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The Predator
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Lakeshore / 55m

Director Shane Black rather optimistically proclaimed that his latest instalment in the Predator franchise would “achieve the same sense of wonderment as Close Encounters of the Third Kind” –  I suppose it isn’t my place to judge whether it did.  It is set between the second and third films in the series and sees some government agents capture and imprison a predator, which turns out to be not such a great idea. Many hoped that Alan Silvestri would make a return to the franchise and the composer himself seemed enthusiastic about the idea (though he may have just been saying that I suppose); instead Henry Jackman came on board to write the score.  Somewhat surprisingly, it doesn’t sound at all like just another generic modern action score – in fact it sounds at times so much like an Alan Silvestri score it’s quite uncanny, with a crisp orchestral sound, an action-heavy martial feeling and very liberal use of Silvestri’s theme from the first movie.  Orchestral suspense opens up the score before that theme is heard for the first time towards the end of the second cue “Discovery” (leaving little doubt as to what it was that was discovered) but really, if you told me Silvestri wrote every note of those first two cues I’d believe you.  (If anything, he would perhaps have had a heavier electronic presence than Jackman elected to use.)

The theme really kicks off in “Project Stargazer”, after quite a pleasant, warm theme is heard in “Rory”.  “Out of the Cage” is a terrific piece of action music, its cellular structure filled with piercing brass hits and fast-paced strings, snares never far away, again perfectly evoking Silvestri.  The end of “Another World” with its swirling strings and choir is another highlight and it leads straight into the barnstorming pair of cues “Rescue” and “Apex Predator”.  The bulk of the score is either action or suspense-bordering-on-action and Jackman keeps things going on at a fast and furious pace most of the time.  He does quote liberally from the Silvestri score (and from Back to the Future at times too) and even when he doesn’t, he is imitating the other composer (which makes me wonder why they didn’t just ask him to score it himself – well, maybe they did) but in any case, it’s entertaining throughout and probably the best thing I’ve heard from him for a big blockbuster.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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  1. Jules (Reply) on Saturday 20 October, 2018 at 11:32

    Will admit I’m readily surprised by the quality of this one. Skipped it assuming that I would be generic modern action as you said.

    Really loving this year for film music, I feel like it’s one of the best we’ve had in a while, but I’ll have to see about the Oscar candidates. Really just missing a ripper from Tom Newman, who has been surprisingly silent this year. I’m looking forward to Creed and Fantastic Beasts (this just released a couple of tracks early, and it’s bloody great, can’t wait).

    Thanks for your reviews lately James, I know there haven’t been a huge amount but I’m glad you’re still going steady, and you’ve put me into quite a few I probably would have missed out on

    • James Southall (Reply) on Saturday 20 October, 2018 at 14:15

      Thanks! As I’m sure most people who’ve been around for a while have noticed, the update frequency has reduced a lot over the last year or two, mostly due to family commitments. I try to do as many as I can all the same and am grateful that there are still some people reading them.

      • JamesM (Reply) on Saturday 20 October, 2018 at 15:40

        I must say the second best thing after the music itself has got to be your reviews they help frame a lot of the way in which one appreciates the music.

        This album in and of itself promises to be a gem

  2. Fer (Reply) on Saturday 20 October, 2018 at 11:49

    “and very liberal use of Silvestri’s theme from the first movie”

    themeS, I would say…