This is # 15 in the ongoing Saturday Soundtrack series
James Horner is a film composer whose work I enjoy and admire. When I see “music by James Horner” I’ll buy the soundtrack recording , as I did this one, which was available just a couple of weeks prior to the film’ U.S. release in December 2009.
I listened to this soundtrack as soon as I got my hands on it, and was lukewarm about what I heard. Sure, there are echoes of other Horner soundtracks, everyone comments that he reuses music, tunes, motifs from one project to the next. Since I like the music, that’s not a problem for me, but some reviewers love to sound off long and loud about it in a negative way. I can enjoy identifying some of those favorite hints from soundtrack to soundtrack, and for me it unifies Horner’s work in a subtle, pleasant way.
After a few times listening to this one, I began to realize that, unlike some of his other works, this time Horner has created music that is symbiotic with the film’s imagery, and since I hadn’t seen the film, I was missing some things. Sure enough, after seeing the film, the music made more sense and I realized, while watching, how the music supports what’s on screen.
I have often said I believe that a good soundtrack should be able to stand alone as a piece of music. I still believe that, but here we have a soundtrack that leans, pretty heavily at times, on the imagery it was written to accompany. That’s okay, I get to enjoy the music and recall the film at the same time, which is a good thing.
For a more in-depth review, without my personal opinions, take a look at this page at the Soundtrack Geek website. Jorn Tillnes has done a fine job reviewing the music, and there is a complete track listing with his ratings for the individual cues.
That wraps it up for my three-part Avatar coverage. Hope you liked it.