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Entertaining family adventure score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 1995 Universal City Studios, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
I haven't seen Gold Diggers, but the three keywords associated with the film at the IMDB are "teen", "gold" and "abuse". Make of that what you will. Actually, it's about a couple of kids who go off searching for buried treasure - not the most original tale, and I think the film sank without trace. The only people likely to remember it today are fans of composer Joel McNeely, one of film music's great untapped resources, a composer able to write the most wonderful, rich music but who seems to be mostly used for direct-to-video Disney sequels these days (incredibly, all five of his most recent projects at the time of writing have fallen into that category, spread over a four-year timeframe).
Anyway, he was on good form with Gold Diggers - it came from a period of his career when he wasn't necessarily scoring the most high-profile movies, but at least they were being released in cinemas, and at least their scores were being released by Varese Sarabande! This one followed on the heels of Young Indiana Jones and Iron Will and is very much in a similar vein - delightful Americana, bolstered by a strong main theme, with more than a little hint of John Williams casting his eye over proceedings.
The main theme is terrific, a rich and boistrous piece heard in full in the opening "Bear Mountain" which really sets the stage for the treats to follow. There're some fine action music here too - the slightly darker "Crystal Cavern" is great family scoring - a bit of Irish nonsense in "The Legend of Molly Morgan" - and of course the grand, expansive finale, "Molly Morgan's Gold". Perhaps it is not quite so focussed as McNeely's best work, and the whole thing is clearly very unsubtle, but it is quite irresistible. Anyone fond of McNeely's other scores for this type of film, or indeed fans of (say) Bill Conti's The Adventures of Huck Finn or Bruce Broughton's Homeward Bound scores, is sure to love this. Perhaps not the most substantial score in the world - but a brilliantly entertaining one.