So many soundtracks being released in the past month or so its hard to keep up with them all, the trouble being is that they are all very very good indeed, which I suppose is a nice problem to have, but how do you (1) afford them all and (2) Which ones do you decide that maybe you could live without? It’s a real problem isn’t it. THE MYSTERY OF THE DRAGON SEAL is one you will not want to miss out on, this is an epic score which is fully symphonic and contains a grandiose array of rich, lush, lavish and sweeping thematic material. It is one of those scores that one thinks where did this all came from and who is the composer? Aleksandra Maghakyan is who She is and wow what an accomplished composer She is too. She has created an opulent and lavish soundtrack, which for me rivals anything written by any one of the A lister film music composers of today.
This is a stylish and vibrant soundtrack, which I for one enjoyed greatly. It is hard to fathom out just how many core themes there are within this score, because they just keep on coming and developing as the work progresses and grows. The compositions are overflowing with exuberant and exciting musical auras, it is at times operatic and totally absorbing. There is an energy present throughout which is relentless and infectious. It is somewhat like experiencing a never-ending soundtrack, because one thinks that it coming to an end as in there cannot possible be any more themes in store for us, and then out of nowhere another appears and enters into the already crammed content of the work. It is mysterious and magical, adventurous and dramatic, romantic and lilting and has to it an intimate, fragile and emotive side that is as touching and mesmerising as its dramatic and action led content. What more could we as film music lovers possible want?
I dare you to listen to this score and not be inspired or affected in some way, it is a rollercoaster ride of musical styles, sounds and emotions, each cue being varied and enriching in its overall sound and impact. There are no less than fifty-two tracks on this release, yes some are brief in their duration in some cases less than a minute, but they are wonderfully constructed and performed more than effectively to create layers of moods and powerful atmospheres. Angry sounding Brass, sweeping and also at times sinewy and chilling strings, and booming percussion play an important part within the score as do the contributions made by The Tula State Choir and certain passages which are given over to solo voice performances. There are even rock infused guitar passages that add a certain rawness, ferocity and harshness to the proceedings, plus the composer manages to integrate a number of comedic and quirky sounding levels into the score via inventive and highly creative writing which is at times a welcomed interlude within the score. We even get an Irish dance and Ukrainian Gopack, which just adds a certain amount of authenticity to the work. This is an inventive and interesting score, that has so many textures and colours it is bursting at the seams with creativity and musical excellence.
The film which goes under the title of VIY 2 THE JOURNEY TO CHINA in the UK but is still to receive a release is based around the original story and characters created by writer Nikolai Gogol. The movie looks to me as if it is indeed itself an epic affair, with lavish sets great special effects, expansive and striking cinematography with a plethora of impressive fight scenes that were choreographed by Jackie Chan and his team of stunt people.
It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan who both also act as producers on the movie. Plus, Helen Yao as Cheng Lan and with Jason Flemyng and Charles Dance who repeat the roles, they created for the film’s predecessor VIY and Ruter Hauer in one of his last acting roles before his untimely death. Directed by Set in the 18th century, the film follows the continuing exploits of cartographer Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) as he undertakes a scientific and supernatural journey that leads him from the shores of England to the mysterious land of China. There were many rumours surrounding the production with Steven Seagal even being mentioned as a leading role player as well as Jason Statham. The movie was announced to be premiered in Russia in the September of 2018, but due to censorship difficulties in China this was postponed, and the film never reached the screen for its premiere until, August 2019. It was later released in the Philippines under the title of THE DRAGON SEAL in the September of 2019. Confused, I know I am. But saying this its predecessor VIY also experienced many difficulties, both with the technicalities of filming and financial backing.
The musical score is a triumph and an enthralling and mesmerising work, that I am certain will soon become a firm favourite with collectors. This is an imposing, eloquent and powerful score that evokes so many classic film scores and purveys a romanticism and mysticism within its commanding, mesmerising and haunting themes. Recommended.