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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Gregson-Williams’

MULAN – Harry Gregson-Williams

September 11, 2020 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest Walt Disney animated film to be re-imagined as a live action motion picture is Mulan, directed by Niki Caro and written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin. Like its 1998 predecessor, it is loosely based on the Chinese folklore tale The Ballad of Mulan, and stars Chinese actress Yifei Liu in the title role. In Imperial China, Mongol hordes led by the warlord Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee) and the witch Xianniang (Gong Li) are invading the borders of the empire, leading the Emperor (Jet Li) to call for conscripts – one man from each family – to bolster his troops. Despite being the eldest child in her family, Mulan is forbidden from joining the army due to her being female; her war veteran father, despite being old and frail, volunteers to represent his family instead. To save her father from almost certain death in battle, Mulan disguises herself as a man and enlists, eventually joining the platoon of Commander Tung (Donnie Yen). Despite having very little training, Mulan is soon thrust into conflict with Böri Khan’s troops, and must fight to save her homeland – without revealing her gender, or bringing dishonor to her family. Read more…

EARLY MAN – Harry Gregson-Williams and Tom Howe

March 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

British film studio Aardman have been producing high quality, massively popular stop-motion animated films for more than 30 years, including the four Wallace and Gromit shorts, the Oscar-winning big screen W&G adventure The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and the brilliant Chicken Run, which remains the highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time. Their latest effort is Early Man, directed by Nick Park, and featuring a stellar voice cast including Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddlestone, Timothy Spall, and Game of Thrones’s Maisie Williams. The story follows a tribe of Stone Age cavemen, led by the amiable Dug, whose valley is threatened by an invading army led by the greedy Bronze Age aristocrat Lord Nooth, who wants to mine the valley for its minerals. With the help of a Bronze Age girl named Goona, Dug convinces Nooth to take part in a winner-takes-all game of soccer, with the fate of the valley at stake. Read more…

THE MARTIAN – Harry Gregson-Williams

October 9, 2015 3 comments

themartianOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ridley Scott has been in something of a career slump of late. The once-revered director of classics like Alien, Blade Runner, and, more recently, Gladiator, did not receive many good reviews for his last few films, which have included Prometheus, The Counselor, and Exodus: Gods and Kings. His new film, The Martian, may set things back in the right direction. Based on the acclaimed debut novel by Andy Weir, the film is a space adventure that plays as a cross between Castaway, Gravity, and Apollo 13; it stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut on the latest successful NASA mission to make a manned trip to Mars. Unfortunately disaster strikes and the other members of his team – including Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, and Michael Peña – are forced to blast off the planet, leaving Mark behind, presumed dead. NASA officials Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kristin Wiig, and Chiwetel Ejiofor announce Mark’s death to a shocked world – but, back on Mars, Mark has somehow survived the accident, and is now faced with a terrible double dilemma: how to survive on Mars with dwindling food and water supplies, and how to contact Earth so that they can come and rescue him. The film is a superb combination of high action-adventure and intelligent application of real science, and will surely appeal to those with any interest in the realities of space exploration and the possibilities and problems it holds for those bold enough to do it. The film is anchored by Matt Damon’s excellent lead performance as Watney, which is at times surprisingly funny as he muses ironically at his situation and the bizarre things he has to do to survive, and is at other times spectacularly beautiful, taking every possible opportunity to present the barren Martian landscapes in all their austere glory. Read more…

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS – Alberto Iglesias

December 14, 2014 5 comments

exodusgodsandkingsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ridley Scott’s epic version of the biblical exodus story, Exodus: Gods and Kings, is lavish film making on an enormous scale. Based on the tale of Moses and his efforts to liberate the people of Israel from slavery under an Egyptian pharaoh, it stars Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as the pharaoh Ramses, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley. Scott’s version is more rooted in historical realism than Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, but the film still covers all the major bases of the story: Moses and Ramses growing up together as brothers, the burning bush through which Moses communicates with God, the plagues which attack Egypt when Ramses refuses to free the slaves, the parting of the Red Sea, and the writing of the Ten Commandments. Visually, the film is a triumph, depicting the glory and opulence of ancient Egyptian civilization in majestic detail, but dramatically the story flounders occasionally, and some great actors – especially Paul, Weaver, and Tara Fitzgerald – are woefully underused. Read more…

THE EQUALIZER – Harry Gregson-Williams

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

equalizerOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A gritty big-screen reboot of the popular Edward Woodward TV series from the 1980s, The Equalizer stars Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a mysterious loner with a hidden past, who works in a Home Depot-like hardware store by day, and spends his evenings reading classic literature alone in a 24 hour diner. At the diner McCall befriends Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage prostitute who longs to get out of the lifestyle, and who connects with McCall over the book The Old Man and the Sea. One day, after Teri is attacked and badly beaten by her pimp, McCall takes matters into his own hands and tries to bargain for her freedom with the gangsters who own her; unfortunately, things do not go as planned, and before long McCall is locking horns with members of the Russian mafia, and their dangerous leader, Teddy (Marton Csokas). The film is a dark, violent, but surprisingly engaging tale of vengeance and retribution; it is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and has an original score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Read more…

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 – Harry Gregson-Williams

June 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A remake of the classic 1974 film of the same name, The Taking of Pelham 123 is a taut thriller about a gang of criminals led by mastermind Ryder (John Travolta), who hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom. However, Ryder doesn’t count on coming into contact with subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), whose normal work day suddenly turns into a battle of wits. The film was directed by Tony Scott, co-stars Luis Guzman, John Turturro and James Gandolfini, and has an original score by Scott’s composer of choice Harry Gregson-Williams.

Whereas the original Pelham 123 has a groundbreaking jazz score from David Shire, Gregson-Williams version is a fairly straightforward modern thriller score; orchestra, grungy electronics and urban rhythms Read more…

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE – Harry Gregson-Williams

May 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The first of several movies intended to reveal the origins of different X-Men characters – and which are, in effect, prequels to the enormously popular X-Men franchise – Wolverine is an action/adventure which follows the fortunes of James Logan (Hugh Jackman), born in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800s with mutant powers of regeneration; along with his half-brother Victor (Liev Schreiber), Logan fights in the American Civil War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam, using his powers to stay alive, until he is approached by US Army Major William Stryker, who has recognized Logan and Victor’s abilities, and wants them to join his elite mutant commando group. However, Logan quickly realizes that his powers are being exploited, and deserts his Unit, hiding in a remote part of Canada with his girlfriend Kayla; unfortunately for Logan, he soon learns that his past won’t leave him alone. Read more…

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN – Harry Gregson-Williams

May 16, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second installment of the new Chronicles of Narrnia trilogy, based on the classic novels by C.S Lewis, Prince Caspian sees the four Pevensie children returning to Narnia, only to find that over 1,000 years have passed since their last visit, and that magical kingdom is now under the control of an evil king, Miraz. Teaming up once more with Aslan the lion, and a host of wild and wonderful creatures, the children attempt to overthrow Miraz and restore the rightful ruler – Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) – to the throne.

The film is more expansive, and significantly darker than its predecessor, The Lion the Witch and Wardrobe, and this shift in tone is also reflected in Harry Gregson-Williams’ score. Read more…

GONE BABY GONE – Harry Gregson-Williams

October 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the beginning, around the time of Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck was seen to be one of the brightest young stars in Hollywood. He put in a scintillating supporting performance in that film, won an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay with his childhood friend Matt Damon, and looked to be well on his way to becoming one of the young leading lights of the film industry. However, while the box office takings remained high, the critical acclaim for Affleck quickly vanished: his unfortunate performances in movies like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Daredevil and Gigli made people forget just what a talented individual he really is. It’s interesting that, with Gone Baby Gone, he’s gone some way to getting some of that acclaim back. Read more…

SHREK THE THIRD – Harry Gregson-Williams

May 18, 2007 1 comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

In this reviewer’s humble opinion, the “Shrek” franchise had just about run it’s course after the second movie… but because nobody asked my opinion, they went ahead and made a third one, and a fourth is in the works. I was a fan of the original “Shrek” score, written by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell. It featured some genuinely delightful themes and a lot of creative energy. For the second film, Gregson-Williams went solo, and turned in a fairly uninspired effort that merely repeated everything from the first score in a generally less energetic manner. Read more…

THE NUMBER 23 – Harry Gregson-Williams

February 23, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m always excited when Jim Carrey plays is straight, having witnessed his superb performances in films like The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and The Majestic; however, his run of dramatic successes had to end eventually – and end it did, with director Joel Schumacher’s paranoiac thriller The Number 23. Carrey plays oridinary family man Walter Sparrow, a dog catcher for the Department of Animal Control, with a loving wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen), and a teenage. However, after Agatha buys an odd novel with the central premise concerning the number 23 as a birthday gift for Walter, his life quickly unravels: he becomes obsessed with the story, believing the mystery about the number 23 to be true, and finding many coincidences and parallels between the book and his own life. Read more…

DÉJÀ VU – Harry Gregson-Williams

November 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

I’ve always wondered why so many critics and media personalities have tried to pin everything that is bad about Hollywood on Tony Scott. There are plenty of no-talent hacks working in the world of film today, but Scott simply isn’t one of them. He is a director who, without fail, turns in a reasonably intriguing popcorn film with slick production values and a high watchability factor. Has he inspired the so-called “MTV Movie” style of filmmaking, full of innumerable cuts and jerky camera work? Possibly, but when Scott himself is at the helm, it works. However, his recent films have simply been too much for some people, with all the insanely wild visual ideas he lathered over “Man on Fire” and “Domino”. Many people felt Scott needed to be reigned in a bit, to return to a slightly less hyper form. Who is the man to help guide Scott in this matter? Why, none other than Jerry Bruckheimer, of course! Laugh if you want, but it seems that Bruckheimer has helped Scott shape a reasonably-paced, smarter, sharper, more intelligent film than we’ve been seeing in recent years with “Déjà Vu”. Does it have the remarkable energy of “Domino” or the violent-religious-parable intrigue of “Man of Fire”? No, but it’s a better film than both of those, easily his strongest work since “Crimson Tide”. Read more…

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE – Harry Gregson-Williams

December 9, 2005 1 comment

lionthewitchandthewardrobeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A beloved children’s fantasy for generations, C.S. Lewis’s tales The Chronicles of Narnia have been made into radio plays, audio books, and even an acclaimed mini-series made for British TV in 1988, but never before for the big screen. Walt Disney, Walden Media and Shrek director Andrew Adamson have finally managed to right this wrong, with this lavish setting of the first part of the seven-book series, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The story follows the adventures of the Pevensie children – Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) – who, having been evacuated from London at the height of World War II, are sent to the English countryside to live with their eccentric uncle, Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent). While playing hide and seek in the house one day, the children accidentally discover a doorway at the back of an old wardrobe, which transports them to a magical kingdom called Narnia, which is ruled by an evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton), and is in a perpetual state of winter. Read more…

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN – Harry Gregson-Williams

May 6, 2005 Leave a comment

kingdomofheavenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

As the first “major” epic of 2005, much was expected of director Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, a would-be sweeping tale of love and honor during the time of the Crusades. Orlando Bloom plays Balian, a young blacksmith in 11th century France who is in mourning having recently buried his wife and child. Into his life during this dark period comes Baron Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), Balian’s estranged father, who has decided to make himself known to his only son. Having agreed to make a journey to Jerusalem to atone for his sins, and having finally made his peace with his with father, a battle on the road to Messina leaves Godfrey mortally wounded. As the new Baron of Ibelin, Balian arrives in Jerusalem allied to the leper king, Baldwin IV (Edward Norton), and the Lord Marshall, Tiberias (Jeremy  Irons), and quickly makes an enemy in the shape of Templar knight Guy de Lusignan (Marton Csokas) – a rift made greater when Balian has an affair with Guy’s wife, Sibylla (Eva Green). Meanwhile, in the lands surrounding the Holy City, the Arab leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud) is massing an army of 200,000 men to take back Jerusalem from the Christians who have occupied it for 100 years. Read more…

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE – Harry Gregson-Williams, Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman

October 15, 2004 1 comment

teamamericaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In this post-9/11 world, where the threat of global terrorism looms overhead, where the fate of the people of Iraq hangs in the balance, and where political correctness in relation to sensitive subjects has reached fever pitch, thank God that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are around to bring everything back into perspective. The irreverent duo, who inject more intelligent humor into a single episode of South Park than most comedies can manage in a decade, have turned their satirical attention to the world of the American action movies and George W. Bush’s foreign policy with Team America: World Police. Read more…