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Pleasant, sometimes huge comedy score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Universal Studios; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
In Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey played an ordinary man given some extraordinary powers to let him play God for a while (just so he can see how difficult it is). The mildly diverting comedy was reportedly the most expensive film in its genre of all time - and it pulled in an absolute fortune. Still, it hardly seemed a film that demanded a sequel - but one has arrived in the shape of Evan Almighty, even more expensive (budget: an eyewatering $175m even though Jim Carrey isn't in it), probably not as good, and probably not going to end up as a bit of a lossmaker.
John Debney's music for the first film was sweet and pleasant without being especially memorable, apart from the Michael Kamen and James Horner bits which crept in from the temp-track. His music for the second film is - sweet and pleasant without being especially memorable, apart from the Alan Silvestri and James Horner bits which crept in from the temp-track. Despite there being only a slight difference in description there (over one of the people this score is ripping off), the music is actually considerably more large-scale in approach, with Debney going for a massive sound, of biblical proportions.
The highlight is "God's Theme", with pleasant vocals doing their best to disguise the fact that the orchestral melody is a close cousin of James Horner's Apollo 13 (and failing). Still, it's an interesting take on the piece, and quite distinctive in a peculiar way. Another of the themes, "The Ark Theme", has a close relative in the finale music from The Abyss. Despite this sailing around the temp-track, it would be harsh to be all that hard on Debney, since there's probably enough other material here to compensate.
"Genesis 6:14" opens with more of the Horner stuff, but turns into an enjoyable action romp; and "Evan's Theme" is a pleasant if cheesy piano piece. Some of the later material with a large, heavenly choir added to the orchestra is truly huge. The problem is, this is all so generic, even if it didn't have the temp-track stuff, it would still all seem extremely familiar. Composers like Debney, Silvestri and David Newman can all score this sort of thing in their sleep, and somehow seem to have descended from their earlier careers into sounding pretty much the same as each other. Could I do a "blind tasting" of this album and tell you who composed the music? No way - it could be any of those three gentlemen, and probably some others too. I'd rather hear this type of generic than the Media Ventures type of generic (at least this is by someone who knows how to compose and orchestrate), but it's still all beginning to wear a little thin now. It's really hard to identify anything in this album which is going to make someone dislike it, but it's also sad that film music has become so unambitious. There's nothing particularly wrong here (apart from the irritating temp-track stuff) - and nothing outstanding either.