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Enjoyable if slightly hollow action score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
How to ensure I will never see a film - give it a plot outline like this: "Stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze gives up his soul to become a hellblazing vigilante, to fight against power hungry Blackheart, the son of the devil himself." Now it seems that films aren't just being targeted at pre-teen boys, they're being written by them as well. Nicolas Cage, you should know better. Actually, maybe he does know better - I'm sure Ghost Rider will make a fortune, and everyone will go away happy.
One group who will probably be happy are fans of composer Christopher Young, scoring his first big action movie since 2003's The Core (and what a score he gave to that!) This time around, his large orchestral forces are joined by electric guitar for a more grungy feel. The opening track presents the main theme which, while simplistic, is decent enough; but I'm not sure the integration of the rock elements with the orchestra is all it could be (it feels like there's a gaping hole somewhere in the sound, which needs filling). Young was probably going for something like Elliot Goldenthal's brilliant "Bullet Frenzy" from SWAT, but he doesn't quite get there.
Fortunately, the next big action track, "Artistry in Death", is more impressive. This time, the more florid orchestration from The Core makes a welcome comeback (complete with choir) and the whole thing seems to work a lot better. This is followed by a rare tender moment, in the amusingly-titled "A Thing for Karen Carpenter", which is a lovely little interlude. Of course, it's the action which dominates, and this is generally excellent - the slight sense of something missing which I mentioned is not unique to the opening title, but then at other times Young is so outlandish with his orchestrations, and the music is performed and recorded with such vigour and flair, it's just a joy to behold. One undoubted highlight is the mariachi / Morricone homage "San Venganza".
High art it most certainly ain't, but there's some fine stuff here - however, very unusually for Young, I must admit there is a slightly hollow feeling occasionally, and when the electric guitars are in town for extended periods it can all become a little bit too much. There's certainly enough to recommend it - especially to Young fans who've been waiting for him to write one of these scores for a few years - but it's not quite on the level of things which it is similar to, such as the Hellraiser scores or The Core, the latter of which scores more points because - even though the album is even longer - there is so much variety it remains more interesting throughout.