Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino available at Varese



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"The Best Film Score that Isn't"
Review by Christopher Coleman


Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino

Medal of Honor

Composer Michael Giacchino
Michael Giacchino


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Category    Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 9
Composition 10
CD Length 10
Track Order 10
Performance 10
Final Score 10/10


Real Audio Clips



Quick Quotes

"Here is one of the finest film scores written in 1999, it's only that it actually wasn't written for a film. This is a score composed for Dreamworks' high budget CD rom game produced by Steven Spielberg, and as a game score I'm absolutely sure that it is the best ever written for the medium. But it should attract the large soundtrack audience as well and fans of John Williams and other orchestral heroes should definitely get their hands on Michael Giacchino's score for MEDAL OF HONOR"

Mikael Carlsson -
Music from the Movies Reviews Medal of Honor



Composed, Orchestrated and Produced by Michael Giacchino
Performed by The Northwest Sinfonia
Released by Dreamworks Records 1999

Straight from the Playstation to your CD player comes composer Michael Giacchino’s epic score to the video game, Medal of Honor. This just might be the best score for a video game that has yet to bless my ears. As much as Tommy Tallarico’s compositions for the Tomorrow Never Dies video game might appeal to the getting-jiggy-widit-side, this video game score blurs the line between video game music and film music more than any other.

Michael Giacchino is no rookie to the video game soundtrack arena. His first efforts came for the Playstation game, The Lost World and also for the Small Soldiers video game. His film music inspiration; however, came with the first advent of Star Wars. John Williams’ score set Giacchino’s imagination ablaze and decades later Giacchino produces a score that plays no second fiddle to some of Williams’ best work.

This score drips and oozes with depth and feeling- the sort of inspiring music that many film music fans are accustomed to receiving from Maestro Williams alone. Michael Giacchino not only pays homage to Williams but shows a genuine spark of genius in his music that Williams would be proud of composing himself. With each listen of this CD, the thing that reverberates is, "Man, this is what us Star Wars fans were looking for in The Phantom Menace! This is what we want!"

The opening track presents Medal of Honor’s main theme. It begins with a solo trumpet which instantly grabs every patriotic fiber in your body and pulls it to attention. It is constructed very similar to David Kneupper’s Apollo/Saturn V score and, of course, hints of Williams’ work for Saving Private Ryan, JFK and Nixon. This track builds and builds and finally erupts into a triumphant anthem not unlike John Williams Olympic themes. An equally thrilling alternate version of this theme is found toward the end of the CD, at track 17. This seems to be a Hymn to the Fallen sandwich treatment...only the insides are as good as the bread!

Much of this score is pure, heart-pounding action. A good number of tracks emanate right out of the life of one Dr. Jones, that's Indiana Jones. The same intense marches accented with bright flutes and eye-opening cymbal crashes fly from track to track and makes this listen more of an adventure in itself.  The net effect within the game is total immersion.

It is difficult to believe that this is only a sixty-five piece orchestra, The Northwest Simphonia. This orchestra simply sizzles and gives off the sound and emotion of an orchestra of twice the size. There performance is tight and inspired.

Dreamworks Records delivers an exemplary release. There is over 72 minutes of fine music. The liner notes are better than 90% of feature film soundtrack releases. Included in these notes is a brief introduction to the game and music by game’s producer, Paul Hirschmann and an extensive review by film music guru Paul Tonks. One feature that is truly impressive is the track by track descriptions of the music. Dreamworks has really gone above and beyond for this score and rightfully so. The music is that deserving.

A rather strange ending to this CD comes in the form of a German radio broadcast. I don’t know what this gentleman is saying but the feeling of Nazi propaganda comes through loud and clear. The track includes some good ol’ big band music in all of its sizzle-pop-monotone goodness. Not listed in the track listing are two "bonus tracks," which I have given my own working titles. You'll have to buy the CD to find out what they are all about...but heck, that will be least on your mind once you hear this music!

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Medal of Honor Track 1 4:10  *****
2 Locating Enemy Positions 4:08  ****
3 Taking Out the Railgun Track 1 3:49  *****
4 Attack on Fort Schmerzen 3:57  ****
5 The Radar Train 3:32  *****
6 Rescuing the G3 Officer 4:07  ***
7 Panzer Attack 4:15  ****
8 Rjuken Sabotage 4:05  ****
9 The U-Boat 4:40  ***
10 Merker's Salt Mine 4:07  *****
11 Approaching Colditz Castle 3:20  ***
12 Securing the Codebook 3:34  ****
13 Nordhausen 3:15  ****
14 Stopping the V2 4:11  ****
15 The Jet Aircraft Facility 3:27  ****
16 The Road to Berlin 3:04  ***
17 Medal of Honor (alternate version) 3:03  ****
18 The Road to Berlin (radio broadcast) 4:11  **
19 Nazi Troubles! (bonus track - self-titled) 1:23  ***
20 US National Anthem (bonus track - self-titled) 2:07  **

Total Running Time


Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
 Saving Private Ryan  |  Apollo/Saturn V




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