BEOWULF
Music composed by Alan Silvestri
Label: Warner Bros./WEA Records
Catalog: 372924

Year: 2007
Tracks:

1. Beowulf Main Title
2. First Grendel Attack
3. Gently As She Goes (Robin Penn-Wright)
4. What We Need Is A Hero
5. I'm Here To Kill Your Monster
6. I Did Not Win The Race
7. A Hero Comes Home (Robin Penn-Wright)
8. Second Grendel Attack
9. I Am Beowulf
10. The Seduction
11. King Beowulf
12. He Has A Story To Tell
13. Full Of Fine Promises
14. Beowulf Slays The Beast
15. He Was The Best Of Us
16. The Final Seduction
17. A Hero Comes Home (End Credits Version) (Idina Menzel)


Total Time: 46:52
Rating:


Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

 
Alan Silvestri teams up with Director Robert Zemeckis for another worthwhile effort with, Beowulf. The film features stunning visuals that are optimized for 3-D viewing and truly bridges the gap between live action and animation, even if the motion capture is a bit creepy! The good news here is that the score wasn't left behind in the wake of such impressive effects. The music on the soundtrack features Silvestri's work along with three song tracks that fit into the adult fairy tale saga nicely. While it would have been nice to have a longer running disc, there is enough substance to leave a listener satisfied. The sound quality, as with most of Silvestri's scores, is top notch as well.

Truthfully, I don't know what some listeners were expecting from this score. From the reviews I read on a few of the different soundtrack forums on the web, some folks complained that this score sounded too much like Alan Silvestri. Come again? True, Beowulf has all the markings of a Silvestri effort, but doesn't that make sense? And, if you're a fan of him, isn't that what you would have wanted? I think where some of the hang ups may have come from is a result of how the album finishes off, with more drama than bombast. But to get to that point, lets start at the beginning.

And what a beginning it is. The album gets underway with a seemingly out of place approach for an ancient yarn -- the use of an electric guitar. But, it's not used in a rock and roll fashion (like Kull), rather, it's purpose is to provide a very catchy background beat as one of the score's main themes comes to life, the Beowulf theme. In some capacity, Silvestri is able to capture the whole tone of this epic adventure, production style and all, in just a few moments on the (brief) first track. There are also some aggressive choral elements at play too, which gives the music that much more of a masculine type of sound. Aside from a fairy tale folk song on track 3, the first 5 score tracks of Beowulf proceed in attack mode and really sets you charging off into battle.

In the middle portions of the soundtrack, that's where you'll find that the score takes on another tone. Silvestri relents from the score's earlier energetic charges and introduces some of the soundtrack's softer themes, such as the motif that represents the hero of this saga. What I found with the overall effort is that there are multiple themes incorporated into the score, the favorite of which is indeed the aforementioned 'Hero' theme. It's a lovely, catchy piece of music that is often heard alongside the Beowulf theme during the journey; it's certainly a stand out. In fact, the lyrics from 2 of the 3 songs incorporate this melody into the framework of each. As I have written many times before, having songs linked to the fabric of a score makes for an apt use of material and leads to a better payoff to the listener and viewer alike. In fact, I found the lyrics of the album's last track to be quite stirring. While I concede the song has some definite pop qualities to it, I couldn't be helped but to be moved by it.

Before the finale is reached, however, Silvestri does get back to business with a bit more action with "Beowulf Slays the Beast," another intense, dark entry to the score. You can really tell that Beowulf is in the thick of it when you're listening to this one! From there, the music does step back again and ends on a distinctly slower pace and this is where perhaps some of the fan fall out is derived from. In my opinion, this score's conclusion might not have been bombastic enough to satisfy the appetite of some. However, it just didn't seem like the film called for additional might, especially when the final score track is entitled, "The Final Seduction." My advice is to simply enjoy the balance of the score for what it is.

If you're into fantasy epics and you don't find just a little bit of enjoyment with the score from Beowulf, than I would be surprised. Silvestri does another excellent job here by creating a score that is thematically rich, even within the framework of such a relatively short running time. This is a score that could have easily spanned 50+ minutes without a sweat. That complaint aside, this is a soundtrack that creates a world of its own and is indeed original within the context of the composer's style. I have a feeling this one will be a guilty pleasure for many...

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