Visit the Movie Wave Store | Movie Wave Home | Reviews by Title | Reviews by Composer | Contact me
ALIENS VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM
Particularly exciting - and particularly long - action score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Twentieth Century Fox; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
A reasonable financial success despite few people seeming to actually like it, Alien vs Predator has now spawned its own sequel, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, a simpler horror/action film without any big names in the cast, about a small American town being besieged by the warring beasts. New directors (Greg and Colin Strause) brought in a new composer for the ride - while Harald Kloser's score for the first one was reasonable enough, it wasn't exactly memorable or distinctive.
"Distinctive" is not a word likely to be used to describe Tyler's music here - but it's certainly in-your-face, with great big action music dominating for the vast majority of the album, whose length is best measured in geological timeframes. There is, of course, an impressive musical lineage leading up to this, including heavyweight and popular scores by Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and Elliot Goldenthal; Tyler's music in many ways ties them together better than has been done before, with special nods to Horner's Aliens and Goldenthal's Alien 3 - the construction of the action cues isn't a million miles from Horner's, and several of Goldenthal's trademark orchestrations, particularly in the brass, are in evidence (though in fairness this is not a new thing for Tyler - it's been a feature of his action music for some time).
On its own terms, there is no denying that Tyler's score is quite ferociously exciting, and for once the pre-release blurb calling it "apocalyptic" was no exaggeration. What is pleasing is that the music's orchestrated so well, even though it is gigantic in size it does not just overwhelm the listener with its constant hammering - there's an actual structure to it, and enough interesting facets that it avoids becoming the wall of sound it might have done. There's no subtlety here - but sometimes there doesn't mean to be. Pick of the bunch is "Decination Proclamation", a fiendishly action-packed piece sure to please an awful lot of people.
My only real complaint is over the album length - it's tremendously hard to sustain interest in this sort of music for 77 minutes, and consequently pretty rare even in this unfortunate age of "put everything on the album regardless of whether we should" that an action score gets an album this long. I know it can be edited down - but sadly it will no doubt influence many people's decisions on how frequently they will listen to this. A nice 40-minute album of this music would have been sensational. As it is, it's probably the most flat-out exciting film music since Don Davis finished his work on The Matrix films and, if it doesn't approach that level of musical ingenuity, it's still extremely enjoyable, and I'm sure will prove to be Tyler's most popular score in years.