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Avatar: Music from the Motion Picture

2010-02-11 13:20
Avatar: Music From the Motion Picture
James Horner, something of a film score legend, also helmed the Titanic music, and promptly won a wealth of awards for his work. There was a certain quality to that soundtrack. Romantic, playful, dynamic, and a little bit Irish. And the epic scale of both Titanic and Avatar suits Horner's style to a tee. Propulsive, tribal beats and soaring strings form the foundation of this score, but it’s all so low in the mix, the CD soundtrack doesn't quite grab you by the scruff of the neck the way the movie did. If I hadn't actually seen the film that inspired it, I'd say Horner was being a bit withdrawn and minimalist here. And that just doesn’t seem right.

"The Bioluminescence Of The Night" is an incandescent little passage, that is bookended by some memorable pieces – "Pure Spirits Of The Forest", "Becoming One With Neytiri" and "The Destruction Of Hometree". Yep, you're not going to get more descriptive track titles anywhere else.

The only song that would interest cursory fans of film music is the film's theme song "I See You", performed by pop placeholder Leona Lewis – and this is where the soundtrack fails on a scale about as epic as its budget. At least Celine Dion screeched her way into your brain with "My Heart Will Go On" (and on, and on, and on, and on) so that you could and would never forget it, nor the moment you became convinced that your brain would implode if you ever heard it again.

"I See You" by comparison, is a forgettable shambles. It possesses nothing that resembles a chorus, rhythm or melody. It's schmaltzier than a Bollywood ballad (Living through life flying high/Your life shines the way into paradise) and probably won't be soundtracking any wedding marches anytime soon.

And the song's inability to garner an Academy Award nomination in a year when the Oscars offer ripe pickings for Avatar is as justified a snub as they come.

When it comes to a behemoth of a movie like Avatar (highest grossing movie of all time, both globally and in SA, nine Oscar nominations, the dawning realisation that James Cameron can now get away with just about anything he pleases) the score is probably way low on audiences' register when watching (or rather, experiencing) the movie.
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