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The Island of Secrets
  • Composed by Panu Aaltio
  • MovieScore Media / 2015 / 44m

A Finnish/Greek co-production, The Island of Secrets is a family adventure film released late in 2014 featuring a group of teenagers who end up having more excitement than they bargained for during their summer holiday in Kos.  Composer Panu Aaltio has impressed with his previous music released by MovieScore Media and there is strong material once more in this, their fourth release together.  One of the youthful protagonists fancies himself as a bit of an Indiana Jones type and Aaltio drew inspiration from that to craft a score that at its heart recalls the fondly-remembered great scores for films like this in the 1980s, but mixes that up with far more contemporary film music sounds.  I suppose the danger is that rather than appeal to fans on both sides of that fence, it might just appeal to neither, but there’s probably enough here to keep people happy.

The score opens expansively in “Duel at Sea” with a nice theme, but it’s not long before the percussive beats take us into a different era of (film) music.  The whole album flits frequently between the two styles – elegant melodies, heartfelt moments, sometimes humorous melodramatics (it does sound at least partially sampled admittedly, but they’re high quality); and rather less appealing modern action histrionics.  Frankly Aaltio seems far more at home with the former and the half of the score in that vein is very satisfying; and in the more contemporary portions of the score, the apparent Thomas Newman influence over one of the major themes is done well.  It’s not Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it’s written well and is entertaining.  I can’t say much positive about the more pop-based selections which do unfortunately drag the album down for me, but those who have been following this composer will certainly want to check the album out.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. Regis (Reply) on Monday 9 March, 2015 at 00:56

    It’s a shame that his amazing ( and arguably the best ) soundtrack for Apache Air Assault was never officially released. They poured so much money into it ( Moscow Symphony Orchestra! ) & yet never actually bothered to put on a CD in proper quality. Ugh.

  2. Regis (Reply) on Monday 9 March, 2015 at 01:00

    Here’s an example if someone’s curious.

  3. Mike (Reply) on Tuesday 17 March, 2015 at 23:24

    Regis, thanks for the sound clip- made me go track down the rest of the score. Some of it is annoing, but overall a fun score- much in the vein of Twister and the good parts of the Rock.