, a must for any music listener that loves sounds that touch the heart and brace us for action.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2000
John Williams has fashioned an evocative and monumental score for director Roland Emmerich's epic on the American Revolution . It should come as no surprise, bearing in mind how Williams truly shines when he writes in his coplandesque, noble americana style (Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Born on the Fourth of July and JFK). The Patriot soundtrack opens with a splendid, soothing melody for fiddle and woodwinds. This is the family theme: hope, sadness and longing for the wilderness all rolled into a single melody. Its rich, folklike intervals are a treat. The melody quickly swells, taken by the whole orchestra. Epic stuff. Rich, soothing writing for strings. Just what you would expect from the maestro. It then leads to a secondary theme ("The Colonial Cause"): a propulsive grand anthem for the American revolution. Brass, a catchy dance for fifes and drums included within the orchestra. Shades of Saving Private Ryan's "Hymn for the Fallen". But although the former score was elegiac and introspective, this one is a huge symphony. You can visualise the marching soldiers, the thwarded hopes and the bloody battles. Strong countrepoint from the strings throughout. The first cue ends with a third theme: a rich, hymn like statement from the horn section, before a return of the pastoral family theme. And this is just the overture! Action fans rejoice: the action material is aggressive, very rythmic. Serious stuff. "Tavington's Trap" and "Fist Ambush" are prime examples of John Williams' harsh, tense action cues. Williams keeps his large brass section busy. Rich, epic writing. But there is more than just blood and guts: "Ann and Gabriel" further develops the family theme, with an emphasis on solo flute over a subtle harpsichord accompaniement. It climaxes with a lyrical statement by the whole orchestra. Great cue, goose bumps in the air. "To Charleston" is a light, bouncy cue that brings a lighter side to this powerhouse album. Shawn Murphy's engineering is faultless, with a crystal-clear presence of the drums and brass in the action sequences. Great performance by the studio orchestra. The whole 72 minutes album flows very well without a dull moment. I guess epic scores do not come any better than that. This score ranks among Williams's best epic works of the decade, along with Far and Away, Star Wars Episode I and Jurassic Park. He adds another distinguished effort to his discography.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2000
Being John Williams only movie soundtrack of 2000, "The Patriot" has become a masterpiece to collectors. The only flaw in this score is that it isn't very original, and it sounds much like John Williams' previous score for "Saving Private Ryan", and fragments of "Jurassic Park". However, this soundtrack fits its title with perfection. It has to be one of the most patriotic scores ever written. (especially for the fans of "Air Force One") The music, particularly the main theme, is incredibly uplifting, somewhat peaceful and motivating. If it weren't for the fact that "The Patriot" sounds similar to other scores Williams has written, a five star rating would be an immediate choice. Williams shows so much emotion in the music, having such a sense of patriotism and pride. You can constantly picture the stars and stripes boldly waving in the wind during the thick of battle, despite bullet holes and torn fragments. The main theme from "The Patriot" (also being the name of the track) begins quietly and peacefully. Guitars can be heard approaching, while a solo violin proceeds to play the main theme. You would expect a movie like "The Patriot" to have a tense and bombastic introduction, (like Cutthroat Island, but that soundtrack deserves a bombastic introduction!) but John Williams goes the other extreme. I was deeply surprised at that beginning of this soundtrack, but not disappointed, either. If you truly listen and get the feel of the music, it suits the movie incredibly well. The violin continues to play its lonely melody, while more instruments begin to join in. Roughly three minutes into the main theme, drums begin to sound the battle cry, and racing woodwinds play their part. Strings and brass then take control in an inspiring moment that every listener looks forward to. (You know, where you sometimes have to hit the skip button just to get to it) This track is six and a half minutes long, but none of which grows tiring. It's one of those moments where you have to set aside a good amount of time to listen to the whole thing, rather then just hear bits and pieces. The deeper into the main theme you go, the more you can pick up its similarity to "Saving Private Ryan". After all, they are both tense and realistic war stories, and they have to have some kind of connection in one way or another, so it shouldn't be something to complain about. Track one ends much the same way it was introduced. The violin heard earlier in the track plays its ending, while the woodwinds fade off, till they are no longer heard. Since "The Patriot" is the only film Williams has scored in 2000, it has attained a good deal of attention. (Which it definitely deserves) Depending on your standards on soundtrack ratings, you'll either find "The Patriot" a little to similar to other scores, or you'll ignore that fact and say it's a true masterpiece. John Williams did an astounding job for "The Patriot". Believe it or not, Williams was not the original composer for this film. It was David Arnold himself! His composition was turned down, but not due to the fact that is wasn't a good score, but said not to have a good fit in the movie. However, Arnold regularly composes music for Roland Emmerich, so you can expect him to score their next film. "The Patriot" is an awesome score, full of patriotism and heroic anthems. Highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2000
For this score, John Williams uses a lyrical, yet heroic melody as the thematic link to guide the story musically. It's a brilliant theme with much emotion, and he uses it to great effect throughout the score. He uses an approach that blends the style of Copland with the lush orchestrations of composers like Mahler or Strauss. Fans of John Williams will recognize certain rhythmic and melodic motives from other Williams scores, as well. The battle music combines a quasi savage sound with a rythmic flair that sounds almost Olympic in nature. The whole work is topped off with a strong orchestral performance and high quality studio sound. I highly recommend this for those who like film music written with exceptional emotion and musicianship standards.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2000
In writing the music for the film 'The Patriot', John Williams has turned out another excellent composition. We have grown used to him writing excellent music, and in the same way that the music for 'Schindler's List', 'Amistad', and 'Saving Private Ryan' pays tribute to the heroes and to those who suffered in these chapters of human history, so does 'The Patriot'. While fading seamlessly into the film itself, the Patriot is also a joy to listen to alone. From the first track to the last, the music is beautiful, rousing and elegiaic. When word started coming out about 'The Patriot', I was rather expecting someone like James Horner to score the movie, and was, in fact, rather disappointed that he wasn't chosen. However I now believe that the producers made the right choice in John Williams, because choosing Horner to score another Mel Gibson vehicle would have invited comparison with the excellent 'Braveheart'. Although 'The Patriot's' theme about the struggle for freedom already does this to a certain extent, the fact that the music is totally different helps give 'The Patriot' its own flavour and personality. And James Horner fans were not to be disappointed for long because he went on to score the excellent 'The Perfect Storm'.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2000
There have been comparatively few films about the colonial period in America, and even fewer about the American Revolution. Given the reverence held for this period by modern Americans this is surprising. Among the best of these few are "Drums Along the Mohawk," "Allegheny Uprising," "Northwest Passage," and "Last of the Mohicans." Roland Emmerich's "The Patriot" is a solid and rousing, if at times overly patriotic, entry to a a limited field of good films. The subject brings to mind fifes, drums, brass, and victorious fanfares. John Williams' fine score to this film (one of the year's best scores) has all that and a good deal more. He adds a subtle, rustic musical foundation that reminds us that the origins of the American republic were about uncommon valor from common folk too. John Williams' film music has become more introspective of late, "Saving Privat Ryan," "Angela's Ashes," parts of "Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace," and somewhat unexpectedly "The Patriot." This is not a complaint. His attention to the human element is stunning, and at times as powerful as any action score. Similar musical threads are evident in earlier Willams' scores dealing with the American past, "JFK," "Born on the Fourth of July," and "Saving Private Ryan," indeed, "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Patriot" could almost be historical and musical bookends (consider the haunting use of the brass section in all of these). But this score is far more complex and satisfying than any of that earlier and elite company. Both the film and Williams' music explore the human costs of war, and and it is not all bugles, drums, and glory. Note that Williams actually has three major themes for Benjamin Martin, as the simple farmer and father, as revolutionary patriot, and a very disturbing brass them for his bloodied past and his dark, uncontrolled resolve for vengence. This is an outstanding soundtrack recording that, like most of Williams' film music, stands well on its own. While Emmerich's film is perhaps too long, too broad in story, too ambitious in scope (it might have been more effective to have stayed with the historical Swamp Fox story), and a bit over the top at times (Mel Gibson and Roland Emmerich, what else need be said), John Williams' score keeps things balanced and adds another notable entry to the work of one of America's greatest musical treasures. The film opened appropreately over the Fourth of July weekend, and Williams' score is a fitting musical, birthday salute.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2004
I have really enjoyed this soundtrack, I agree with some of the other reviews in that it stands on its own as very good music and complements the film nicely!
You will not be disappointed with this one!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2001
"The Patriot", an excellent, exciting, and deeply moving historical/family epic, rises above any other movie this year, and may be one of the greatest modern epics of all time. Not only was it an incredible movie, but the score by John Williams was above and beyond much of his other excellent work.
Every time you hear a John Williams score, you know it. He has a brilliant way of creating many soaring melodies within each film. It is this gift that has made him the greatest composer of our time.
The score for "The Patriot" is just as good, if not better than, the movie itself. The way that Williams weaves and integrates his themes makes you wish for more. An expanded soundtrack would be awesome! The soaring patriotic theme is a stirring piece of music unto itself. The score has everything you could want out of a John Williams score: dark, brooding music that works with the darkness and tragedy of the film; simple, and moving romantic melodies that strike a deep emotional chord; thunderous, super-exciting action music; and bombastic, heroic music that commands you to leap out of your seat.
All in all, if you loved the movie and you love John Williams' music, then this is the score for you. The year's best score for the year's greatest movie. Buy it right now!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2000
I have not seen the movie yet, but this John Williams score for this soundtrack is one of the most patriotic and beautiful scores I have heard recently. Williams far outdoes "Saving Private Ryan" with this score. He seems to capture the essence of the American Revolution. The best tracks are #'s 1,4,6,9,7,16,&17 (which is a reprise of track 1). If you are going to listen to any music this July 4, make it the Patriot, there is nothing more patriotic out there. I have to say that this score outdoes many of Williams recent historical scores "Amistad", "Saving Private Ryan", "Seven Years in Tibet" all pale in comparison to "The Patriot". Even the score for "The Phantom Menace" is not as good as Williams work here. I give "The Patriot" 2 thumbs up, 5 stars, and my own personal Oscar nomination.