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Comments about the soundtrack for Windtalkers (James Horner)
Horner Bashing

Joseph Dner
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  Responses to this Comment:
fontinau
Horner Bashing   Saturday, June 15, 2002 (7:06 a.m.) 

Note: this is not a hate letter to Christian or other reviewers. I respect his reviews as I respect others' opinions. However, I am tired of everyone being unfair to a talented composer. If you don't like his style, don't buy his scores. It is getting extremely old hearing everyone complain whenever he releases a score.

I just thought I would throw this out there. And, like many of Horner's scores, it is nothing that anyone hasn't heard before. With that said, I shall begin.

Today as I searched the net to find other reviews on the score to Windtalkers I noticed one thing. Everyone likes the score, but ultimately hates it because it is by James Horner and because it is by him... that must mean that it is derivative and the same ol' same ol' crap.
I will be the first to admit that I have heard Horner scores that do sound very similar in nature. I will be the first to admit that this is distracting at times. I will be the first to admit that Horner hasn't scored something totally original since Spitfire Grill (a score which I do not like very much).
However, there comes a time when enough bashing is enough.
Reviewers seem to act like James Horner is the only one who gets stuck on autopilot. John Williams' score to Presumed Innocent and Angela's Ashes have the same theme. His score to Amistad and The Patriot share a theme. His score to Seven Years in Tibet play the same theme over and over and over. Angela's Ashes does the same. Do reviewers bash Williams. No! Why? Because he is the maestro. However, does Horner get bashed when he reuses a thing? Hell yes! John Williams gets a free ticket to the Academy Awards every year. Does he deserve it? No, not every year. Don't get me wrong - I am a huge fan of John Williams and I am highly anticipating his score to Minority Report. However, I feel there is, what's the word, discrimination against Horner. Almost everyone of Hans Zimmer's action scores sound the same. Do people bash him? They used to, but ever since Gladiator they have found a new love for him. I don't know. Maybe it is just me, but I think reviewers are being highly unfair to Mr. Horner.
In conclusion, I am not even a huge fan of James Horner's works. I own exactly one of his scores. That score is Windtalkers. I find it to be original (for Horner), INSPIRED, and highly enjoyable. Personally, I am sick of all the big Horner epics that are immediate classics (such as Braveheart, Titanic, Legends of the Fall, A Beautiful Mind, etc.). I will gladly take one of his more subtle, more challenging, and much more interesting scores (such as Windtalkers). I am not trying to change anyones opinion of the score to WIndtalkers. However, reviewers are getting in the same rut that Horner is in because every new review of his work states the exact same thing: Horner is unoriginal, his new score sucks, there is no thing... which brings me to one last point. Just because a theme requires you to listen for it does not mean that it is not a theme. It simply means that Horner decided to let the movie tell the story instead of his melodramatic, big bang scores.



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fontinau
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  In Response to:
Joseph Dner

  Responses to this Comment:
Chris
Re: Horner Bashing   Saturday, June 15, 2002 (2:46 p.m.) 

> Today as I searched the net to find other reviews on the score to
> Windtalkers I noticed one thing. Everyone likes the score, but ultimately
> hates it because it is by James Horner and because it is by him... that
> must mean that it is derivative and the same ol' same ol' crap.
I will
> be the first to admit that I have heard Horner scores that do sound very
> similar in nature. I will be the first to admit that this is distracting
> at times. I will be the first to admit that Horner hasn't scored something
> totally original since Spitfire Grill (a score which I do not like very
> much).
However, there comes a time when enough bashing is enough.
>
Reviewers seem to act like James Horner is the only one who gets stuck
> on autopilot. John Williams' score to Presumed Innocent and Angela's Ashes
> have the same theme. His score to Amistad and The Patriot share a theme.
> His score to Seven Years in Tibet play the same theme over and over and
> over. Angela's Ashes does the same. Do reviewers bash Williams. No! Why?
> Because he is the maestro. However, does Horner get bashed when he reuses
> a thing? Hell yes! John Williams gets a free ticket to the Academy Awards
> every year. Does he deserve it? No, not every year.

Just for the record, some of us do bash John Williams for the same reasons. By the way, you forgot to include Harry Potter copying the theme from Schindler's List, and Attack of the Clones ripping of Hook. Oh, and Danny Elfman has started doing it too (Spider-Man/Batman).

All of this begs the question "What the f#ck is WRONG with these guys? Did they run out of notes or something!?" Seriously, self-plagarism is the worst kind of sell-out, since the artist is basically producing the same work over again, so he can make more money.

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Chris
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  In Response to:
fontinau

  Responses to this Comment:
fontinau
Re: Horner Bashing   Sunday, June 30, 2002 (9:46 a.m.) 

I think u should relax and give this guys a break. They have been writing music for a long time.
Besides I would like to see u come up with some thing better.

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fontinau
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  In Response to:
Chris

  Responses to this Comment:
Chris
Piero
Re: Horner Bashing   Sunday, June 30, 2002 (12:16 p.m.) 

> I think u should relax and give this guys a break. They have been writing
> music for a long time.
Besides I would like to see u come up with some
> thing better.

You know, I thought I was done with this thread, but you have stated an argument which I find supremely annoying. Saying 'I'd like to see come up with something better' is ridiculous, since my profession doesn't happen to be composing. Therefore, of course I couldn't write anything better than what Williams and Horner write (well, maybe better than what Horner writes ). However, that does not mean that I don't have the write to criticize them.

Look at it this way: Could you make a better movie than Battlefield Earth? Of course not. You have no experience as a director. However, that doesn't change the fact that Battlefield Earth sucks, and you should be free to state that fact.

BTW, about your 'they've been writing music for a long time' argument? So have Phil Collins and Michael Jackson...

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Chris
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  In Response to:
fontinau
Re: Horner Bashing   Sunday, June 30, 2002 (7:50 p.m.) 

Its the what u said: "What the #####is wrong with these guys".
Your acting like they owe u something.
So they made a bad score here and there, o well life goes on. Don't start saying they are horible because of just a few bad scores.

What u said really wasn't what was bad it was how u said it, or maybe im interpriting your words wrong.



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Piero
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  In Response to:
fontinau
Re: Horner Bashing   Sunday, December 1, 2002 (4:48 a.m.) 

I think, the point is, that moviecomposers working a lot with directors which says in the pre production phase of a movie: "Hi James, can you compose something that sounds like...?" And James says: Hmmm, lets see..." And then he do it: The japanes Flute, the four note theme (Used first when I renember right in Brainstorm), the droning bass, the walking piano... The director get what he wants and finally thats what the composer works for. Not to satisfied soundtrackcollectors which run behind every similiar stuff (In theatres and operas you meet the same kind of people: Going into a musical for the 30th time and seeing every mistake. The go to the theatres to see the mistake, not for the show.). Thats boring. When I buy a horner soundtrack, I listen to that what I get. If it touches me, it is good, if I melt away, its good. And if I hear four tone sequences and exploding pianos and japanes flute, what the #####does it mean to me? When I watch Star Trek, every time I can see the enterprise.

If the soundtrack works as that what it is, as soundtrack, the composer has done a good job. Everything else is the same old boring stuff of the important errorwatcher. You can find them anywhere. They are boring with there semi acknowledge of moviemusic. Not the composers :-)

Regards/Piero

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