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Fine action score for comic-book comedy
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall.
Another twist on the superhero genre, Hancock sees Will Smith play a superhero that the public doesn't particularly like anymore - no doubt with hilarious results! He's joined by Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman in Peter Berg's film; Berg's last, The Kingdom, received a disappointing score by Danny Elfman, but this time he's teamed up with the very-busy John Powell, already on his fifth score of 2008. The good news is, it's easily his best of the year.
The album opens with "SUV Chase", which is pure dynamite - the exciting jazzy theme is reminiscent of Elmer Bernstein in his pomp (think Walk on the Wild Side in particular) - the modern sound is unmistakably Powell, but there's a slightly old-fashioned vibe about the underlying theme and it's great to hear. The rest of the score doesn't quite live up to that opening, but it's highly-enjoyable stuff. "Train Disaster" is the kind of action piece we have heard before from Powell, but he does it so well - and here, there is a much more live sound to it rather than the samples which usually dominate, and that adds an intriguing new tint to his music.
"The Trailer" introduces another new element, a gospel-like female vocal, which is another nice new twist - and which works very well. There's a sweet romantic theme too, with a French shade to it, heard most fully in "Getting Therapy" - charming and delightful. Aside from the opening cue, the score's highlights really come in the action music, and the pick is the tremendous six-minute "Hollywood Blvd", which is Powell at his very best - exciting, original, full of adrenaline - great stuff! The finale, "The Moon and the Superhero", is a great way to round things off, with an expansive theme making for a memorable climax (and is it me, or does the arrangement suggest Danny Elfman's Spiderman was probably the temp-track?) This is a fine album, the best from the composer since The Bourne Ultimatum, and it's good to hear him sound so fresh and revitalised after a few decent but slightly stale-sounding efforts.