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Comments about the soundtrack for The Bourne Ultimatum (John Powell)

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Bourne Soundtracks
• Posted by: Edd   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 2:52 a.m.
• IP Address:

I've just read the review of The Bourne Ultimatum soundtrack. I must say, the review demonstrates a total lack of understanding. Not once does the writer mention how the music is supporting the actual film. Soundtracks are not stand-alone music, you can't listen to them like you would a regular album. They are
written to picture, so listening to them on their own, you should remember you're not hearing it in context.
To be so negative about the first Bourne soundtrack is also unfair. The reviewer obviously is ignorant to how influential Powell's scores have been, in their use of contemporary percussion and synths combined with orchestral score.
The use of staccato strings over big percussion is now the staple of all action films and to consistently compare ultimatum to David Arnold's score for Casino Royale is bloody insult. Casino Royale reeks of desperation, trying to cash in on the Bourne aesthetic, as has Arnold, who frankly is copying Powell.
The main reason I would suggest, as to why Powell holds back on expanding the grander themes, is that the third film has a very diffent tone to it. He has chosen to exapnd some of the minor themes from the action cues in Supremacy rather than the big chart-topping themes like Atonement. Perhaps the reason there isn't some big bassoon moment the writer blantantly wants, is because Greengrass barely gives you time to breathe in Ultimatum let alone sit down and watch Jason wistfully burning passports whilst someone knocks out a riff on a duduk.
If anyone is at fault, it's Greemgrass, for maybe not having enough character development or emotional moments in Ultimatum, Powell's job is to support the narrative, not to force emotion where there isn't any. Matt Damon delivers the speech about the faces of everyone he's killed, in such a monotonic emotionless way, that over egging it with the Atonement theme would have seemed desperate, not to mention obvious.

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