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Really well-done collection of funky score, great source music
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2004 Warner Bros.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
A film I hated the first time but which grew on me tremendously subsequently, Ocean's Twelve was the first sequel to Steven Soderbergh's only really commercial venture so far, reuniting the cast of the original film, adding Catherine Zeta Jones and taking them all off on a tour of Europe in a bid to make loads more money. It's a film which very much gives the impression that the cast and crew turned up somewhere nice and then made it up as they went along, but despite its huge self-indulgence it is still quite entertaining in its own way, and frequently very witty.
Musically, Ocean's Eleven had been impressive, and composer David Holmes returned for the second adventure, with various songs again taking on an important role alongside his score. The soundtrack album is a very strong one - mercifully ditching the hideous concept of dialogue extracts all over the music which plagued its predecessor. The source music is a wonderful blend of old-fashioned European romance (Ornella Vanoni's delicious "Appuntamento" and Piero Umiliani's "Crepuscolo sul Mare" both shimmer like the sun rising over an Italian horizon) and more modern jazz (Roland Vincent's "LSD Partie" and Dave Grusin's absolutely brilliant "Ascension to Virginity").
Holmes's score very much picks up where the first one left off. Sexy, hip and vibrant, with guitars, percussion, trumpet and vibes dominating again, it's unremittingly cool stuff which serves its film well and is hugely enjoyable away from it. The opening score cue, "$165m Plus Interest / The Round-Up" is one of the best, with the driving beat sometimes accompanied by synth choir for a modern equivalent of the sort of music Lalo Schifrin wrote in the early 1970s. With a catchy tune to boot, it's the perfect music for this kind of thing. The best cue is the strangely-titled but glorious "7/29/04 The Day Of", a wonderfully exciting, jazzy piece.
For sure, it's all quite insubstantial and fluffy, and I don't generally review albums dominated by songs, but this one is so well put together and so enjoyable I thought I'd make an exception. A fine example of how a "from and inspired by" album can be done really well if a little thought goes into it.