Total Time: (73:27)
First of all, I should point out, as a few others have already, that the biggest problem with this score is the fact that it's pretty much copied from a wealth of Williams' other material. The main theme is the perfect example since the first six notes of the melody are directly borrowed from the "Hook-Napped" theme from Hook. I've actually read comments by people who thought that the theme was a reconstruction of the Schindler's List main theme, but I don't seem to hear that. Since the theme is used so much, it's hard not to be accustomed to it by the end of the disc, but it's decent enough to listen to anyway if you can get past its problems.
Harry Potter is a magical ride, and indeed it has been heavily compared to both Hook and E.T., though it may not be an entirely fair assessment, considering the fact that HP truly is a little darker and more mysterious in tone than either of those. Not having read the books, I can't really say how well the music captures the spirit of the character, but I would assume that all of Williams' incredible work from the past would solidify the fact that he knows what he's doing, despite the fact that this is more unoriginal than just about anything that he's done in the past.
I realize that many, many people had very high expectations for this score, and if you are expecting Williams to return to his past greatness, I can almost promise that you're going to be dissapointed. For my money, Goldenthal's Final Fantasy still deserves to take home the oscar this year, and we'll see if Howard Shore can change that with his upcoming Lord of the Rings score. And just in case you're wondering, I don't even think that this is as good as Williams' earlier Spielberg score this year, A.I., because that was probably John's most creative score ever.
In the end, I'm going to recommend this because it is quite entertaining, just not exceedingly terrific. If you haven't picked up Williams' other score this year yet, I would recommend getting that first. And one more thing... Unimportant as is may seem, Simon Rhodes, *not* Shawn Murphy recorded and mixed this score. Interesting.