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War of the Worlds Soundtrack

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 28 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • ASIN: B0009A3ZZI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,048 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Prologue (Narration: Morgan Freeman)
2. The Ferry Scene
3. Reaching The Country
4. The Intersection Scene
5. Ray And Rachel
6. Escape From The City
7. Probing The Basement
8. Refugee Status
9. The Attack On The Car
10. The Separation Of The Family
11. The Confrontation With Ogilvy
12. The Return To Boston
13. Escape From The Basket
14. The Reunion (Narration: Morgan Freeman)
15. Epilogue

Product Description

Product Description

The motion picture event of the summer stars Tom Cruise, is directed by Steven Spielberg and features music by John Williams. The movie opens the day after this soundtrack is released and John Williams is probably the most well-known film music composer ever (and certainly Spielberg's favorite), responsible for the soundtracks to Star Wars, Jaws, E.T, Harry Potter, Schindler's List and more. Decca. 2005.


John Williams continues his longtime collaboration with Steven Spielberg in this adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel of the same name (previously filmed in 1953). Considering that the movie depicts a gigantic Martian invasion, you'd think Williams would have fully gone into his familiar bombastic mode, but he's refrained from doing so. While the composer makes full use of the outsize orchestra at his disposal, he prefers juxtaposing layers and building atmosphere rather than hitting you over the head with dramatic arias. "The Intersection Scene," for instance, begins slowly and minimally, then progressively builds into an ominous pounding; Williams then inserts spooky, otherworldly banshee-like effects that escalate into a frenzied pitch before abruptly disappearing as the track begins its descent back towards calm. The sound is genuinely scary and could lead to a spike in blood pressure among impressionable listeners without the help of visuals. "Probing the Basement" is another example of Williams masterfully building anxiety. War of the Worlds culminates with "Escape from the Basket," in which Williams methodically builds tension over close to ten minutes. And refreshingly, even when the action picks up, he mostly avoids the clichéd thundering timpani that often plague this type of score. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

More War of the Worlds

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H.G. Wells and the War of the Worlds: A Documentary on DVD

H G Wells' the War of the Worlds: The Real Story on DVD

The Complete War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds: Fresh Perspectives on the H. G. Wells Classic

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Top Customer Reviews

By Luc Morin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 29 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
His time off helped tremendously. Mr Williams nailed down one of the best soundtracks ever committed to disc. From the ominous beginning to the end, this set is one of the most coherent and sustained and on point soundtracks. The sound is equally outstanding. An easy recommendation for those who like soundtrack music

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa1bf578c) out of 5 stars 25 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1bede1c) out of 5 stars Not typical Williams fare, but brilliant nonetheless June 29 2005
By Lugubrious DBB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If there is one thing that John Williams has shown in the twilight of his career, it is his eagerness to embrace different styles that are appropriate for each film he has scored and to push the envelope in ways even his most devout fans may not expect. For example, last year Williams embraced neo-Renaissance period instruments for his "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" score, then did a complete 180 degree turn to bring the charms of clarinet and accordion to "The Terminal".
This year, Williams has performed a similar feat, first bringing us his brilliant, Wagnerian finale score for "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith", full of bombast and more themes than a Mahler symphony. Now, for his 21st feature film collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, Williams brings us one of the most brilliant and radical scores he has ever composed: "War of the Worlds".
I'm not going to talk much about the plot of the film (you can see it for yourself); suffice it to say that aliens invade Earth at the dawn of the 21st century and man must find a way to defeat the invaders before he is eliminated from Earth forever. With this scenario in mind, Williams has fashioned a brilliant example of modern concert composition, blurring the line between tonality and atonality so finely that one must focus the ears more than usual to appreciate the subtleties of the score.
Unlike Williams's most famous works (i.e. "Jaws", "Star Wars", "Raiders of the Lost Ark") there are no themes in this score that you will be whistling long after you've listened to the CD. In fact, unlike Williams's typical work, theme is hardly discernible on this album. There is a short motif, typically performed by the low brasses, that represents the alien invaders, and another theme played primarily in the strings that could be called a "reflection on mankind" theme; this theme is featured most prominently in the final two tracks.
Beyond these two themes, most of Williams's work is scene-specific underscore, similar in approach to his "Minority Report" score from 2002. The action sequences are scored with pulsating string and percussion syncopations, with the brasses interjecting occassionally to emphasize these offbeats. Much of this album features quiet music that will require one to turn up the volume, the most prominent example being "Probing the Basement", in which shrieking violin harmonics underscore an alien inspection of a cellar in which the protagonists are hiding.
Do not purchase this album if you are merely a casual film score or Williams fan who enjoyed "Star Wars" and "E.T.". You will be greatly disappointed, and might find this score to be nothing but noise. However, if you have heard or own Williams's score to "Minority Report", or have a great appreciation for serialist music and modern atonal compostion, this album will surely satisfy. "War of the Worlds" may not be Williams's greatest score, but it is his most daring and unique score of the last 10 years, and it is refreshing to hear a great master take a chance and create something completely different than his typecast work.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1bedea0) out of 5 stars Masterful, as always! July 7 2005
By R. L. Pulliam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"The War of the Worlds," Spielberg-style, is a riveting, gut-wrenching, wholly one-of-a-kind science fiction colossus that puts the viewer into the story and leaves him as clueless as the characters in the film -- no scientist to explain things, no kindly professor to assess what "probably" is happening and why, no other unrealistic explanatory device. In point of fact, "we" are in the same boat as the people fleeing the terrors of alien invasion. And as much as we want answers, we're given exactly what the characters in the story are given -- people-dusting, building-destroying, bridge-toppling tripods bent on wiping out all of mankind and his achievements.

And capping it all off, a wonderful, atypical John Williams score that hits all the right notes!

This score is in a class with "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind," "Images" and "Jaws." It's some of the most imaginative scoring Williams has attempted, and it's a propulsive masterwork of orchestral color, timbre and imagination.

I "choose" to believe that the cue "Epilogue" was a Williams tribute to the late Jerry Goldsmith, inasmuch as the entire piece could just as easily be fitted into Goldsmith's score for "Alien." The piece says "Nostromo" to me! It's elegant, stirring and reminded me that I remember thinking, at the time "Alien" was opening, "How on earth is Goldsmith going to measure up to Williams' two epics about space?" And then he delivered his usual brilliance without any similarities between his score and Williams'.

This score features some of Williams' best action music EVER...and it's the kind of stuff most folks into film music salivate over when it's coupled with tonal writing.

This CD soundtrack is a mesmerizing listen. I'm hooked, I tell you, I'm hooked. It's one of the best scores written in recent years by anyone.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa20ad438) out of 5 stars Williams Displays Versatility March 14 2006
By P. McGowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This score is like nothing else I have heard from Williams and that is an awesome thing! I am always impressed with the work that Williams does but this score really surprised me. The score uses many modern and avant garde classical methods to truly convey an expression of fear. Rather than focusing on charactar based themes, as Williams generally does, he instead uses musical textures to convey the emotion of the film. This textural technique of composing reminded me of the works of Gyorgy Ligeti. Though this is a great listen, this score may seem "unpleasent" to listen to if you aren't used to heavy/modern classical music, which is a contrast to the usual scores that Williams composes. Though I must say, the unpleasant feeling score was exactly what a film like War of the Worlds needed. Bravo John Williams!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1c026b4) out of 5 stars Williams' Solid Tribute to the Sci Fi Films of the 1950s June 30 2005
By G M. Stathis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are already mixed commentaries on both Steven Spielberg's new film "War of the Worlds" and the impressive score composed for it by the great John Williams. Sadly, far too many people have missed the point of what is singularly a tribute to the science fiction thrillers of the 1950s, especially George Pal's 1953 production of "War of the Worlds." Of course all of these efforts have sprung from the anti-war tome of H.G. Wells. One is tempted to mark down Spielberg's references, some subtle, some blatant, but all a great deal of fun ("Day the Earth Stood Still" 1951, "The Thing From Another World" 1951, "Invaders From Mars" 1953, even "Day of the Triffids" 1963, to name just a few). The film is gripping and loyal to its sources. Williams' music is partially a throwback to his epic score for Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," minus its lyrical passages.Indeed, there is not much of what might be called melodic music save for somber tones that bring the film to a typical Spielberg ending. But that is not a criticism. Williams has produced a tense, taut, and very effective score that is also representative of, and a tribute to, the film scores of those B-Sci. Fi. films of another era, with, of course, his own marvelous musical stamp. "Probing the Basement" stands out clearly as an example of Williams' effort here. The addition of Morgan Freeman's voice over prologue and epilogue is a nice touch for the soundtrack album that is beautifully produced and nicely packaged by Decca. This is a score that stands apart from recent triumphs by Williams ("Harry Potter" and the final "Star Wars" scores)and exhibits his dynamic genious.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1c026cc) out of 5 stars Williams And Spielberg At WAR July 9 2005
By Erik North - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a fan of both director Steven Spielberg and his favorite film composer John Williams, I am admittedly extremely biased when it comes to their thirty years-plus worth of collaborations. But I also admit to being totally taken aback by the severe negativity drawn by certain reviewers here of not only WAR OF THE WORLDS as a film itself, but the score Williams has supplied for it.

This not being CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or E.T., of course Williams' WAR OF THE WORLDS score is going to sound big, frightening, and frequently dissonant. That's what the film called for, and that's what Williams gave to Spielberg. Especially in cues like "The Ferry Scene" and "The Attack On The Car", Williams gives us many pulse-pounding walls of sound that raise our feelings of extreme vulnerability; some of those walls of sound resemble the Bruckner-influenced score he supplied for the 1977 suspense epic BLACK SUNDAY--pounding timpani; ominous brass, eerie strings, and the like. Whether these moments really add up to one of Williams' most memorable film scores or not will only be known over time. But for its immediate impact, I felt the score for WAR OF THE WORLDS certainly approached JAWS in Williams' continuing ability to keep relevant and still show he has the goods to produce sweat-inducing soundscapes.