By Michael Sullivan
I recently posted the press release for this DVD and now I have received the score to Superman: Doomsday. While loading this up, I was pretty hopeful because the composer, Robert Kral had done some pretty good scores on “Angel”, moody, edgy and a with a slice of humor. As the music began to play…I recalled the story of Superman:Doomsday aka The Death of Superman back in the 90’s.
DC Comics was looking to jump start its titles, Marvel Comics was just crushing DC in everyway, sales, TV, major media coverage and most importantly, movies. While DC had ruled the 70’s with the first 2 Superman movies, parts 3 and 4 had also destroyed it. Batman also had a very strong start, again the first two movies were well done…Lois and Clark was a hit on ABC while Marvel suffered and I do mean suffered some seriously bad series…The Incredible Hulk and Spiderman series were just shit on the screen.
But by the middle 90’s, it was Marvel’s turn…the X-Men cartoon was all the rage, Marvel would really get the superhero movie genre with “Blade” in 1998.
But for a shining moment,DC stole the thunder with the story of Superman dying to save the city and country he loved. Doomsday was the ultimate powerhouse, in the now legendary comic miniseries, Doomsday started a rampage after partially freeing himself. After killing many innocent bystanders, the Justice League attempted to stop him but simply were no match for Doomsday. Superman then battled him from the Midwest to Metropolis where he finally stopped Doomsday but died in the process.
But Superman didn’t really die…his spirit still lived but was far to weak, he went to his fortress to heal up. During this time, 4 other “Supermen” stepped in to each make the claim he was Superman…
So…after all this hoopla, DC only now has released this cartoon on DVD. Was it worth the wait? Judging by the music score…no. This score is not nearly as powerful as the story, the music itself is rather generic. In reading the liner notes, Kral and director Bruce Timms both say how they wanted the music nothing like the 70’s film…which is simply one of the most famous themes in film history and used to great effect in “Superman Returns”.
By ignoring the theme and trying to create a fresh one they are to be commended, its the score itself that’s terrible. It has a real “rock” theme throughout the CD instead of the terrible dread that Clark Kent feels when he knows he is not going to be enough this time…In the comic series, you see this…Superman is not the all American superhero this score portrays him as,he is a man fighting a unstoppable killing machine and he is doing it ALONE. The score also doesn’t convey the terrible sadness that people felt after Superman falls.
Until film makers and composers understand they HAVE to read the source material, they will continue to struggle with stories and heroes they don’t understand and make choppy, rocky scores like this.