Avatar’s score, and is it lame to have a musical signature?

Damn this week went fast. I finished my first draft of my chamber orchestra piece at high noon today, and I’m not going to touch it again until after the new year when I’ve had a chance to go over it with my mentor.

So I’ve just been bumming around my house doing random things that I’ve been putting off. Playing some drums, video games, magazine reading, and listening to some new music… Horner’s score for Avatar to be exact.

I haven’t seen the movie yet (and won’t for another week) but I have listened to the soundtrack and I must say that it isn’t quite up to what I was hoping for, at least as stand alone music goes. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great moments that are pretty wonderful, but overall, the score seems a lot more atmospheric in nature, which isn’t surprising in that Horner is creating a whole world. But even though the music is sweeping and grand, it isn’t war epic. It’s more native and earthy… which I get, because of the nature of the alien race. Even during the cues where you know crazy bad things are happening the music isn’t really dark… just sortof grayish in its tone. With all this, I don’t hate it, but it isn’t on my new favorites list.

Upon first listen, I wasn’t surprised to find that Horner had used his danger leitmotif a few times throughout the score… you know, ti do ra do. Nor did it surprise me that main theme reminded of another movie that these two industry behemoths (Horner, Cameron) had done, Titanic. The theme from the boat movie was 50% there, but that’s fine… if it’ll make everyone’s minds take them to that movie that was so beloved it shattered box office records, that isn’t a bad thing.

Another movie I was reminded of while listening to the cue ‘Becoming one of “The People” Becoming one with Neytiri’ was the love scene from Braveheart. I like this though, and I think it will really get the mood of the scene across nicely.

Overall, there is a lot less brass in this score than I assumed there would be. In it’s place Horner uses a few different ethnic instruments including percussion, and a lot of choral work to represent the indigenous race of the world of Avatar.

I am not disappointed by this score, but I am very unhappy about the use of pan pipe. I don’t know why, but I definitely don’t like that instrument. I didn’t like it in LOTR: ROTK and I don’t like it here. Trust me when I say that the atmosphere of the world is complete… even without the stupid pan pipes.

In other movie world news (this has two meanings)… apparently this dude was hired by Sam Raimi’s production company for the popularity of his video on Youtube. Way to go man! Come on Stromenger… let’s do this. I’m behind you all the way.

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One response to “Avatar’s score, and is it lame to have a musical signature?

  1. Am going to see Avatar in about an hour…will listen to how the score works with the movie. Have never been a big fan of Horner’s tendency to lift from himself (sometimes in huge, exact chunks) so I expect to hear some familiar cues. And I’m working as fast as I can, sir. 🙂 I’ve actually been in contact with a guy who has a pretty popular youtube thing going on…he’s semi-local and if I can work the schedule just right, I might be casting him in Curtain Call… but will not get specific until I know for sure. All I know is that if we can tap into his online base, we could get some good exposure. OK. Back to movies and script writing!!

    Like

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