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DAREDEVIL – Graeme Revell

February 14, 2003 Leave a comment Go to comments

daredevilOriginal Review by Peter Simons

In many ways, 2003 has become the year of the comic book revival, with movies inspired by characters including The Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and even The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen hitting cinema screen’s throughout the year. Stan Lee’s Daredevil is another to add to this list. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, whose previous movies include the syrupy drama Simon Birch, and whose screenplay credits include Jack Frost and the Grumpy Old men films, Daredevil tells the tale of attorney Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck), blinded by toxic waste as a child, whose lack of sight increases his remaining senses to such an extent that he find he has the ability to become a superhero and fight crime. Before long, Murdock finds himself up against New York’s number one crime lord The Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) and his newest apprentice Bullseye (Colin Farrell) – and crossing paths with the sexy, leather-clad Elektra (Jennifer Garner), who has an agenda of her own. A triumph of style and atmosphere over plot and performance, director Johnson said he wanted to make a movie similar to The Crow – which he lists as one of his favourite films – in both look and feel. Unsurprisingly, given this fact, he turned to Graeme Revell for the music.

To his credit, Revell resists the temptation of writing a score that sounds just like The Crow, but maintains the sense of brooding gloom by making Daredevil dark and atmospheric. There main theme that pops up at several occasions – notably in the first cue’ ‘Daredevil Theme’, the subsequent ‘Matt Becomes Daredevil’, and interpolated into the fabric of other cues later in the album – but in truth it’s not very memorable. Mood is the key element of this score. It’s mostly evoked through creepy string chords, spooky synth pads, nervously pounding techno beats, the occasional female vocal and plenty of bangs and chummies. It may work well in context, but it’s really not very original, and will not be remembered as one of Revell’s most interesting creations. Some tracks contain vocals that sound slightly reminiscent of Elliot Goldenthal’s Alien 3, while other cues contain a Thomas Newman-like piano (notably ‘Young Matt’s Father’).

It comes as somewhat of a surprise how low-key this score really is. Most of it is really soft, and you need to crank up the volume to hear anything. Revell does keep his music on the move by infusing percussion into almost every track – ethnic sounding in the ‘Daredevil Theme’, off the wall techno beats in ‘The Kingpin’. The main theme, where it occurs, provides some consistence and bursts of energy, and Revell tries to make up for the blandness of the sound with all all kinds of variations. ‘Matt Becomes Daredevil’ and ‘Blind Justice’ are two of the more interesting cues on the album, featuring reasonably strong renditions of the theme combined with some vintage Revell percussion. The theme for Elektra is charmingly quiet, but features some annoyingly fake vocal chants which undermine the rest of the score. Overall the album is actually quite well produced but the material is just not interesting enough to make a lasting impression.

The song album which was released a few weeks prior to Revell’s score fared much better, featuring new songs by a whole host of rock and metal artists such as Nickelback, Rob Zombie, Moby, and remix of Revell’s Daredevil theme by DJ Mike Einzinger. It also managed to spawn one of the biggest singles of the year, “Bring Me To Life” by goth rockers Evanescence, which remained number one in the UK charts for several weeks.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Daredevil Theme (4:39)
  • Young Matt’s Father (1:57)
  • Hell’s Kitchen (2:12)
  • Matt Becomes Daredevill (1:39)
  • The Kingpin (3:51)
  • The Darkest Hour (2:44)
  • Bullseye (2:44)
  • Elektra (4:15)
  • Mistaken Identity (2:50)
  • Nachio’s Assassination (1:11)
  • Elektra vs. Bullseye (2:55)
  • Blind Justice (2:09)
  • Church Battle (2:22)
  • Falling Rose (1:11)
  • The Necklace (3:19)

Running Time: 40 minutes 19 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6448 (2003)

Music composed by Graeme Revell. Conducted and orchestrated by Tim Simonec. Recorded and mixed by Mark Curry. Edited by Ashley Revell. Mastered by Erick Labson. Album produced by Graeme Revell.

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