- Composed by Ramin Djawadi
- WaterTower Music / 2013 / 57m
Giant monsters from another world appear through a portal deep under the Pacific and attack mankind, which fights back with giant robots, in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which has attracted considerable praise for its flat-out entertainment value. It was rather surprising when Ramin Djawadi was announced as the film’s composer – del Toro had previously worked with “proper” composers, most recently Danny Elfman, and it was easy to fear the worst from this score. Fortunately, Djawadi has delivered a fine piece of entertainment of his own, one which is happy to sit on the surface rather than explore any depths, but one which provides much in enjoyment. The guitars, ostinato-based action and even the HORN OF DOOM which make up the opening track may be nothing fresh, but the composer pulls the familiar elements together better than any of his Remote Control peers (including the big boss) have done in a few years. There’s even a decent main theme which you may well find yourself humming after the album finishes – it’s given a lovely, laid-back guitar arrangement in “Cancel the Apocalypse” but its more usual guise is as a full-bodied orchestral action anthem. The HORN OF DOOM is employed here more like a foghorn, signalling monstrous arrivals, and it works well in that capacity.
It’s nice to be able to actually hear the orchestra – of course there are synths and samples, but they are used to provide unique electronic timbres rather than following the bizarre recent Remote Control practice of recording an orchestra and then drowning it out under a sampled equivalent. I love the modern edge provided by the electronics in “The Shatterdome”, eventually joined by a deep male choir. As enjoyable as the action material is, it is all rather samey, so it’s nice when it’s broken up a bit and “Mako”, with wordless female vocalist, is a lovely piece. At 57 minutes the album’s longer than it needs to be, but there’s a blessed sense of fun here which keeps interest going throughout. It reminds me more of a Brian Tyler action score than anything else – though Djawadi doesn’t quite have Tyler’s handle of an orchestra, so it isn’t ever quite as interesting. What it is is entertaining, and certainly the most impressive thing I’ve heard so far from this composer.
Rating: *** 1/2