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DEEP BLUE SEA – Trevor Rabin

deepblueseaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ever since Jaws, the concept of the “killer shark” has been the staple of many thrillers, from the original’s three sequels to watery mimics such as Leviathan, Deep Star 6, Deep Rising and other films beginning with the word deep. Unlike its predecessors, Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea returns to more familiar, more terrifying territory by making the villains of the piece a couple of Mako sharks instead of nasty alien crustaceans, and is a better and more believable film because of it. Starring Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane and Samuel L. Jackson, the film is a generally straightforward action thriller set on a Pacific Ocean research installation, where a team of scientists are conducting experiments on the aforementioned sharks in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When a storm hits the station and all power is lost, the sharks – which have become more intelligent as a result of the experiments – escape from their pens. All hell, as they say, breaks loose.

Unlike Jaws, which boasted a legendary John Williams score, Deep Blue Sea has a rather ho-hum effort from Trevor Rabin which, despite some good moments, never really makes an impression. Since his success with Armageddon, former Yes guitarist Rabin has become an action composer extraordinaire, with titles such as Enemy of the State under his belt. Deep Blue Sea, however, suffers in comparison with his earlier efforts, and despite sound appropriate when accompanying the films, comes across as being far too loud and cacophonous for its own good on disc.

‘Aftermath’, the first cue on the disc, is actually the final cue in the film, and is by far the best track on the lot. Rabin’s theme is a heroic string and synth affair in the true Armageddon fashion, augmented by a subtle guitar solo half way through. When the choir entered for the first time in the third, grandest recapitulation, my back got chills. Unfortunately, it’s all pretty much downhill from there as, with the exception of the quietly attractive ‘Susan Softens’ and the eerie, whalesong-inspired ‘Hunting In Packs’, the rest of the disc is taken up by Rabin’s brand of riotous action music.

When heard with the film, Rabin’s combined forces of orchestra, chorus and electronics give many of the action scenes a real power, effectively accompanying and enhancing the sense of terror in the fearful shark attack sequences. For almost 22 solid minutes, Rabin assaults the eardrums of the listener with cue after cue after cue of driving, pumping, dissonant action music which, although intelligently structured and undeniably rousing, does begin to wear you down after a while. Some of the tracks, notably ‘Journey’, ‘Experiment’ and ‘Anarchy’, do occasionally emerge from the battery into a huge choral crescendo, and in these instants the score is very good, but, on the whole, it is the consistent lack of a real thematic element and the overbearing, chaotic nature of the music in general that makes Deep Blue Sea just a little unpalatable.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Aftermath (2:47)
  • Susan Softens (2:25)
  • Journey (4:46)
  • Main (3:05)
  • Hunting In Packs (1:43)
  • Experiment (4:27)
  • Jim Returns (1:19)
  • Shark Side (4:27)
  • Anarchy (4:24)
  • Doctor’s Orders (0:34)

Running Time: 30 minutes 13 seconds

Varése Sarabande VSD-6063 (1999)

Music composed by Trevor Rabin. Conducted by Gordon Goodwin. Orchestrations by Gordon Goodwin, Steve Haltzman, Trevor Rabin and Tim Caldero. LA Master Chorale conducted by Paul Salamunovich. Recorded and mixed by Steve Kempster. Edited by Will Kaplan. Album produced by Trevor Rabin, Paul Linford and Steve Kempster.

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