"The Meteor Man"
Music By Cliff Eidelman
Intrada Special Collection Vol. 274
38 Tracks/Disc Time: 69:55
"The Meteor Man" was released over 20 years ago and it was one of those comedies that was really lost in the shuffle of that summer of 1993 where films such as "Cliffhanger", "The Firm", "The Fugitive", "Sleepless In Seattle" and "Jurassic Park" ruled throughout. The film was a spirited and original comedy pretty much in the vein of "Superman" with a major difference in that its' hero is African-American which was a very positive thing and the film reflected that highly. The film which was written and directed by comedian Robert Townsend, who also stars as Jefferson Davis, a caring but loser of a schoolteacher working in an rough and tough inner city Washington D.C. neighborhood who pretty much gets stepped on by almost everybody including a dangerous gang called the Golden Lords whose members are easily recognizable by their golden blonde hair. One night after being chased by the gang, Reed is stuck in an alley where he's then stuck by a green meteorite and soon he starts to gain strange new super powers in which he uses to do good himself and the community as the newly dubbed superhero "Meteor Man" who starts to beat the Golden Lords at their own game. The film was not a hit but it's affectionate charm did lead to alot of positive reviews helped in part by the who's who of African-American television and movie stars that lend a great able hand to the film that include Oscar winner James Earl Jones, Marla Gibbs, Robert Guillaume, Sinbad, Eddie Griffin, Don Cheadle and even Bill Cosby himself. The film also featured the first ever appearance of Chris Tucker and several popular singers and rap artist of the time made special appearances that include the late Luther Vandross, Naughty By Nature, Cypress Hill, Another Bad Creation, and Nancy Wilson.
While the film was loaded by popular rap groups and contemporary artists of the era, the film still needed a musical score that would propel not only the storyline, but really reenforce the comedy, drama and the heroics of the "Meteor Man's" crime fighting. This is where composer Cliff Eidelman came in with inenviable task to creating superhero music, but superhero music with a heart. Eidelman who's star really rose when he was chosen for the plum assignment of orchestrating the musical send off of the original "Star Trek" crew in "Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country" and after writing two inspired comedy scores in "Crazy People" and "Delirious", he was the right choice for this film and the score that he wrote ranks amongst his best.
The album opens "Main Title" with a rather heroic buildup just as John Williams had done with "Superman", Eidelman utilizes a choir and the power of the orchestra to create a great original fanfare that would become the signature theme of the score. Eidelman underscores the heroic material utilizing his fanfare with solid results as featured in the tracks "Cleaning Up The Hood", "Ultimate Hero", "Off To Work" and "Offensive Plan" that do show alot of fun spirit of what the score is about along with some really excellent action tracks that are very Williams-esque in tone (for the most part) in "Meteor Spill", "Karate Duel", "Jeff Catches Bullets", "The Imposter", "Jeff Protects Dad" that are purposely and musically over the top and the Elfman inspired "Blood And Crips Unite", "Emergency Meeting" and "Double Cross", that are very memorable and make up the very essence of the solid base this score has all around. Eidelman does have fun with the material in the overly comidic "Jet Magazine" and shows off his deft dramatic touch in "Mrs. Walker", and "Jeff Says He'll Leave" featuring some very tender piano and trumpet solos that usually made up Eidelman's style at the time and are still very refreshing to this day.
Intrada's debut album for this long awaited score has been 20 years in coming one in which soundtrack collectors and fans of Eidelman's have been wanting for sometime. The score is everything that you could want in a superhero like score despite some obvious temp tracking that I personally noticed on some later tracks that aren't that bad or disrupt Eidelman's original work. The score is inspired and fun and the closest to a superhero like film that he was able to score since he's been languishing on romantic or serious dramas over the last 20 years. It's refreshing to hear this album and score after that long a period and wonder what could've been if Eidelman's stock had risen if the film was a success and he'd been able to do more scores such as this one. As is, "The Meteor Man" is a rock solid (excuse the pun!) energetic and fun effort that stands a true testament of Cliff Eidelman's excellent untapped versitility. Recommended thumbs up!