Buncha comments

Join Judge Clark Douglas as he explores the musical side of film courtesy of the world's finest composers.

Buncha comments

Postby Carl Wonders » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:30 am

Hi Clark, finally catching up on several podcasts, so I figured I'd just put all my comments in one thread to save time (and in no particular order either...)

1. Avatar as your favorite score of 2009? Hmm...I had high expectations for it, and while I did enjoy it, I had some issues with it as well. I was really disheartened to hear "That Damn Four Note Motif" – you know, the one he's used in every film since Wrath of Khan in the first scene and then throughout the Destruction of Home Tree sequence. And while Horner has always written fine stuff, it's all becoming too homogenized for me (if that's the right word). He's almost another Miklos Rozsa -- no matter how much time, effort, and research he puts into a score, it still comes out sounding like James Horner Music™

2. Where did you get that suite of music from The Black Hole? I have the score, and I've never heard some of the more action-sounding pieces before. In fact, I don't even remember them being in the movie......

3. I'm not sure if you're putting it in the next New/Recent Releases podcast, but I was really happy to find out that John Williams' score for Black Sunday is finally available. It's one of my favorite earlier John Williams works, and it's a great example of progressively building themes throughout the movie (esp. with the theme he wrote for Robert Shaw's character). The movie wasn't bad either, though it's a little unsettling in how plausible it is right now....
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Re: Buncha comments

Postby cdouglas » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:11 am

1. See, I'm at the point where I just regard Horner's entire body of work as one epic tapestry, with scores and ideas weaving in and out of each other in a seamless manner to create a single magnificent musical thingum. Four-note motif? I don't even flinch any more. I would disagree with the music feeling homogenized, though... there's generic music to be heard everywhere these days; so many composers are basically interchangeable. Horner is one of the few left who still has a distinct voice and who writes as if he actually gives a damn about accentuating the emotions and subtext of a story.

2. The suite is from a German version of the soundtrack.

3. Yes, I was happy to hear about Black Sunday, too... a real holy grail for a lot of folks, myself included. You'll hear selections within the next few weeks.
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Re: Buncha comments

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:45 am

With regards to Horner in general, and Avatar in particular. Yeah, i'm one of the many who's accused Horner of recycling the same two scores over and over in the past, but i flat out love so much of his work (Willow, Braveheart, Aliens, Krull, Kahn, Mask of Zorro, The New World... and on) that it's extremely hard to slight the guy. Avatar is no exception, i thought it was incredible myself, though my personal pick for best of '09 was Zimmer's score for Sherlock Holmes, but yeah, Avatar was awesome.

ASIDE: If by "four note motif" you mean that sinister brass riff, i love it, and when i heard it in Avatar i nearly jumped out of my seat. Probably because it features so prominently in Willow.
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Re: Buncha comments

Postby Carl Wonders » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:58 am

Yeah I definitely had a "brain thesaurus" problem in my other post because I didn't mean to suggest Horner has become generic. I'm quite fond of his music, Avatar included. It's just become too easy to listen and say "oh, that sounds just like Titanic," or, "oh, that sounds just like Willow," (to point out two examples from Avatar). In no way does that keep me from buying his albums or enjoying his music, but it does make me more likely to appreciate something more original from another composer when it comes to awards and the like. Ebert made a good analogy in his review of Indy 4 when he said the films are like really good sausage. If you love sausage you'll always love it, but by the fourth helping something different might taste just a little better.

And yes, the four note motif is the one he used throughout Willow. It was a bit more tragic sounding in Avatar but it's still the same damn four notes ;)
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