Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, starring the ascending young Dakota
Fanning and the veteran Kurt Russell, is the story of a trainer and his daughter who
nurse an injured horse (Soņador) back to health, with an eye to racing him in the
Breeder's Cup. The original composer for this Disney
family drama was the Poland born Jan A. P Kaczmarek, but unfortunately he
was fired before he could finish the score recordings. For his place was
Debney, one of the busiest film music composers at the moment. After
years working on doomed projects and comedies, Debney was hired for the
controversial (and highly sucessfull) The Passion of The Christ, and
as they say, the rest is history.
Only in 2005 Debney has scored music
for an impressive eight films, including The Adventures of Sharkboy and
Lavagirl in 3-D, Sin City, The
Pacifier, Zathura, and Chicken Little. He is
equally a great orchestrator, composer and conductor, and for this
picture he crafted a highly melodic score, plenty of evocative Americana. However, it
became apparent that in the process he was, at certain degree, a victim of the
"Temp Track Syndrome". In other words, he was influenced by music extracted from another movies, placed at the rough cut as a temporary
score. We can hear subtle references to works of James Newton Howard
(Man on the Moon), Randy Newman (Seabiscuit), James Horner (Legends
of The Fall) and Thomas Newman (The Horse Whisperer).
For this reason the resulting score lacks some originality, but at the same time it is extremely
functional and highly enjoyable.
The score is based in an inspired central theme, that it is so important for this work
much the virtuose Joshua Bell's violin solos. About the violinist, Debney
says: "Joshua is an artist of unparalled excellence. He simply amazed
me playing the most delicate as well as the more challenging passages with
complete control and elegance." Bell's performance is one of the
album's highlights, indeed.
Sony's score CD includes more than an hour of
Debney's music, that sometimes assumes a more intimistic profile, as in
"Manny's Store", "The Noble King", "Cale Won't Sell
Soņador", "Ben Asks Pop for Help" or "Smart and Beautiful"
a solo piano rendition of the main theme by Michael Lang, another featured
soloist), sometimes with a complete
and exciting simphonic performance, as in "First Race", "Runaway Horse",
"Training Montage" and "Last Race". This last
underscores the film's climax and it can be considered, without any doubt, the highlight of
the score. Closing the album we have the obligatory song
"Dreamer (Film Mix)" performed by Bethany Dillon, the original
recording of the film's "Main Title" and a hidden track (another
mix of Dillon's "Dreamer").
Besides its proven qualities, Dreamer may sound like a score that we have already listened before. Nevertheless,
the lack of originality can't make us forget the true function of film
music: to help and support the images. And if, at the same time, it pleases the
listener through some really touching passages, much better. Debney's music satisfies at these two levels, delivering a high quality and professional
score, a trademark of this young but already veteran californian composer - he's only in his 40s.
Certainly Debney has a very long and promising career ahead.