- Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
- Varese Sarabande / 2011 / 57:38
I haven’t seen Cowboys & Aliens. However, my research has revealed that the film features both cowboys and aliens. (Take that, those who say my reviews are poorly-researched). If there are two things which might be expected to inspire a film composer to create something memorable and exciting, they would be cowboys and aliens. Sure, a bit of pastiche would be expected – whether of Elmer Bernstein’s wide-open-spaces style of western scoring, or perhaps more likely Ennio Morricone’s brilliant, quirky style – and take your pick of any of the great scores which accompany alien invasion movies. What a mouthwatering prospect. Harry Gregson-Williams was the lucky guy chosen to score this film – while not consistently great, he has shown on various occasions that he can be creative, that he can write memorable tunes and that he is more than capable of injecting his scores with a great sense of fun.
One can only assume, then, that he must have received directions to avoid doing all of that and to write music as bland as he possibly could. Imagine one of those dull scores from Tony Scott’s films (where it doesn’t really matter – they serve their purpose) only with a few bits of twangy guitar (hey, there are cowboys). How utterly depressing. For most of its hour-long run-time, the album just plods along without doing much of anything. From time to time it springs to life and these moments rescue it from being a disaster – but even here the music just sounds generic and like it could come from pretty much any Remote Control-scored action film. This is music which just doesn’t have a personality, doesn’t really have anything about it which I can think would make anyone listen to it before any of the numerous things which are similar but better or the vastly-more-numerous-still things which are not similar but which are better. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want music like this in their film – I can’t believe Gregson-Williams would have written music like this if he had his own way and I can’t believe that director Jon Favreau wanted this either, he was presumably overruled as on Iron Man – it’s not awful by any means, it just all seems fairly pointless. **