Film scores Franchises

Soundtrack review: X-men – Days of future past (Rogue cut) (John Ottman – 2015)

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The release I am writing about now is not only an unexpected gift but should also serve as example for studios and record labels. I am as excited about the movie as I am about the score because “Rogue cut” brings an extension to my favorite movie from my favorite superhero franchise: “X-men: Days of future past”. The original movie came out just last year so to get an extra 10 minutes of footage so soon is brilliant. What’s even better is to get a new score released as well which expands John Ottman’s brilliant composition by 42 minutes. This is the dream of any film music lover: to not have to wait and search for bootlegs and have a nice and shiny expanded official release. It is also a good opportunity to revisit the music a year later with fresh ears and see how it holds up. The main theme, the one from the end credits still echoes in my head almost daily since it hasn’t left my running playlist.

The score starts with the first wise decision: splitting “Main theme / the future” from the original version in two standalone cues. The main theme deserves to thunder alone and inspire everyone who listens to it. Another favorite comes next, the “Time” clone “Hope (Xavier’s theme)”. I am being spoiled in the beginning of this release because I just heard by favorites already. But what of the next 100 minutes? Well the next 100 minutes have the advantage of coming from a movie I already know frame by frame. I won’t be able to separate the music from the images so naturally “The future” brings back the dark and desolate atmosphere the X-men were trying to cancel. I love the alternation between dark and melodic. The outside world menaces with “Time’s up” and the family of mutants comes together with “I found them”. So far the score sounds even better than last year.

Even when the cues aren’t memorable the overall mood of the score makes them sound better to me. There’s always a dark, raw electronic undertone that keeps me listening to the score. Also I know that the best moments on the film will come with cues like “You abandoned us all! – Yes, she does” and eerie and unforgiving piece that’s an instant favorite. The sneaky appeal of “How was she?” gets to me. I want to enjoy the monster cue “Paris Pandemonium” but just like last year, something doesn’t click.

I am discovering more atmospheric moments this time around. I knew they existed, I remembered from the movie, but they didn’t shine on the score from last year. Here I am just mesmerized by “Are you Mistique” and “We need you”. The composer seems to have focused more on the emotional moments when Charles Xavier connects with his older self and I couldn’t be happier. The whole section which starts with those two cues and continues with “All those voices” and “Charles n Charles” is just magic and touching and I can’t get enough of it. These are the highlights for me from the extra cues on this version. I also need to mention “Off the tracks” and “Finding rogue” as well because this is John Ottman at his darkest most industrial. You haven’t heard music quite like this from him, almost Herrmannesque in sound.

For me this extended cut was definitely worth the listen. The additions only make the score better and more coherent. Fans of the original will love this, fans of the movie will treasure it as well and there really isn’t any reason not to check it out.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 58 / 112

Album excellence: 51%

Highlights:

Main Theme

Hope (Xavier’s Theme)

Time’s Up

I Found Them

He Lost Everything

Pentagon Plan – Sneaky Mystique

You Abandoned Us All! – Yes, She Does

How Was She?

Are You Mystique?

We Need You

All Those Voices

Charles N Charles

Off The Tracks

Contacting Raven

Letting Raven In

Finding Rogue

Raising Rfk – Here They Come

The Attack Begins

I Have Faith In You – Goodbyes

You’re Here!

Welcome Back – End Titles

About the author

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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