As we are all aware film music recently, especially scores from Hollywood have had to them a sound that is very much the same, as in there seems to be a lack of any real inventiveness or originality to them. I cant say that I have heard much in the past five years or so that I thought was particularly innovative, but there again the movies that are being produced nowadays too seem to be overrated and samey. So, JUMANJI:THE NEXT LEVEL. Is probably not a good score to select to listen to see if things are maybe picking up a little in the quality depart. But, hang on wait just a second, this isn’t that bad, in fact I rather liked what composer Henry Jackman has served up here. Ok, it may not be that original or out of the ordinary, but it certainly is entertaining to listen to. It is filled with cues that are fast paced and energetic, and at times these do have about them a sound and style that could be compared with that of Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Alan Silvestri, so not a bad thing me thinks. What I liked about this score was the lack of those awful drone like sounds that have dominated film music in recent years and also the presence of any Zimmer like connections, in fact there were even little references to the romantic film scores of the 1940’s with Jackman at times delivering, Steiner/Waxman-esque richness and melodic interludes. This is a soundtrack that contains actual music and it sounds to me as if it is fully symphonic, or at least the majority of it is, with the odd piece of support from the synthetic section. Jackman creating an eerie sound at key points that sends a shiver down ones spine. The composer has penned a powerful work, and also one that that is entertaining away from the images and keeps the listener interested, with its definite nods of acknowledgement to the action scores of the silver age. Its not a score I can wax lyrical about, but it does the job perfectly for the movie and also is something that I have to admit I did not skip through, check it out, it’s a pleasant surprise.
Composer Samuel Sim is in my ever so humble opinion a rare and gifted talent within the film and television music community. His scores for mainly the small screen have always been richly melodic and are a wonderfully attractive and alluring part of any production that he is involved with. His music becomes an important and also an integral part of the whole film making process, the composer producing atmospheric and innovative pieces of music that not only enhance the storyline but have the ability to take on the form of an unseen actor within the movie, thus enriching and supporting this he performances and the scenarios that are being portrayed and purveyed upon the screen. Sim has collaborated with composer Chris Egan for one of his recent projects, THE SPANISH PRINCESS I think must be one of his most interesting scores, the composers creating beautiful and at the same time rather apprehensive sounding musical poems and sections, that have to them a vibrant and highly emotive sound. I am particularly fond of the string sections performances throughout and the use of both percussion and fleeting cymbalom, which are laced with haunting and at times icy sounding harpsichord. Sim and Egan fashioning a hypnotic theme for the cue entitled BORN TO LOVE YOU, which contains a heart breaking cello solo, that is supported and given more impact via the placing of little harpsichord flourishes, which although brief are effective, the cello is also given more of an emotive and poignant persona when punctuated by the delicate touch of harp and cymbalom, which the composers utilise to great effect in many of the other cues on the score. I think it is the simplicity sometimes that is the attraction, and the sheer emotion that is purveyed through Egan and Sim’s beguiling yet, uneasy sounding compositions. There is a tense atmosphere present in the majority of the tracks, but the composer’s collaborative gift for fashioning melodic and tantalising thematic material shines through and even when these moments are short lived, they are still affecting. The last cue on the soundtrack, REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM is a must listen, from a subdued and even slow start the cue builds and grows into something that is not just grandiose and imposing but also into a piece that is proud and inspiring. With strings, choir and brass combining and being supported and driven forward by timpani which has to it a martial and forthright style. This is a special soundtrack an inventive and gripping score, and a work that you should really own.