CS Score! Reviews The Invisible Man Soundtrack
Welcome film score lovers to the first edition of CS Score!, where we break down all the latest news regarding film scores. This last week saw the release of The Invisible Man by Benjamin Wallifisch, plus, the release of John Williams’ complete score to Ron Howard ‘s 1992 epic Far and Away. Read on!
The Invisible Man
A majority of modern film music leaves a bitter aftertaste. While technology has undoubtably gotten better and paved the way for unique sounds, resulting in instant classics such as Tom Holkenberg’s Mad Max: Fury Road, contemporary film scores predictably drive the action onscreen but do little in the way of emotional gravitas.
With The Invisible Man, composer Benjamin Wallfisch, who hit pay dirt for his scores to It and It: Chapter Two, respectively, to say nothing of his terrific work on Blade Runner 2049 and Shazam!, uses a cacophony of electronic noises that serve to punctuate the action on screen. Clever sound design abounds, even one remarkably similar to those used to cue the villainous Prowler in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by Daniel Pemberton. Alas, as the Grinch would say, it’s all just noise, noise, noise! You’re better off pressing your ear against a McDonald’s drive-thru speaker — at least you’d get fries!
The Invisible Man lacks a proper theme to guide the music from A to B. And so, while the sound design adds plenty of atmospheric tension within the context of the film, the score as heard on the soundtrack album does little more than induce headaches. A soft piano interlude (reminiscent of James Horner’s Flightplan) appears occasionally to offer a slight reprieve from the chaos, but otherwise there simply is not enough material here to warrant praise.
And that’s too bad. For all the comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic films, The Invisible Man forgot to bring along one key element: the classic film score.
You can purchase The Invisible Man soundtrack at Amazon.
CLASSIC SCORE REVIEW
Far and Away – the Complete Score
Listen, Ron Howard’s sprawling 1992 epic Far and Away, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, is a mess from start to finish; albeit an enjoyable one. Elegant 70mm photography, a couple of decent performances, and a truly stunning land race sequence keep the film’s bloated runtime afloat, as does John Williams’ masterful score.
Luckily, La-La Land Records, in association with Universal Pictures, has released a limited remastered and expanded reissue of Far and Away, which you can check out here. This set, produced, edited and mastered by Mike Matessino, and supervised by Williams, presents the score as heard in the film; and comes with previously unreleased cues all of which total nearly two hours of music.
There’s a lot to love about this particular score, from the uillean pipes, pan flutes and penny whistles Williams uses to convey our protagonist’s Irish lineage, to the full-blown orchestral pieces he leans on for the big land run of 1893 that serves as the film’s big finale.
Tellingly, the primary theme for Far and Away remains one of my favorites from Williams’ sprawling collection of work. The theme is interwoven throughout the score, quietly at first before erupting during the climax.
Another track, titled Fighting for Dough, featuring The Chieftains, offers a muscular rendition of the Irish influences heard throughout the film.
Sandwiched in-between the equally revered Hook and the one-two punch of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, not to mention Home Alone and its sequel, Far and Away tends to get lost in the greatest-John-Williams-score debate, mainly due to the quality of the film itself. But make no mistake, this is one of the more robust, energetic and beautiful scores to come from Williams’ body of work.
As a side, the film was passed over for an Academy-Award nomination in favor of Aladdin, Basic Instinct, Chaplin, Howards End, and A River Runs Through It. Yeah, that makes me mad too.
FILM SCORE NEWS
Michael Giacchino officially signed on for Jurassic World: Dominion. There was never any doubt about this after he composed the first two films in the series.
Rob Simonsen, who composed the recent The Way Back and Stargirl, will handle the score for the anticipated Ghostbusters: Afterlife. I’m curious to see if he includes Elmer Bernstein’s score or goes in a more modern direction. Hopefully, it’s a little bit of both as the original Ghostbusters score remains a favorite of mine. The fact that it was brushed aside by Randy Edelman in Ghostbusters II remains one of the great film travesties. Ok, that’s probably a little over the top. But, yeah, even as a kid I was disappointed.
The always busy Hans Zimmer has also boarded Ron Howard’s film adaptation of the J.D. Vance novel Hillbilly Elegy. Meaning, the composer will be involved with seven films in 2020 — The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, No Time to Die, Wonder Woman 1984, Top Gun: Maverick, Dune, and now Hillbilly Elegy. That’s insane.