Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Soundtrack) by Howard Shore - Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Soundtrack) by Howard Shore - Review

An Expectedly Exceptional Journey
by Edmund Meinerts

Normally I don’t break form and talk about my personal feelings, but here I’ll make an exception, because Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT is probably my most anticipated film, and score, of all time. I’m what you might call a Tolkien nut – I’ve read the books, watched the films and listened to the scores over and over again; in fact, the latter are in no small part responsible for kindling my interest in film music to begin with, and in my humble opinion, HOWARD SHORE’s music is a strong contender for the title of greatest film score of all time.

For THE HOBBIT’s score, therefore, any choice other than SHORE would have been unthinkable. His sound has engrained itself irreversibly into Middle-earth, and fortunately Jackson was able to put aside whatever KING KONG-related differences he may have still had with the composer. SHORE responded with a score that, in its idiosyncratic “ancient” sound and meticulous attention to thematic and motivic detail, picks up where RETURN OF THE KING left off. In truth, the score feels just a little bit smaller and is a little bit less complex, but that’s relative to the previous three (and, furthermore, appropriate for THE HOBBIT’s lighter tone – this is just a treasure hunt, after all, not a quest to destroy evil); compared to the average blockbuster score of 2012, it’s still a behemoth, boasting about a dozen new themes alongside a whole host of recurring ideas from the RINGS trilogy.

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