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Archive for May, 2004

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW – Harald Kloser

May 28, 2004 Leave a comment

dayaftertomorrowOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

2004 has proved to be a year where several composers have been given their “shot at the big time”. Among these was Austrian composer Harald Kloser, best known to date for his occasional forays into the North American market on films such as The Thirteenth Floor and the critically acclaimed TV movies such as RFK and Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story. That he was hired to score The Day After Tomorrow was surprising in that no-one expected him to be scoring this high-profile a movie without achieving some kind of success beforehand. On the other hand, director Roland Emmerich has often gambled on young, relatively unknown composers before, with great effect – he is the man who ‘discovered’ David Arnold after all. Read more…

SHREK 2 – Harry Gregson-Williams

May 21, 2004 Leave a comment

shrek2Original Review by Peter Simons

Considering the enormous success of the original Shrek in 2001, there was never any doubt that a sequel would follow. Shrek was always going to be a tough act to follow, but somehow but the filmmakers succeeded – in fact, the results even outdo the first film. Shrek 2 has better animation, is a lot funnier, has Puss in Boots, and made a lot more money at the box office.  Most of the cast returned for this sequel, with Mike Myers doing the voice of the ogre Shrek, Eddie Murphy voicing Donkey and Cameron Diaz providing the voice for the Princess Fiona. New to the sequel are Antonio Banderas as the hilarious feline Puss in Boots, Jennifer Saunders as the Fairy Godmother and John Cleese and Julie Andrews as the King and Queen of Far Far Away. Read more…

TROY (REJECTED SCORE) – Gabriel Yared

May 15, 2004 Leave a comment

troyyaredOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Gabriel Yared began work on Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy during the first phases of production, in early 2003. He was certainly an unexpected choice to score a film of this type, having spent much of his Hollywood career scoring sentimental romantic dramas such as The English Patient, City of Angels, Message in a Bottle, Possession and Cold Mountain, and scoring them well. Nevertheless, Yared threw himself into the project, exploring ancient and modern musical techniques, integrating Bulgarian choirs and Macedonian soloists into his work, and much more besides. For over a year, Yared immersed himself in the music of Trojans and Spartans and Greeks, having been afforded the luxury of time, something not often given to film music composers these days. The score was recorded in February 2004, and everyone, from Wolfgang Petersen to the studio execs at Warner Brothers, loved Yared’s work. Then, the film was screened for a test audience in Sacramento, California, and everything changed. The focus group at the test decided Yared’s music was “overpowering and too big, old fashioned and dated the film” and, sensing potential trouble, Warner Brothers unceremoniously threw out Yared’s work. Overnight, a year’s worth of research and planning was discarded by a group of studio executives who believed that the Sacramento focus group had better taste in film music than a director of Petersen’s caliber, and a composer of Yared’s standing. Read more…

TROY – James Horner

May 14, 2004 Leave a comment

troyhornerOriginal Review by Peter Simons

In what was one of this years most upsetting events in film music, Gabriel Yared’s powerful score for Troy got rejected and was replaced by one from James Horner. After Yared had been fine-tuning his work for almost a year, it was suddenly up to Horner to write ‘something better’, i.e. something better fitting the studio’s wishes, in a mere two weeks. Such a task is nearly impossible and, needless to say, Horner’s work sounds less inspired and thought-through than Yared’s does. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good score. On the contrary, it’s a surprisingly fine effort featuring some of Horner’s most rousing material since Enemy at the Gates. One would just wish that the composer was given more time to explore and elaborate on his ideas. Read more…

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VAN HELSING: THE LONDON ASSIGNMENT – John van Tongeren

May 11, 2004 Leave a comment

vanhelsingthelondonassignmentOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the recent phenomenons in the world of motion pictures are straight-to-video animated spin-offs based on major feature films. Virtually every Disney animated classic has its own straight-to-video sequel, the recent Chronicles of Riddick has been given Dark Fury as a bridge-gap between it and the original Pitch Black, and the 2004 summer blockbuster Van Helsing has Van Helsing: The London Assignment. Essentially a prequel telling of Gabriel Van Helsing’s first encounter with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character who appears at the beginning of the cinematic film, it is directed by Sharon Bridgeman and features the voices of many of the same actors who played in the live-action movie, including Hugh Jackman, Robbie Coltrane and David Wenham. Read more…

VAN HELSING – Alan Silvestri

May 7, 2004 Leave a comment

vanhelsingOriginal Review by Peter Simons

We’ve said it several times now: 2004 was the year of big drums. Large percussion has dominated most of this year’s blockbusters, from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to King Arthur. Never one to buck a trend, Alan Silvestri was all too happy to jump on the bandwagon and deliver what may be the loudest score of the year: Van Helsing. Brass fanfares, chanting choruses and thundering drums dominate the score and its movie. What separates Silvestri from his lesser contemporaries is that, in spite of everything, he makes this kind of music sound good. As loud and overblown as it may be, the composer infuses the score with a textural richness and compositional quality that is quite rare these days. Read more…