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The Bourne Legacy
Composed and Co-Produced by:
James Newton Howard

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Conducted by:
Blake Neely

Co-Orchestrated by:
Jeff Atmajian
Jon Kull
John Ashton Thomas

Co-Produced by:
Nic Ratner
Sven Faulconer

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
August 7th, 2012

Also See:
The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Tourist

Audio Clips:
8. They're All Dead (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

9. Manila Lab (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

24. Magsaysay Suite (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

25. Aftermath (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


The Bourne Legacy
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Buy it... if you've always believed that James Newton Howard's music for The Tourist and Salt would serve as a good fit in the Jason Bourne franchise, an idea that has turned into reality.

Avoid it... if you expect Howard to either be very loyal to John Powell's themes and live percussion mix or branch off in an exciting new direction, the composer content to play it safe through a conservative extension of only the franchise's existing base style.

The Bourne Legacy: (James Newton Howard) Having already expended the titles and basic concepts of the original Robert Ludlum novels in the series, the Jason Bourne film franchise turns a completely new page for its belated 2012 entry, The Bourne Legacy. With director Paul Greengrass not returning for the project, lead actor Matt Damon followed him out the door, leaving the production with a unique problem. Screenwriters offered the solution in the form of other "Outcome" agents who could be used to perpetuate the same chasing action seen with Bourne, and in The Bourne Legacy, the CIA sets the plotline in motion by deciding to wipe out their own agents in ways the Jedi might relate to. Escaping the initial attack is agent Aaron Cross, who sets off across the world with an Outcome scientist (Rachel Weisz, conveniently) on a personal mission to wean himself from the mind-enhancing pills on which his employer had supposedly made him dependant. While placing the comparatively obscure Jeremy Renner in the spotlight as Cross, The Bourne Legacy features Edward Norton, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, and Scott Glenn in mostly familiar roles. Unfortunately, the fourth film in the franchise did not impress critics as much as The Bourne Ultimatum, which won three Academy Awards for its technical prowess. In many respects, the 2012 movie feels like a forced continuation of the concept simply for financial gain, to an extent reflecting similar sentiment about Eric Van Lustbader's efforts to resurrect the series of novels in the 2000's. Along with other key crew members, composer John Powell exited the franchise at this juncture, though his replacement is perhaps the most natural and logical choice for the assignment. Over the previous few years, James Newton Howard had been dutifully executing music for chase-related films that closely emulated Powell's writing style for the Bourne franchise (a result of the popularity of Powell's percussion and string ostinato techniques during this time), led by The Tourist and Salt. The latter score, in fact, was an oddly loyal extension of the Bourne musical playbook, but aided by Howard's own gritty sense of propulsion. It should come as no surprise that his approach to The Bourne Legacy sounds distinctly like Salt in its instrumentation and attitude. That said, though, this fourth Bourne score lacks the highlighting chase passages of Salt and instead sounds like a stew of procedural leftovers, laced at times with hints of Powell's identities for the concept.

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Although the vocabulary used by Howard to enunciate the chasing and character reflection in The Bourne Legacy is similar to that of Powell, don't expect some of the key motific elements from the previous three scores to have an impact here. Howard does eerily reference Powell's main theme immediately in "Legacy" and touches upon the character theme in "You Fell in Love," but Powell is not specifically credited in the score and absent is extended thematic redevelopment. Disappointingly, the bassoon solos and string ostinatos are not utilized as often as before, the latter somewhat curious given that they have become the "sound" of the franchise more than anything else. The ostinatos employed by Howard are not as fluid or relentless in their progressions, only infrequently applied in spurts. The application of percussion is also not as impressive as in The Bourne Ultimatum, the slapping layer of drums not as vibrant in Howard's recording. The use of electric guitars for occasional color is not particularly memorable, though they do add much-needed style to the opening moments of "Program Shutdown." Thematically, Howard ties the score together with a series of rising, three-note phrases, heard predictably in full during "Legacy" and "Aftermath." The latter cue is the score's only melodic highlight, suggesting a continuation of the story despite offering a dose of resolution at the same time. For the subtle moments in The Bourne Legacy, a somber electronic theme of remorse is explored deep in the bass region, and while the bassoon does contribute at times to these cues (especially in "Aftermath"), it is largely lost in the droning monotony of the mix. Pacing is an issue that faces this score, the slower passages killing all of the urgency that the remainder struggles to maintain. The album release exaggerates this problem greatly. With almost an hour of score material, this product is extremely laborious in its presentation, redundant and suffering from volume issues. The subtle character cues are placed at far too low a volume compared to the surrounding action material, forcing constant, significant volume adjustment to appreciate the album's contents. Had the product been condensed to feature "Manila Lab" and "Magsaysay Suite," its two clear chase highlights, together (the product is already out of chronological order), along with a few other equivalent excerpts, the listening experience might approach Salt territory. Moby's "Extreme Ways" is revised from the previous film and is an injection of James Bond style at the end of an album that is otherwise defined by a disappointingly sterile Howard environment. The score is competent in each of its parts, but it concentrates more on respecting its predecessors than taking the opportunity to explore potentially convincing new avenues with that basic sound. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For James Newton Howard reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.35 (in 56 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.34 (in 62,085 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.48 Stars
Smart Average: 2.58 Stars*
***** 27 
**** 26 
*** 38 
** 66 
* 64 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Question for Mr. Howard
  Zack -- 8/12/12 (4:06 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 63:16

• 1. Legacy (2:40)
• 2. Drone (4:15)
• 3. NRAG (0:59)
• 4. You Fell in Love (1:42)
• 5. Program Shutdown (3:00)
• 6. Over the Mountain (0:51)
• 7. High Powered Rifle (2:50)
• 8. They're All Dead (2:48)
• 9. Manila Lab (2:40)
• 10. Wolves/Sick Ric (2:19)
• 11. Doctor of What? (4:28)
• 12. Aaron in Chicago (1:32)
• 13. Wolf Attack (2:57)
• 14. Chem Talk (1:35)
• 15. Flight 167 (3:30)
• 16. Aaron Run! (1:08)
• 17. You Belong Here (1:17)
• 18. Cognitive Degrade (2:49)
• 19. 17 Hour Head Start (3:51)
• 20. Viralled Out (0:58)
• 21. You're Doing Fine (1:18)
• 22. Simon Ross (1:37)
• 23. LARX Tarmac (1:45)
• 24. Magsaysay Suite (3:04)
• 25. Aftermath (2:49)
• 26. Extreme Ways (Bourne's Legacy) - performed by Moby (4:51)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Bourne Legacy are Copyright © 2012, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/11/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.