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Anthemic action score is a piece of disposable fun
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 1996 Universal Studios; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall.
Jan de Bont's follow-up to his popular Speed was the wretched Twister, a pathetic film about a group of people who go around seeking tornadoes (for no apparent reason) - and a rival group of people who also go around seeking tornadoes (for no apparent reason) - and of course the two groups detest each other (for no apparent reason). Naturally, the good guys are all scruffy and have crap equipment while the bad guys have slicked-back hair and millions of dollars to throw around - but it's the good guys who always get there first. Yippee! For reasons which escape me, I've watched the film twice, but still have absolutely no idea what the point of it is - unless the point is to just showcase the special effects, some of which are reasonably special while some are not. I can't believe the screenplay is by Michael Crichton, who usually has such a keen sense for what makes good cinema.
Anyway, after their collaboration on Speed, de Bont invited Mark Mancina back to score this one. Mancina's music is highly enjoyable - of course, it's got a Media Ventures sound to it, but Mancina's own stamp is on it - it seems that he was actually allowed to show a little musical personality of his own (unless this one just somehow escaped under the net). Trevor Rabin's on hand playing his guitar (his own career as a film composer would begin the same year as Twister was released), and I guess the score is a bit like the best of Rabin's action work - ultimately hollow and inconsequential, but great fun.
The album is divided into a few long suites, which play continually but are oddly then split into different tracks for no apparent reason, and this allows a surprising amount of extended musical ideas for a Media Ventures score. The folksy feel of the opening tracks actually reminds me of James Horner's The Perfect Storm (which was composed some time later), and is certainly the highlight of the album. The next section sees the action music arrive in earnest, and while the choral sections do seem a little too much, there's no denying that they make for nice easy-listening music. It's a shame about the brass (I ask again - how do they make it sound so awful over there at Media Ventures / Remote Control?) but it's still good fun.
The main theme is that folksy piece, but there's also an action anthem which is pure Zimmer in the way it sounds (think The Rock), first heard in "Cow". I actually wish that, given it seems compulsory that virtually all big films have to be scored by Zimmer's underlings, they still wrote the scores like this. They might not need an IQ in double figures to enjoy, but at least they have melody and are a bit of fun. The lengthy end titles, which builds up to Van Halen's "Respect the Wind", is a nice way of rounding off an enjoyable album. It's not worth the big bucks it commands at the moment, but if you see if for cheap enough and are a sucker for disposable Zimmer-style action music, this is probably the best of the bunch apart from those by the big man himself.