- Silva Screen / 2011 / 47:00
Silva Screen’s now-traditional yearbook album has arrived, with re-recorded tracks from twelve of the year’s biggest box office successes collected together. I’m sure it’s aimed more at the casual film music fan than the diehards who probably have most (if not all) of the scores represented in their collection, but it’s still a nice idea. Five tracks are performed by the label’s “house band”, the City of Prague Philharmonic, with the balance coming from the high-quality electronics of London Music Works. As with any collection of this nature, based on box office receipts more than musical worth (only one of my own five favourite scores from 2011 is represented), it is a highly mixed bag.
It opens with Patrick Doyle’s “Thor Kills the Destroyer”, which sounds even more Zimmerish here than on its original recording, but also somehow more dynamic and actually better. Alexandre Desplat’s “Lily’s Theme” from the final Potter is distinctly unmemorable (which sadly went for the rest of the score, too) but things pick up nicely with the superb “The Reunion” from John Williams’s War Horse, which begins a sequence of three tracks which are probably the album’s pick, also including “I Drive” from Cliff Martinez’s terrific Drive and the outstanding suite from Michael Giacchino’s Super 8 (which is the sole representative from my top five of 2011, if you were wondering – and you probably weren’t).
“Love Death Birth” from Carter Burwell’s latest Twilight score goes on a bit, but is a pretty strong piece. A bit more John Williams (a synthetic but well-done version of the opening from Tintin) should wake up anyone who may have nodded off, then Alan Silvestri’s stirring march from Captain America (despite a slightly suspect performance) will finish the job. To be honest, falling asleep might be the best option at this point. “Mermaids” was the only moment of quality in the utterly dire latest musical entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, but even that has well and truly outstayed its welcome after eight minutes. Then, the less said about the tracks from the latest Transformers and X-Men scores, the better. The album ends with the end title piece from Trevor Morris’s The Immortals, which isn’t quite so objectionable, but it would take a brave man to extend a more favourable description than “not quite so objectionable.” The triumphs and the turds come in fairly equal measure, but there should be enough here to satisfy most people (and most of the target audience will probably prefer what I call the turds anyway). ***