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Comments about the soundtrack for Hollow Man (Jerry Goldsmith)
A little more competence is needed for reviewing this score.

Matthias Noe
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Derek Zhao
A little more competence is needed for reviewing this score.   Wednesday, February 15, 2006 (7:25 p.m.) 

Maybe it's because I didn't join the hysteria made around this score in the times before its release on CD, but "Hollow Man" in my eyes is the last score by Goldsmith that could be considered to be entitled a masterpiece. The whole music on CD has an incredibly coherent concept and you don't need many turns to reveal its incredibly conclusive structure. Besides all that it sometimes runs with an energy that could be compared to the unleashed action of "Total Recall", the tempi yet being more moderate.
It's interesting that the reviewer of this article for some reason desperately focuses on such issues as the barely used main theme, yet losing sight of almost all of the other themes and motives, with which the music is scattered. He seems to only be able to see what is thrown into his face in the main titles and my impression is, that this was the only thing he really could judge on this score, because his knowledge of music or musical dramaturgy doesn't allow him to be able to judge the whole music, that is far beyond his abilities of critical apprehension.
The structure out of which the 2 transformation sequences (themselves being at a length of 12 minutes - count together - and finally two major set pieces of this score, that are being unmentioned in the review [sic!]) are built up is quite obvious and the dramaturgical execution is impressively masterful. While we are dealing with a dissolution of living beings on screen, we also experience a defragmentation or occasionally fragmentation on the musical side. How Goldsmith puts motivic particles together in "Isabelle comes back" and on the other hand dissolves them in "This is science" quite dramatically, is evident of the work of a great musician and film composer and by itself film music in its purest perfect form. There are several motives that have great relevance throughout this score, but one of the most intriguing is a string figure in track 10 that perfectly catches the volatileness of the invisible man, that can escape into nowhere every moment yet also being able to attack the heroes every moment out of this nowhere. There are many occasions on which Goldsmith quite intelligently plays with such onomatopoetic phrases and reveals himself to the gifted critic.
It's evident that "Hollow Man" is an important work within Goldsmiths last decade of composing for films and it's at the same time quite obvious, that the reviewer of this article just wasn't able to catch this within his mind. It's scores like this one that separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to critics. Once again Mr. Clemmensen shows, how little he understands about film music, but at the same time (as you can see at the thousands of reviews, he writes), who much he wants to. But sometimes good will is not enough and competence is needed.


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Derek Zhao
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  In Response to:
Matthias Noe
Re: A little more competence is needed for reviewing this score.   Thursday, April 10, 2008 (8:52 p.m.) 

You're absolutely right. I often wonder about the reviewers' competence too. Hollow Man is a masterpiece (as was Star Trek Nemesis), and it takes a nuanced understanding of motivic construction, thematic development, and most importantly, dramatic subtext, to appreciate what Goldsmith does so masterfully. Unfortunately, Mr. Clemmensen often (not always) critiques Goldsmith's work unfairly while lauding John William's overrated scores profusely.

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.