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The Perfect Storm

Track List:
  1. Coming Home from the Sea 9:24
  2. "The Fog's Just Lifting..." 4:11
  3. "let's Go Boys" 8:53
  4. To the Flemish Cap 7:17
  5. The Decision to Turn Around 9:20
  6. Small Victories 8:30
  7. Coast Guard Rescue 9:47
  8. Rogue Wave 10:02
  9. "There's No Goodbye...Only Love" 7:32
  10. Yours Forever (Performed by John Mellencamp) 4:02

Total Time: (79:09)

Composed by:
James Horner

Orchestrated by:
J.A.C. Redford
James Horner
Joseph Alfuso
Steven Bernstein
Carl Johnson (of Gargoyles fame)
J. Eric Schmidt

Conducted by:
James Horner

Why are these tracks so freaking long!? It's Willow all over again! Anyway, as for the music itself: Bravo! James Horner has done it again. Of course, you might not trust my opinion as I usually fall in love with everything the man's written, but fear not, the reason I like this score has nothing to do with my emotional attachment (as of the time I write this review, I haven't seen the movie). The reason I do love this score is because it's got plenty of excitement combined with a wonderful main theme that's somber, beautiful, and nautical all at the same time. I will admit that the theme is played nearly to death, which would be a problem if I didn't love it so much. Though I like the theme, it's really the action music that I think makes this soundtrack great. I must say that Horner needs to do more along the lines of action films like this. It's what he's truly best at. He writes extremely powerful action cues that no one else in Hollywood could muster (with the exception of Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams of course).

The first thought that comes to mind (obviously) is: "Hmmmm, this is James Horner, so how original can it be?" Well, it's not as derivative as his recent score for "Bicentennial Man," but this is James Horner, and the score is not without it's fair share of unoriginal moments. Coast Guard Rescue, for example, employs the same, harsh, four-note motif that has been used in countless other scores by Horner including: Star Trek 2, Brainstorm, Willow, and the Mask of Zorro. As I understand it, the four notes are actually Wotan's motif from Wagner's "Ring Cycle" which I haven't heard (but if I find a CD of it, I'll be sure to pick it up). Also, many of the action moments sound as if they were derived from "Titanic" and/or "Apollo 13."

The most interesting thing about this soundtrack, which some may find objectionable, is Horner's employment of the electric guitar. As stated, some may not care for this, but like the GAGpipes in "Titanic," the unusual instrument (in this instance, anyway) only makes it's appearance at beginning and end of the score. To be honest, I would liked to have heard more use of it as it combines with and accents the score perfectly, and if I hadn't heard the sample released over the internet just prior to the soundtrack's commercial release, it would have taken me by complete surprise. In the end, I'd say that the use of such an unusual insrument for film should balance out the re-hashed material. Now let's just hope that Horner doesn't use his newfound guitar constantly in his future scores as he's just bound to do (a la shakuachi).

One thing that I find rather irritating is Horner's recent tendency to finish the soundtrack off with a pop ballad. End credits are almost always a chance for composers to display their arrangement talents with the major themes of the score. Although the John Mellencamp tune (based on the main theme) is enjoyable, most will recognize it as a shameless ploy for two Oscar nominations as opposed to one (best song as well as best score).

All said, though, this is a must for Horner fans. Others may find plenty to like as well, and I'd definitely recommend it to all film score enthusiasts. Those not generally acquainted with film music may want to pass it up for something else like James Newton Howard's recent "Dinosaur," though.

The Perfect Storm is Copyright 2000 Sony Classical. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.