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SCORE: For Greater Glory (James Horner)


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An excellent review K.K. as usual. :) This score indeed is going to divide people because of Horner's regurgitation tendencies. I unfortunately belong to the group that thinks he has fallen off his rocker with all the note-for-note copying, which I consider to be lazy in extreme and lowers the ranking of this score in my eyes. But that said the sheer orchestral melodrama Horner conjures once again is very satisfying if it has that tired "heard and done before" flavour.

As I said previously in the What Is the Last Score You Have Listened To? thread Horner seems to treat his themes like character actors these days. They have become more of a general representation of emotion or mood and instead of inventing new voices he just pulls them onto the stage when he needs that certain emotion or mood, like a typecast character actor, who will be dragged to the stage to play the same great role again and again.

For me this is 3½ star score because of the above mentioned detriment of recycling (which, as nice idea as it is, unfortunately doesn't get the planet saved when it is done in musical notes).

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An excellent review K.K. as usual. :) This score indeed is going to divide people because of Horner's regurgitation tendencies. I unfortunately belong to the group that thinks he has fallen off his rocker with all the note-for-note copying, which I consider to be lazy in extreme and lowers the ranking of this score in my eyes. But that said the sheer orchestral melodrama Horner conjures once again is very satisfying if it has that tired "heard and done before" flavour.

There was a time (around the Avatar period) where Horner pushed me too far. And for quite a while, I couldn't stand his modern scores. All the plagiarism made me sick. But as time went by, it didn't bother me so much. I realized Horner's lack or originality is something I'm going to have to live with, and that there's still much to love in his music. I still dislike scores like The Karate Kid which bleeds out his self-borrowing habits. And still not the biggest fan of scores like Enemy at the Gates or Troy. But if he were to produce sensational scores like For Greater Glory, then I can live with the regurgitation. I still dislike his self-plagiarism, but sometimes I can accept excellent products like this as guilty pleasures.

As I said previously in the What Is the Last Score You Have Listened To? thread Horner seems to treat his themes like character actors these days. They have become more of a general representation of emotion or mood and instead of inventing new voices he just pulls them onto the stage when he needs that certain emotion or mood, like a typecast character actor, who will be dragged to the stage to play the same great role again and again.

For me this is 3½ star score because of the above mentioned detriment of recycling (which, as nice idea as it is, unfortunately doesn't get the planet saved when it is done in musical notes).

Precisely. He seems to draw on certain themes for certain emotions. He no longer sees his past themes as melodic ideas so much as musical colours he can choose from to help effectively portray the atmosphere of the film. Having said that, The Amazing Spiderman shows that he's capable of breaking fresh stylistic grounds (or as fresh as Horner gets).

Maybe I've been become too much of a Horner fan :P

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It must be said, though, as much and rightly as film score fans love this overbearing schmaltzy style, it doesn't really work as good filmmusic - i saw FOR GREATER GLORY and Horner pushes the movie into parody territory with a vengeance. It's so indulgent in its melodramatic LEGENDS OF THE FALL-sweep that it wrestles with any credibility the whole venture may have had at any opportunity...and Horner never lets up, either (remember, it's a historical movie, with Horner it becomes a through-scored fairy tale).

There was a time, ca. around GLORY when Horner could produce gorgeous AND thoughtful work that elevated the movie beyond the call of duty - sadly, his new scores deny this talent even if he still writes attractive melodies.

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There was a time, ca. around GLORY when Horner could produce gorgeous AND thoughtful work that elevated the movie beyond the call of duty - sadly, his new scores deny this talent even if he still writes attractive melodies.

I think he's quite capable of producing more thoughtful scores appropriate film. The Missing and The Four Feathers are two prime examples that come to mind. He's very capable of addressing more challenging concepts with some form of creativity (even if regurgitation is involved). Despite all his flaws, I think Horner is quite good with exploring more challenging textures to create a more subdued and darker atmosphere when the films require them.

I haven't watched For Greater Glory, but I've heard film critics praise Horner and appreciate the fact that the music never gets too schmaltzy and is appropriately uplifting.

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Parts of the FOUR FEATHERS, if anything, but we are not on the same page concerning great scores. All of those post-LOTF epic scores are bloated in the extreme, the music often is pure illustration so if a great piece like THE MAHDI comes along, it's always surrounded by 90 minutes of filler without much musical function, not to speak of the endless repetition. For a good score architecture, you need good spotting, too, and Horner is just too indulgent and pushy for that nowadays (and given the leeway he got after TITANIC, he sure is long past the point where he always gets dictated what to do).

As for FOR GREATER GLORY - if critics nowadays believe that any little ocurrence on screen must be scored like the sermon on the mount in KING OF KINGS and big, sweeping strings applied wall-to-wall with never-changing intensity and endless repeats of the same themes, they deserve movies like this.

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Set aside self-plagiarism for a minute. Has anyone else noticed that the "Goro and Tula" love theme is straight out of Harry Gregson-Williams' first Narnia score?

Sounds decent overall, though. My Horner collection is not very deep, and I enjoyed the movie, so I'm primed to like this. It's not on Spotify, but some enterprising fellow named MarioSoundtrack4 posted it on Youtube, so I can still try before I buy (which will actually enable and encourage me to buy! Record companies take note...).

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