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 PCD 155

Artwork copyright (c) 1987 Orion Pictures Corporation; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Now you get to see what all the fuss was about


A very unusual movie, Cherry 2000 is about a sexually-charged female robot in an almost Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic (near) future, starring Melanie Griffith.  It didn't get much of a widespread release and I would imagine that most of the people in the world who have heard of it, have done so because they are film music fans.  The score was for a long time known as the rarest of the rare, the very first release in the first wave of Varese Sarabande's CD Club, selling in an auction at one stage for a staggering $2,500.  Fortunately, the rest of the world now gets a chance to find out what all the fuss was about with Prometheus's expanded reissue, with a special bonus being that producer Ford Thaxton has also included the score for No Man's Land, another 1987 score by the same composer, Basil Poledouris.

Poledouris has a strong and instantly-recognisable style, sadly not heard in very many new films these days, but for someone with such a strong musical personality, it's surprising the level of variety in his career.  OK, the film may be silly, but he crafted an original - if eclectic - score which he must have spent a lot of time on.  The liner notes to this album say that he once described this score as being "the 3 Ms" - Mozart, Morricone and Moroder.  It's not difficult to see why.  The Mozart comes from the delightful orchestration; the Morricone from the stylised western influences (the movie posits itself as some sort of futuristic western); the Moroder from the numerous synthesised sounds, carefully interwoven into the orchestra.

The three elements, while creating a sometimes-jarring listening experience, are each in themselves interesting.  Most interest will probably be taken from the Morricone, with the fabulous spaghetti western-style theme cropping up numerous times.  It still features unmistakable Poledouris flourishes, but the nod to the Italian maestro is a delight.  The secondary theme is incredibly cheesy, but fun, sounding almost like the famous opening to A-ha's "Take on Me".  Romance is never far away, with the John Barry-style love theme being particularly attractive, especially in the standout "Cherry Awakens".  And Poledouris is no stranger to action music, providing a few knockout tracks in which the blend of orchestra and electronics distinctly resembles Jerry Goldsmith (though perhaps it even predates his more noteworthy efforts at the same thing) - "Ambush in the Cave / Truck Fight" is terrific.  As a standalone piece, "End of Lester" is the highlight - one of those epic-sounding pieces in which Poledouris tries to out-Rózsa Rózsa.  

After that comes No Man's Land, a rather different score, for a contemporary police thriller.  This time out, Poledouris sticks almost exclusively to electronics, presumably for artistic rather than budgetary reasons.  It isn't the most interesting of scores, perhaps sounding a little more like what Mike Post might have written for a tv cop show at the time, though it is still identifiably Poledouris's work.  Slightly sleazy-sounding, somewhat gritty, it is quite good for what it is, though its synthesised nature does mean that it now sounds fairly badly dated.  It's not among the more interesting scores by the composer, though is a solid enough listen for its relatively brief running time (a shade under half an hour), and the five-minute action piece "Chase" alone is well worth a few listens.

This is an impressive album, a must for Poledouris fans.  It combines two of his earlier scores which show two very different sides to the composer, and also very different sides from what most of his fans are probably used to, the ballsy action/adventure scores in which he has so specialised over the years.  It's sad that Poledouris doesn't score too many new movies these days, but hopefully that will change at some point, and in the mean time releases like this certainly help to plug in the gaps.

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Tracks - Cherry 2000

  1. Cherry 2000 (1:58)
  2. Photograb (alternate) (1:11)
  3. Cherry Shorts Out (1:32)
  4. Lights On (alternate) (1:51)
  5. Flashback #1 / Drive to Gloryhole (1:25)
  6. "E" Flips Sam (1:17)
  7. The Barricades (1:51)
  8. Flashback #2 (1:06)
  9. Photograb (1:11)
  10. Magneto (4:19)
  11. Pipeline (:57)
  12. Water Slide (1:04)
  13. Juke's Jukebox (1:37)
  14. Lights Out (1:26)
  15. Moving (:37)
  16. Thrashing of Sky Ranch (3:24)
  17. Drive (1:56)
  18. Hooded Love (1:16)
  19. Ambush in the Cave / Truck Fight (2:13)
  20. Lester Follows (:19)
  21. Drop 'Em (:41)
  22. Lester on the Move (:39)
  23. Rauda (on) Mic (:43)
  24. Jake Killed (:51)
  25. Plane to Vegas (1:01)
  26. Cherry Awakens (1:13)
  27. Lights On (1:51)
  28. End of Lester (5:02)
  29. The End (:37)

Tracks - No Man's Land

  1. No Man's Land (2:58)
  2. PCH (1:01)
  3. First Score (2:25)
  4. Love Score (1:18)
  5. Love Theme (1:38)
  6. Chase (5:27)
  7. Porsche Power / Drive My Car? (2:39)
  8. Ann Buttons (1:13)
  9. Payoff (3:27)
  10. Showtime (4:16)
  11. End Credits (3:01)
  12. Movietone (bonus from Cherry 2000) (:56)