Saw Troy last night, which addressed the age-old question, “how much Brad Pitt naked ass can we put on the screen?”, and answered it with “about 3 hours, which is far too much, especially for us hetero males who came in expecting to see a war movie”.
Major musical themes in the movie were lifted directly from Enemy at the Gates (the stabbing, haunting minor-second thing), Gladiator (the lilting voice as the hand rides over the grain), and Laurence of Arabia (part of the main theme). As it turns out, I consider those three movies to be particularly excellent, and they all had similarities with Troy (war movie, and/or epic, and/or love amidst raging battles, etc.). I can’t help but think that perhaps these musical themes were replicated out of respect. Or maybe they were flat-out stolen.
Well, James Horner did the music and he also did Enemy at the Gates, so that explains that. I figured that they got the Lisa Gerrard-style singing from Gladiator but couldn’t be sure.
I doubt that anyone’s going to admit to swiping, especially someone as big as Horner, but then again it looks like he did video games and a comic book adaptation cartoon, so who knows. You find all sorts of odd things on commentary tracks these days.
He’s gotten better in recent years and some of his work is gorgeous (a passage of Brainstorm is achingly beautiful and I’ve always loved his score for The Devil’s Own), but he’s done his fair share of “borrowing.” Though, to be fair, the score to Brainstorm has a beautiful choral element, so it isn’t as if he’s never done that before. (I haven’t heard the score to Troy so I don’t know if it resembles in any way his score to Brainstorm.)
Oh, by the way, Laurence of Arabia was composed by Maurice Jarre, and I have to say that I’ve never heard Horner “borrow” from Jarre. Though this could be his first.
Haven’t seen it, but was watching some Troy thing on the Discovery Channel yesterday where they showed some snippets from the movie. Everytime I heard the music, I thought of Willow. Figgered it was Horner, but it’s good to have it confirmed.
Oh yes. It often isn’t that difficult to identify a particular composer’s style from the score. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but I usually can identify a certain amount of the “big name” composers (Morricone, Goldsmith, Williams, Jarre, Horner, Zimmer, Newman, etc. etc.) after listening to a few passages of the score in a movie.
What really puzzles some people is when I can identify the movie without seeing the screen or hearing any dialog. I can do this if I know the score really well. So I’ll be away from the TV but can hear the sound and I’ll say, “That’s Hoosiers!” and those around me will say, “There’s NO WAY you can know that!” But yeah, you can, if you know the soundtrack well enough.
I got the major Braveheart vibe too (also done by Horner, gee whiz). Some parts of the music almost sounded like bagpipes. Of course, the whole “Reunion of Braveheart” casting helped lend a sense…“Hamish! I mean, Menelaus! Oh screw it, you’re still a bug dumb ox!”
I found myself less than impressed with the score in Troy. Maybe Horner was striving for a barbaric, atonal sound to compliment the setting, but it just came off to me as loud, overly-dissinant, and thoroughly un-memorable. I’ll have to give Yared’s alternate score a listen – I tend to like his style better than Horner’s.
As far as recognizing composers’ styles, I was quite certain on the first viewing of the movie that the score for Pirates of the Carribbean was by Hans Zimmer, as it sounded as if it were lifted right out of Gladiator. I was surprised to see in the closing credits that someone else was listed as the composer. But I was vindicated after all – Hans Zimmer was the producer for the score.