in search of lost treasure: tmnt 2007 film score

It’s no surprise that I’m a collector. I’ve got a ton of cool stuff that I’ve picked up ever since I was a teenager. Some stuff though is pretty hard to find, though and I’ve got a few things that are out-of-print or generally hard to find (two examples: the soundtracks to ‘Looking for Richard’ and ‘Krull’). There’s one that I started looking for lately, which is the score to the 2007 film ‘TMNT’ by Klaus Badelt. Not the soundtrack, but the score (this is very important to remember).

The difference between the two is how many releases are put out for the movie. In most cases, there’s only one release, which can either be music tracks (vocals) or the instrumental score (background music). If there’s just one of these releases, then it’s a soundtrack. However, if there are two releases, and one has vocals and the other has the instrumental music, then the first is labeled as the soundtrack, and the second as the musical score.

Here’s a quick example, the movie ‘Earth to Echo’, which has both:

Earth to Echo Soundtrack
Earth to Echo Soundtrack
Earth to Echo Musical Score
Earth to Echo Musical Score

The soundtrack, in this case, just has a bunch of songs they put together on an album. It has nothing to do with the movie itself, and they’re not in the film at all.

The score, however, is the tracks of the instrumental audio actually found in the movie. In many cases, that’s what I want, is the actual musical score.

The movie TMNT is pretty awesome, and it also has both a soundtrack and a score. The problem is, that while the soundtrack also has random songs and has a CD release, the score has a limited promo release and finding one is difficult if not impossible.

TMNT Movie Soundtrack
TMNT Movie Soundtrack

Movies or shows having a promotional release CD is uncommon, which makes them harder to find. You tend to not even know about them because they are created in very small amounts. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s around 200 to 500 of these created. That makes it a little hard to find. Who even gets a copy of these to begin with, I have no idea.

The score to the movie is pretty haunting and beautiful, especially the opening introduction. You have to have heard it to know what I’m talking about. You can listen to the first track, ‘Story of TMNT’ here on YouTube.

TMNT opening sequence title

Doing some research, the first place I found it mentioned was here on the TMNT news site. The site is pretty cool, and it had a lot of activity from 2007 to 2018, but hasn’t posted hardly anything since then. It does have one page specifically talking about the track though. From there, it looks like the composer himself, Klaus Badelt, might have leaked the release online. That wouldn’t surprise me, to be honest. If I was a musician and afraid that nobody would hear my work, I’d get it out there somehow as well. Plus, it’s high quality as well!

April and Leo

There’s a couple of releases of the soundtrack on YouTube in different formats. There’s this playlist that has the score in two versions: the first playlist has it in two parts, one in a 30-track release, and then again but in 11 tracks right after that. Another version has the entire soundtrack, but in one complete video. And then a third version which has only the 11 tracks here. So, one of the questions already is … how many tracks are there really? 30 or 11? The world may never know. Okay, maybe we will know (I just wanted an excuse to post a commercial I grew up with).

This is where things get confusing. I’ve found three covers to the album. The first is the one straight from YouTube and from the original TMNT news site I mentioned:

I’ve got all my media handled by Plex, and when searching for music metadata, they use MusicBrainz which has a different album cover as well:

And then finally, this soundtrack collector website which has a front and a back for the album:

All three of them honestly look like they could fan-made, but this third one looks like it could be the actual release — it has all the information on there, and it’s split into the highest number of tracks, which also look like they are in the correct order. But, without an actual copy out there, it’s still speculation.

I don’t want a copy just because I’m a collector, I want one so it can get properly archived in a lossless audio format and uploaded to the Internet Archive so it doesn’t get lost to time. Plus, YouTube can be fickle and take down the existing videos already out there. I feel like it’s pretty important to get stuff like this archived, and that’s what I’d really push for. I have another promo CD of the IMAX documentary “Cosmic Voyage” and I uploaded the score to there last year so it doesn’t disappear forever.

What I’m really hoping for is that one of my TMNT friends or anybody else may have a copy of this lying around. If so, I’ll be willing to take it off your hands, but if not, let’s get it properly archived. Feel free to contact me. In the meantime, vigilance!

UPDATE: Found out a lot more, see follow-up blog post here in the second part.

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