The Lost Empire
Musical Score By: John Altman
Distributed by: MovieScore Media
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The Lost Empire, also known as The Monkey King, is a television miniseries that was produced by NBC and the SciFi Channel in 2001. The miniseries starred Thomas Gibson as Nicholas Orton, an American businessman living in China who discovers a portal to the ancient Chinese underworld. A contemporary take on Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en, the miniseries also starred Bai Ling, Russell Wong, Eddie Marsan and Randall Duk Kim.
The musical score of The Lost Empire was created by English composer, conductor and orchestrator John Altman. Introduced to music at an early age by bandleading uncles Woolf and Sid Phillips, John Altman's only formal musical training consisted of piano lessons as a child. He began performing music sessions and eventually touring with such notable musicians as Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Little Richard and Van Morrison. Altman began his foray into film composing in the early 80s and has since composed musical score for movies and television. Some of his works include the musical score for RKO 281, Shall We Dance, The Queen's Sister, The Reagans and On Thin Ice.
The Lost Empire Soundtrack is quite an interesting listen that often reminds me of old karate flicks. Featuring typical orchestral fare mixed with traditional Eastern woodwinds and strings, the score strives to place the listener in the film's locale. The music sometimes takes on an action film feel, with horn fanfare, strings and heavy percussion setting the tone.
Given the premise of the film, the music seems to fit the mode, but I believe I found the musical score enjoyable chiefly for the use of traditional Eastern instruments. I'm a sucker for an exotic sounding soundtrack and would recommend it just on those merits alone.