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Soundtrack review: The time machine (Klaus Badelt, 2002)

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Soundtrack review: The time machine (Klaus Badelt, 2002)


H.G. Wells’ immortal story “The time machine” got a new remake in 2002, under the direction of his great grandson Simon Wells. The score was, fortunately, composed by Klaus Badelt, one of Hans Zimmer’s oldest collaborators. He rose to prominence when he took over the score for the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
From the multitude of composers raised in Hans’ Remote Control Productions Company, Badelt is the one whose style is farthest from Zimmer’s influence. His music is easily recognizable, and very few of his scores are in the usual RCP style. He developed his own sound and managed to compose a few memorable scores. I also love the fact that he provides most of the recording sessions for his scores on his website, so we have access to all the awesomeness.
Take “Time Machine” for example. Even though he worked a whole lot with Hans Zimmer, the influences on this score lean more towards James Horner. In fact, this score to me sounds like a prequel to Horner’s “Avatar”. I got the same feelings from both of them, like I was dreaming of a world where there were no limits, like I am flying without restrains. Klaus Badelt is capable of the highest level of excellence, and he proves it from the first track. Professor Alexander Hartdegen’s theme is like an anthem, a soaring, sweet, epic symphonic piece that warms my heart and makes me dream of great things. Piano and flute dominate this cue and every single note falls in the right place, with the tenderness of a gentle and happy snowfall. It’s such a beautiful track, the theme for a young, dreaming inventor, with his hopes and tribulations, with the fragility of his world…
The theme of the score is time travel, and the joy of the score never stops; no matter what, there’s always a sweet piano keeping the wheels of the time machine rolling, and the listener forgets his or her outside world and is completely immersed in the music. It takes me far far away and I feel the same happiness listening to this as I do from “The neverending story”. For me, it’s like a fairytale.
The end theme, “Godspeed” is a gorgeous, bittersweet track, perfect for a farewell. The final scene of the movie is shown in parallel: the main character begins his happy new life in the year 800 000 and shows his girl the place where his kitchen used to be, while back in present times, his friends, left behind, walk through that same kitchen, sad because he’s not there anymore but happy that he’s gone to a place where he found peace. All this is mirrored in the music: the flute dominates the first half; then the light piano leads to the choral parts of the new world, and the score ends with hope and a sense of fulfillment.  
“The time machine” is one of the few scores that leave me with a pure feeling of happiness after listening to them. Even the few shadows it has (the Morlock cues) are swept away by the light of this music. It is a beautiful and soaring score, a symphonic feast, a dream.  Klaus Badelt manages to keep even tragedy and melancholy afloat; he paints them with just enough joy to make me see only the silver lining. It is the score I go to if I need to get over something bad. I put my headphones on and I fly in a blue dream…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 96 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 67/83
Album excellence: 80%
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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