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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Adventure > Soundtrack > Fantastic Voyage (Limited CD)

Fantastic Voyage (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     Music: B+



After raving about Leonard Rosenman’s incredible score for Beneath The Planet Of The Apes in a previous review on this site, then the more recent release of The Cobweb/Edge Of The City soundtrack review, it is back to Science Fiction with his score for the 1966 hit Fantastic Voyage.  All are from the FSM label of Film Score Monthly Magazine, doing justice to every great film music composer they can.


The film about a crew who is miniaturized to fight hard-to-reach disease in a man’s body became a genre classic and a twist on the then-cliché of the mad scientist shrinking people to torment them.  As a matter of fact, being a few years prior to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, this was the most commercial of the films that were seen as the genre’s movement to more thoughtful filmmaking and storytelling.  Francois Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 and Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville are more enduring, but this was the best that the declining old Hollywood studio system could pull off and it certainly is something to take more seriously than the silly take-off Innerspace from 1987.


When the science and logic failed the film, its still-interesting (and gloriously non-digital) visual effects and music filled in.  Rosenman should be given credit for bringing electronic music into mainstream filmmaking beyond Sci-Fi stories.  The combination of the films visuals and music make it one-of-a-kind, and played contradictory in many ways to the music John Barry had written for the great underwater sequences the year before in the James Bond blockbuster Thunderball.  Though it inside the body, it is that kind of unusual space that needs to be scored with its solitude in mind.  To Rosenman’s credit, he uses plenty of non-electronic instruments, creating a sort of juxtaposition between the natural human body the technology trying to save and not kill it.


Alan Silvestri’s score for James Cameron’s The Abyss is more mystified by comparison, adding to that film’s problems in being totally part of the Science Fiction genre.  The greatest thing about Rosenman’s score is that it is more diverse and most unashamedly Science Fiction pushing for possible science, and that is why it took electronic music in the genre and cinema in general passed the paranoid Theremin’s of 1950s B-movie works in the genre.  That is also why we can say Beneath The Planet Of The Apes finishes what this score began.


The PCM CD stereo is pretty good, with a fullness and separation worthy of such a big CinemaScope production, though it would be one of the last with that format of lenses.  The film was issued on a DVD double feature from Fox back in 2000 with Voyage To the Bottom Of The Sea, which had the feature in Dolby Digital 4.0, but it is too old to compare to this CD, so we’ll wait for a reissue.


Since the DVD is not out yet, despite Fox releasing the majority of Raquel Welch’s output for the studio already, so the sound options on that release should be interesting.  This CD proves they have great materials from which to restore the soundtrack.  This soundtrack, however, has been limited to only 3,000 pressings and has been in print for a while, so if you want it, go to www.filmscoremonthly.com and check out all the great titles they have available.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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