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Enjoyably daft score for Bruckheimer action film
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2004 The Walt Disney Company; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall.
At the time it seemed that National Treasure was a slightly desperate cash-in on the success of The Da Vinci Code in the period in between the book becoming a phenomenon and the film being released. But when that film did get released, it was so bad that it's only fair to reappraise National Treasure, which is far superior on every level. For my mind there are few more irritating traits for a senseless blockbuster than when they try to be extremely sincere and are overly self-important - something which ran throughout The Da Vinci Code but is completely absent from National Treasure, whose only objective is to entertain - and it certainly manages that.
It doesn't take a whole load of imagination to work out what the music for a Jerry Bruckheimer action blockbuster is going to sound like - you just have to listen to the music from any of the others. Trevor Rabin is one of his favourite composers, and he was hired here, and provided one of his most entertaining scores. He is frequently at pains to point out that he was never actually part of Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures, but it's not hard to imagine why so many people make that mistake - if you've ever heard The Rock or The Peacemaker, it certainly isn't a huge leap to get from those to here. But (and I never thought the day would come when I found myself saying this), actually Rabin's music is far more appealing than more recent efforts by Zimmer's real underlings - with the good tunes and sense of fun, this is music which recalls the early days of Zimmer's factory and not the abominable recent travesties like The Island or Iron Man.
There's a great adventure theme (heard in the opening track), a sweeping theme for the treasure and its main hunter (played by Nicolas Cage) and even a Thomas Newman-style ditty which is frequently used to represent the historical monuments the film passes through (the film was, rather improbably, temped with American Beauty, as the DVD reveals!) This is undemanding and predictable, but damn it - it's fun! Sometimes, that's all that really matters. I guess it is similar enough to previous Rabin (and Zimmer) scores that perhaps some people may object to buying something which is essentially just an extension of something they have already bought, but I'm sure there will be many, particularly younger, listeners who would derive a great deal of pleasure from this. It's the sort of thing that I am supposed to rubbish and turn my nose up at, but I can't bring myself to do it. The ultimate guilty pleasure.