Review Summary: In which the robots find themselves a heart
Two things need to be stated right away at the beginning of this review: 1) this isn't the much hoped for brand new Daft Punk that everyone has had a vested interest in ever since Human After All
wasn't the follow up to Discovery
that everyone wanted it to be, and 2); Daft Punk and Tron are a match made in heaven, well in theory anyway. Perhaps the smartest thing that the Walt Disney corporation has dreamed up in the last 50 or so years was to commission the French house champions to spearhead the movie's musical requirements. In a way, this slightly larger than life project is essentially the culmination of a long gestating period for Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo, who have tantalized and teased their fans for more than a few years with their supposed endeavors. Despite a few recent bad calls regarding some of their output, Daft Punk's music is generally regarded as the stuff of legend. Their first two albums displayed a fervent and unmatched ear for quality and teasing progression. They've never been an outfit to do anything that was never entirely essential for them, showing up only when they had too, not because they felt they needed too or were asked. As it comes as no surprise that Daft Punk seem like the perfect choice for Tron, it should come as no great shock that they wouldn't do anything as a half measure, for the Tron soundtrack is something of a surprise – the robot disco has now been buffeted by a 100-piece orchestra. Again, it seems like a natural progression, but it also seems like it should work. Well, it kinda does.
When I said that it sounds exactly like it should I meant exactly that, Daft Punk toying with something of a classical mindset and now being provided the means to perfectly pull it off. But keeping with the surprise theme, its interesting just how simple the end result is. Daft Punk's classic house stylings set to the backdrop of swells and peaks, futuristic meets classical like some dystopian and digitized opera. The sum of the parts has perfectly molded into the obvious answer, which sadly dissolves the idea of expecting anything out of the ordinary. Its resulted in the perfect yet obvious companionship, with both opposing parts working in complete and harmonious union, which sadly allows for no one style to expand beyond its confinement. In a way, it works just a little too well for its own good. This isn't a terrible proposition by any means, because its still something gloriously uplifting to hear, its just not terribly important or memorable. For the most part, the soundtrack moves ahead going through the standard motions of every soundtrack, feelings of grandeur and suspense are hammered out, and all of it conveys a real sense of “epic”, akin to the old greats. But for all its worth, all it tends to make me do is picture just how good Tron is going to look dressed up in modern day mechanics, which in a way is the soundtrack's job I guess, but I find each track drifting mercilessly into the background as my mind wanders to sci-fi backdrops and retro throwbacks. For all of its inspiring merits, I just don't end up caring come the finale
If memory serves me I seem to recall picking up soundtracks after their bigger brother's have done their dash across the movie screens of the world, and I do that for obvious reasons. I've seen the movie, I enjoyed its score, and I've subsequently decided to relive the moments in the comfort of my own home and whenever I choose too. So why now are we being treated to this soundtrack, which really serves no purpose as I have nothing to tie it too, nothing to reflect and reminisce on. So at the end of the day all the soundtrack amounts too is the culmination of the overwhelming hype machine in full effect, the crown jewel, so to speak, in the advertising campaign for the movie. Which is fine, as film buffs around the word now have something physical to salivate over, but it does leave some unanswered questions. For all the hype surrounding the inclusion of Daft Punk they've found themselves surprisingly confined. 'Derezzed' does set off tingles that remind me of the power that these two juggernauts possess, but its short lived and sadly, a little unfulfilling. Also, how does the soundtrack work as a companion piece" Well, that remains to be seen, and come the release of the movie I might perhaps realize the folly of attempting to draw out feelings from something that is almost meant to be heard visually, but on its own its merely a keepsake until the bigger release down the road. Its by no means a bad listen, in fact the tracks are in the most case, rousing and lined with glee and spectacle. But they just make me long for more, I just don't end up feeling satisfied with this release. Yes its good, but its by no means something I'll find myself returning too 6 months down the road. Its an afterthought released before that thought has been fully formed and unleashed, its just another part of the legacy to a story not yet told. Its also Daft Punk stripped down in one sense, and expanded in another, entirely new way. So if anything this soundtrack tells us is that these French robots have somehow found a heart hidden away in the mechanics and have put it to good use, only time will tell how effective it will be though.