Release date: 13th June 2011
Running time: 50:17 minutes
Composer: James Newton Howard
While the movie might not have gone down as well with critics and fans alike as Warner Brothers might have hoped, the score by James Newton Howard was something I thought I would enjoy as much as I’ve enjoyed his previous scores for films like Signs (2002) and Gnomeo & Juliet (2011).
Howard, who also worked on the other Warner Bros/DC Comics based films Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) with Hans Zimmer has composed a score for our gummy green superhero that’s carried out with an almost military-like precision.
“Prologue/Parallax Unbound” kicks things off with a percussive arrangement and strings that lets us know straight away that we’re entering superhero territory here. Howard continues to build tension, pace and expectation with the next tracks “Abin Sur Attacked” and “Drone Dogfight”.
He brings it down a few notches with the more light-hearted motifs in “Did Adam Put You Up To This?”, “The Ring Choose Hal” and “Genesis Of Good And Evil”, with the latter being very evocative at times of the infamous Superman (1978) theme by John Williams, the pinnacle of all superhero movie themes.
Howard, whose scores over the years have been as many as they’ve been varied, delivers a contemporary score here, one that’s driven by percussion more than it is by melody or arrangement. What little orchestration there is becomes overshadowed by the electronic elements and percussion which seems both unnecessary and overblown.
As a result, the score not as timeless or emotionally driven as his other work on The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002), The Lady In The Water (2006), Hidalgo (2004) or Water For Elephants (2011). It’s more adrenalin fuelled, which I can understand for such a film and given its target audience, but it really lacks heart and soul.
We miss those classical elements which when you listen to them you can always tell “Ah, that’s a Newton Howard score”. The closest we get to that is with “We’re Going To Fly Now” but its marred by elements which make it sound more like a remix than an original piece.
As a stand-alone score it’s not easily listenable as the music here are the actual cues for action scenes, battles and flight sequences rather than character themes. “Run” is possibly the piece I enjoyed the most, with its slight hints of grandeur and mystery I remember from the masterpiece that was Dreamcatcher (2003), although it never reaches those heights.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .