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Pitiful score devoid of soul, intelligence, quality
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Warner Bros.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
Two years ago I wrote about Steve Jablonsky's score for Michael Bay's The Island that it was "as depressing and disheartening an album as a fan of film music could ever find" - sadly, the same composer/director team has now produced one which is even worse. I have offered (including on that occasion) my thoughts on the concept of Hans Zimmer's composer factory in the past and there seems little value in going over well-trodden ground yet again; if only the same thought had occured to Jablonsky at some stage during the production of this music.
It's the same old stuff - the attempted anthemic (but actually, more anaemic) main theme, the action music which is orchestrated so badly it makes real brass sound like a cheap keyboard, and so on; the only surprise is that instead of being one long Zimmer rip-off (Gladiator, Thin Red Line - the usual suspects) it finds time to rip off John Powell and Thomas Newman too. This is as cynical an exercise in film scoring as you could find - it may not technically just lift from the temp-track, but it sounds like what a computer program might produce if you fed in the temp-track and asked it to come out with something that sounds almost the same but wouldn't be enough to get you sued.
It goes without saying that it's intellectually-bereft - the days when intellectually-bereft films could still produce thrilling music are pretty much gone - but that it is so utterly without heart or feeling is worse. I know that the apologists will say "it's fun" or "it works in the film" - well, maybe that's true for some, but it it's about as much fun for me as having a grand piano dropped on my head (though at least that might be a little more musically satisfying). That leads to what depresses me more than anything - that this score was so hailed when the movie came out, there was such a clamour for it to be released on album, so many people genuinely thought it was brilliant. Am I truly so out-of-step? You can look at it and say that on the surface it's a bit like the Pirates of the Carribean scores, and that may be true, but there is none of their humour, none of their good tunes, and if anything this is even simpler stuff, aimed at the lowest common denominator and failing to reach even that high.If a few years ago you had told me that by 2007 I would be getting misty-eyed and waxing nostalgic about the time when we had big summer blockbusters getting scores like Armageddon or The Rock I'd have gone and lived in a cave or something so I didn't have to be around when it happened; but it has. This is truly hideous film music - lazy, derivative, utterly soulless, pretty much as bad as it gets. I do so hope we can break out of this awful cycle we're in at the moment for blockbuster scores and some of the more talented composers can get a bit more of the action; it's pretty demoralising at the moment.