Terminator 2

Pros: Good main theme
Cons: Works much infinitely better with the movie than as a standalone CD

The Bottom Line: 3 out of 5 stars. Get the good bits. Leave the rest.

If you’ve ever seen the second Terminator movie, then you can remember how edge-of-your-seat it could be. You also probably remember some of the music, like the main theme and its sad yet powerful tone. Or the sketchy, screechy sounds backing the T1000. It can be quite enticing to get the soundtrack, but before doing so, let’s take a look at it first. I get to do all the hard work for you. ;)

With most soundtracks I go through the songs one at a time. However, if the tracks are too similar, there are way too many tracks, or they’re all just too short to bother with, I won’t. In this case, we have 20 tracks equaling about 53 minutes. Most of these are under 3 minutes, so there isn’t much to say about them. In which case, I offer you the tracks and times, then more about the yays and nays of the soundtrack.

1. Main Title (Terminator 2 Theme) – 1:58 (second best track)
2. Sarah on the Run – 2:34
3. Escape from the Hospital (and T1000) – 4:34
4. Desert Suite – 3:28
5. Sarah's Dream (Nuclear Nightmare) – 1:51
6. Attack on Dyson (Sarah's Solution) – 4:09
7. Our Gang Goes to CyberDyne – 3:11
8. "Trust Me" – 1:39
9. John and Dyson into Vault – 0:44
10. SWAT Team Attacks – 3:25
11. "I'll Be Back" – 4:00
12. Helicopter Chase – 2:27
13. Tanker Chase – 1:43
14. "Hasta La Vista, Baby" (T1000 Freezes) – 3:03
15. Into the Steel Mill – 1:27
16. Cameron's Inferno – 2:39
17. Terminator Impaled – 2:06
18. Terminator Revives – 2:15
19. T1000 Terminated – 1:43
20. "It's Over" ("Good-Bye") – 4:36 (easily the best track by far)

Brad Fiedel is the composer of Terminator 2’s soundtrack. Though I’m not familiar with Brad’s music the way I am with other composers, a quick look at his credits can tell you right away the sort of style he is probably known for. Terminator, True Lies, and Johnny Mnemonic. Mostly it’s synthesized goodies from the 80s or in this case, 90s. The thing with this soundtrack is that while the style and synth sounds make it unique, it’s mostly bones. With the exception of a few tracks, such as the first and final tracks (which are essentially the same), this music is mostly for support behind the action and other happenings on the screen. The two together make a very powerful team, but split them up and you have weaker parts. Without watching the action, tracks like “SWAT Team Attacks” and “Sarah on the Run” become nothing more than muted tappings and quick movements.

In fact, overall the CD sounded rather quiet to me. It shouldn’t have been surprising, really, because I’ve seen the movie plenty of times and know what to expect. That isn’t to say that the soundtrack loses all tense moments. It still maintains a certain edge and degree of dark and menacing overtones, especially when the T1000 steps onto the scene. Most of the songs are going to be fairly slow, though there are a few tracks that kick things up a notch. Those are a little more interesting, such as near the end of “I’ll Be Back” and “Tanker Chase.”

I also have to say that Fiedel does some interesting things with certain members of the string and brass sections (if they indeed were real instruments and not synth sounds). You’ll probably remember some of the sounds you heard when the T1000 bit the dust (or more like melted in a pool), and that’s what you’ll get in “T1000 Terminated.” Definitely weird, a little freaky even, but very effective for the movie. Other times some of these sounds actually made me think of old school video games (like the original Final Fantasy games).

In the end, that’s mostly what this CD amounts to. Great stuff for the movie, but on it’s own it’s not that noteworthy. For me it has low replay value as most of the tracks can be glossed over and others are so similar I can easily forget which track I’m on and start wondering what I missed. I’m sure there are some people out there that will enjoy this soundtrack for what it is, but I think on the whole I don’t see many instances where you would want/need to listen to this CD. I figure, if I’m going to listen to Brad Fiedel’s work, I might as well put in the movie and get the full effect.


Originally posted at Epinions.com


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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.