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The Tomorrow War
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • Milan / 76m

When humans come back from the future to recruit some help to defeat alien invaders, Chris Pratt steps up. The Tomorrow War collects numerous artefacts from other, similar movies along the way and it’s got gaping holes in its logic, but it’s been successful enough for Amazon for a sequel to be commissioned. Director Chris McKay brings along his Lego Batman Movie composer Lorne Balfe for the ride. The long album starts off with some music focusing on the alien threat – the opening “Multiply” represents them with some slashing electronic effects and fascinating multi-layered vocals alongside some brassy clarion calls which vaguely recall Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Arrival and then in the second cue “Spikes Attack”, Balfe takes the same thematic base and turns it into some very decent action music with the familiar string ostinatos joined by satisfying trumpets and brass and a whole battery of percussion. Later, “The Whitespikes” is a pretty intense (and very dark) piece with some clever call-and-response ideas that form a pretty vivid musical picture of the invaders.

There’s a fair amount of decent action music here (not that you’d know from watching the film, where the music is dialled down so low in the mix you wonder at times what the point of the composer bothering was). A lot of it has heroic undertones related to Pratt’s character – the rousing horns of “Reunited”, for example. My favourite track by far is the title track, which actually appears in the middle of the album – it offers a set of variations on the score’s adrenaline-soaked main theme (actually there are distinct melodies, but they’re all somewhat related) beginning with a barnstorming anthemic version which leads into a terrific middle section (with brilliantly crisp contributions from the whole brass section) and then the strings take over for the soaring final part. It’s possibly the single finest piece of music I’ve heard from Lorne Balfe, actually. Late on there are more highlights in the emotional, warm “Colonel Forester” and the heroic “Dan Forester” before “Homecoming” brings things to an appropriately rousing conclusion. There’s a lot to enjoy in The Tomorrow War – personally I think it would be better-served by a shorter album collecting the highlights I’ve mentioned together (along with one or two other fine action tracks) – it’s not ground-breaking but it has good ideas, a number of good tracks and one outstanding one, so it’s certainly worth a listen.

Rating: *** | |

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