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*** 1/2

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VCL 0803 1022

Artwork copyright (c) 1986 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2003 James Southall



Jungle fever

So, after years of waiting for film music fans, 2003 finally saw the first official release of Alan Silvestri's score for Predator, 16 years after the movie came out.  Fans of the film and the composer had been crying out for a release for so long, it had begun to seem like it would never happen, but (as seems to be the case more often than not) Robert Townson and the Varese Sarabande CD Club were on hand to deliver the goods and so producer Nick Redman embarked on another of his restoration projects to make the release actually happen.

Just as Arnold Schwarzenegger was going through probably the most successful phase of his career when he made Predator, so too composer Silvestri was riding the crest of a wave, having just recently burst onto the film music scene with Romancing the Stone and Back to the Future.  Despite the fact that (in common with those other two movies) there was no proper release of the score at the time, Silvestri was certainly making a big name for himself and forging the successful career that continues today.

One word I would use to describe Silvestri's music for Predator is "organic", which seems wholly-appropriate for a movie set in a jungle.  It all flows very well together and, unlike the majority of score albums released that run this long, it doesn't particularly begin to drag and there aren't many cues that seem redundant - everything is contributing towards the whole without necessarily standing out by itself.  I suppose the overall mood is pretty much the standard horror movie mix of impending doom alternating with the occasional burst of action.  The balance though is overwhelmingly tilted towards the former, with action music being surprisingly thin on the ground, at least until the end.

The tension-filled suspense music is very good, frequently featuring rumbling brass with shimmering high-end strings that counterbalance each other very well.  Inevitably, there are a few devices carried over from Jerry Goldsmith's classic Alien (now there's a score demanding a Deluxe Edition) but much of the overall mood is pretty impressively original stuff.  There's surprisingly little "jungle music" with percussion and so on, though a few tracks (notably "Jungle Trek") do rather seem like precursors to John Williams's The Lost World.  The action music when it comes is worth waiting for, though most of it is in a rather "stop-start" style as opposed to the frenetic stuff you might be hoping for.

Whether the score was quite worth all the hype it received I'm not sure, and equally I'm not entirely sure where I would rank this overall in Silvestri's "scoreography".  It doesn't have the standout moments of later scores like Judge Dredd or The Mummy Returns but works considerably better as a listen simply because it doesn't force the same damn theme down your throat every couple of minutes.  But on the other hand, unlike most of Silvestri's best efforts, there really isn't a standout kick-ass theme.  So a slightly unusual one to judge, this, but surely worth it for Silvestri fans. 


  1. Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare (:27)
  2. Main Title (3:51)
  3. Something Else (3:34)
  4. Cut 'Em Down (1:48)
  5. Payback Time (2:09)
  6. The Truck (4:22)
  7. Jungle Trek (1:47)
  8. The Girl's Escape (6:00)
  9. Blaine's Death (2:47)
  10. He's My Friend (1:26)
  11. We're All Gonna Die (3:32)
  12. Building a Trap (3:02)
  13. The Waiting (3:27)
  14. The Hunt is On (4:51)
  15. Dillon is Disarmed (2:07)
  16. Billy Stands A|lone (2:34)
  17. Battle Plans (9:24)
  18. Wounded Predator (4:14)
  19. Hand to Hand Combat (3:12)
  20. Predator's Big Finish (3:42)
  21. The Rescue / End Credits (4:44)