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2012 – Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The disaster movie to end all disaster movies, 2012 is an apocalyptic action adventure directed by Roland Emmerich who, not content with destroying New York twice in Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow, or destroying most of the United States in Independence Day, has now gone one better and destroyed the entire world. The film is based on the old legend of the highly accurate calendars created by the ancient Mayan civilization which ‘ran out’ in the year 2012, causing some to believe that they predicted the end of the world, and stars John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Oliver Platt as the men and women caught up in the global cataclysm.

2012 marks the second instance of composer Harald Kloser also being responsible for the film’s screenplay after his debut work 10, 000 BC last year. Naturally, he also writes the film’s score, with assistance from his regular collaborator, fellow Austrian Thomas Wander (who changed his surname from Wanker, for obvious reasons). Given the nature of the film, one would expect 2012 to be a monumental, apocalyptic action score of the highest order. In fact the right raw materials are in place – large orchestra, choir, appropriate electronic enhancements, large cinematic canvas on which to paint – but it’s actually an enormous disappointment.

The problem with 2012 is the sheer lack of imagination; it’s just so predictable and so characterless as to be stupefying. It wants to be heroic, wants to be stirring, wants to be epic, but ends up sounding like a bad parody of itself. It’s patriotic wallpaper covering the cracks in the film, hoping no-one will notice how bland it is, because it’s loud and fast and tonally pleasant and manages to find the chord progressions that push the right emotional buttons of the audience. Even the action cues – “Spirit of Santa Monica”, “Run Daddy Run”, “Leaving Las Vegas”, “Saving Caesar” and others – which are normally a mainstay of scores like this seem by-the-numbers, as of they were written by a piece of software called EpikSkore101 rather than a living, breathing composer.

To be fair, some of the cues do contain some attractive (if, again, staggeringly generic) moments, notably the choral parts of “Ashes in D.C.”, “Nampan Plateau”, “Open the Gates” or “2012: The End of the World”, but these moments are few and far between. Ironically, the most entertaining track on the album is actually the superb modern rock song “Time for Miracles”, written by former Eleven members Alain Johannes and the late Natasha Shneider, and performed by American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert. If that doesn’t tell you something, nothing does.

Rating: **

Track Listing:

  • Time for Miracles (performed by Adam Lambert) (4:43)
  • Constellation (1:30)
  • Wisconsin (1:14)
  • U.S. Army (2:20)
  • Ready to Rumble (1:42)
  • Spirit of Santa Monica (1:21)
  • It Ain’t the End of the World (performed by George Segal and Blu Mankuma) (2:52)
  • Great Kid (2:17)
  • Finding Charlie (1:45)
  • Run Daddy Run (1:14)
  • Stepping Into the Darkness (1:35)
  • Leaving Las Vegas (1:44)
  • Ashes in D.C. (4:19)
  • We Are Taking the Bentley (3:43)
  • Nampan Plateau (2:51)
  • Saving Caesar (2:09)
  • Adrian’s Speech (1:42)
  • Open the Gates! (2:16)
  • The Impact (1:49)
  • Suicide Mission (2:06)
  • 2012: The End of the World (1:24)
  • Collision with Mount Everest (1:09)
  • The End is Only the Beginning (5:44)
  • Fades Like a Photograph (performed by Filter) (4:19)

Running Time: 57 minutes 48 seconds

RCA Records 88697-61243-2 (2010)

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