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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Sony Masterworks / 2012 / 45:48

Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, in which Lincoln hunts vampires (with some success, it has to be said).    The film was originally meant to be scored by everyone’s favourite scoring double act, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but there is only so much film scoring brilliance the world can take and after they dropped out, Henry Jackman (one of Hans Zimmer’s many protégés) took the reigns.  Jackman’s career has been curious so far, with him writing a series of excellent scores for animations alongside a series of very dull ones for live action films.

One might have thought this film’s subject matter would have been the ideal opportunity to end that sequence – it’s not hard to imagine some grand, gothic horror music for this – but sadly that’s not the case.  There are fragments here and there which suggest what might have been (the very brief opening cue with its choirboy solo is certainly a promising start, the massed orchestral forces occasionally serve up a few bars of really nice stuff – the Morriconean string theme in “Mary Todd” is wonderful) – unfortunately that’s all they are though, fragments.  There’s always some heavily manipulated electronic section just round the corner, or a Zimmer/Batman-ish droning ostinato; at some point in the early 1990s this kind of “technological music” probably sounded quite impressive, but it sounds almost laughably banal now, a nostalgic throwback to something nobody’s actually nostalgic about.  The most frustrating thing of all is that it’s quite plain to hear amongst all this that there’s a really talented composer buried beneath all the soul-destroying devices he was presumably forced to employ, but he can never break out, not in this score at any rate.  It’s all just so obvious, so uninspired, so boring.  I never thought I’d get to the point of genuinely wishing Reznor and Ross had written a score instead of the guy that did, but the point has arrived.  This is, sad to say, pretty appalling stuff.  * |

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  1. Mastadge (Reply) on Friday 20 July, 2012 at 00:07

    Glad I decided to wait on this one rather than buying it blind!

  2. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Friday 20 July, 2012 at 15:22

    I did not know about Reznor and Ross…talk about a tonal mismatch! Almost like having Vangelis score a film set in the 1920s or something 🙂 I for one was really hoping Timur would return to Danny Elfman after Wanted, but it wounds like what he really Wanted was a mushy ambient score.

  3. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Monday 23 July, 2012 at 17:34

    As dull, dreary and disappointing as this score is, I wouldn’t go so far as to wish Reznor and Ross on ANYBODY. EVER.

    This is another case of a review where I agree with the wording, but I don’t know if I’d be quite so harsh with the star rating. There’s a couple of action cues in there that are decently enjoyable if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing. But, yeah, it could have been so much better, and Jackman has the chops to deliver more than this.

  4. Bernhard (Reply) on Saturday 22 June, 2013 at 14:11

    I must admit, that I liked this score. I was really looking forward to it, expecting some gothic choir work like ‘Van Helsing’ or ‘Priest’ and so, of course, I was disappointed, too at first.

    It really is very much sound-design, but the movie is very horror-like and so the music contains many shock-effects and stuff. And they are well done. Besides that, I love the country-approach, ‘What do you Hate’ is really badass and ‘The Horse Stampede’ is one of my favourite RC actiontracks. The only shame is the track-lengths. I hate albumslike this.

    Allin all I’d give it a 3 star rating…maybe a personal 4, because I’m a fan of that genre.