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Sunday, May 1, 2011
TPR Cinema soundtrack review: Water For Elephants
James Newton Howard’s score for the new film “Water for Elephants” leads the composer down two divergent roads. For most of the score, Howard serenades the listener with brief orchestral fragments. At other times, he’s mimics the big band sound of the 1930s, when the film is set.
Howard is a six-time Academy Award nominee whose best work includes a pounding collaboration with Hans Zimmer for “The Dark Knight” and the score for M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village,” featuring soloist Hilary Hahn. Most of the cues on “Water for Elephants” are not developed enough into themes that I was able to appreciate apart from the picture, but two selections, “Jacob Sees Marlena,” and “Shooting Star,” are good recommendations for iTunes downloads. Both of those are less atmospheric, more melodic.
Howard’s attempts to write jazzy music of the era are sweet, but lack the passion or fire of the real deal. They feel too Hollywood.