Visit the Movie Wave Store | Movie Wave Home | Reviews by Title | Reviews by Composer | Contact me
LAND OF THE LOST
Madcap comedy adventure score irritates more than it entertains
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2009 Universal Studios; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
A scientist and his assistant are thrown back in time to a world of dinosaurs and fantasy creatures in Land of the Lost, the latest movie from Brad Siberling, who made the Lemony Snicket film. It's a comedy (well, allegedly) with Will Ferrell and Anna Friel; and it's safe to say it didn't set either critics or the box office on fire. It's the second time in as many years that Michael Giacchino has scored a movie remake of a tv series I've never heard of (last year's was Speed Racer); in between, he scored a movie version of a tv series I have heard of, along with two other movies, two video games and two tv series. Does the guy sleep?
This is one of those scores that quite legitimately attempts only to serve its film - not its album. Comedy films often have scores like that, and this one flits between all sorts of different ideas - crashing adventure music (think of the monster stuff from Lost), banjo-led suspense music (yes, really) - everything but the kitchen sink, in truth. If you're in the right mood, it can be very entertaining; if not, very irritating. It must be very difficult to write this kind of busy, chameleonic music (perhaps why there are so many orchestrators listed).
In the film it doesn't really matter than all the different styles don't fit together that well; it's a bigger problem on the album, where the sudden shifts in tone are rather jarring. And I shall make my predictable comment, which is that at 60 minutes (and it feels much longer) the album just goes on too long. That's no real surprise - the art of producing a good soundtrack album seems to have deserted most people about a decade ago - hopefully some day someone will take the bold step of not just putting every single note on the album. This is, as I said, entertaining if you're in the right mood for a madcap score such as this; but very difficult to sit through if you're not.