As part of their 40th Anniversary festivities, Jerry Goldsmith‘s score to Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers (1998) gets Deluxe treatment from Varèse Saraband (CD Club series) with an Expanded Edition.
As our own Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival is honoring director Joe Dante with a Lifetime Achievement Award, revisiting one of the director’s numerous collaboration with the late Mr Goldsmith is simply about good timing.
As one of the great Hollywood match up, the Dante-Goldsmith collaboration gave us some decades long joyful moments : Gremlins, Innerspace, The Burbs, Twilight Zone the Movie et al count as some of the finest offerings from the composer. The label received frequent requests for a complete score for the lesser known Small Soldiers, a late 1990’s action adventure fairy tale (which in Dante’s world ends up not being so fairy) about a group of action figures, programmed with military technology, and coming to life .
The overall score provides some significant action and suspense cues. Right from the start (track#1, Globotech ) we are introduced to some short heroic military type march with roaring brass. There is, a few tracks later (#7, Roll Call), some brief citations of traditional songs, ‘When Johnny Comes marching Home’ for instance, effortlessly added to the mix by Goldsmith.
track 2 (He’ her/ Chi p Hazard/ just toy), while introducing some serious claim for further action music, establishes a recurring tone down electric guitar sound. A pitch shifting which is a signature of Goldsmith’s outputs for Dante. Remember the Gremlins ‘voices’ pitched?
Assembly line (#3) starts as one quieter side of Mr G, the lyrical one. It instigates suspenseful, adventurous writing to come with rhapsodic wind sections. And then Alan’s town follows and with it we get our business as usual piece of Americana village life Goldsmith used to make joke about because he would always get the same Temp track off Dante from a film to another.
As the expansion is great to fully appreciate the nuances of the work, steadily, more electronic overdubs (The Boxes/ Off the truck), another of the tandem’s signature, are inserted. And the composer plays on variations, leitmotiv and citations he introduced, including ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ on tracks like No prisoners.
Rightfully Jerry Goldsmith takes no prisoner . And therefore, Small Soldiers expanded OST is a killer soundtrack.