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James Horner - Wolf Totem (2015)


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http://filmmusicreporter.com/2015/02/10/wolf-totem-soundtrack-details/ Can't wait for this, and his other three 2015 scores!

WOLF TOTEM: CONTEST AND AUDIO EXCERPT In partnership with Milan Music, we offer a chance to win the new album by James Horner. Five copies are up for grabs. Exclusively we share with you a listen of t

Milan Records posted the following to the FSM thread for this score

I just listened to the OST again on Spotify.

It's a really good score. The main theme gets played mayyyyybe too many times, but overall it's still good.

It reminds me of the 90s, when every year there'd be 5-6 scores at least this good. This score wouldn't stand out above anything then, but in this modern era of film scoring it is indeed one of the best of the year.

And Horner has 3 more coming!

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Wolf Totem is typical Horner, and that's probably what makes it so enjoyable. One of the action cues In the beginning sounds notably refreshing too. Main theme is a more generic derivation of the TASM figures (and funnily enough, or echoes Zimmer's typical elegiac progression, think "Time").

But while it does not have any significant direct lifts (the Aliens-style action cues are probably the worst offenders), it's really just more Horner doing Horner. Nice to hear after his absence last year, sure, but TASM and Black Gold are superior efforts.

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That's because you don't know what love is, BB. Or how tough can it be, for that matter. ;)

Yeah, I can see where you're coming from, KK.

But then... Silvestri is doing Silvestri, Elfman is doing Elfman, Shore is doing Shore, Desplat is doing Desplat and, yeah, Williams is doing Williams. I don't think Horner is any worse than those gentlemen in their 'habits'. Not these days, anyway.

Or maybe I'm just less cynical these days.

Karol

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Silvestri doing Silvestri is what's made me lose interest in his work over the last decade or so. I find him rather dull.

The others you've listed still branch out and produce interesting results though. Sure you have some snoozers, take Big Eyes for instance. Or Fifty Shades of Grey. Or dare I say, Oz (I know we've argued over that one a couple of times) ;). Those scores are very "Elfman doing Elfman". But when when he writes stuff like Unknown Known, I'll be there first in line!

Same case with Williams. The Book Thief suffers from the same syndrome, which is why I vastly prefer Lincoln. Same goes for Shore and Desplat.

I have less tolerance for scores when I don't believe I hear the full composer's heart in it. It applies to all the composers you've listed. Don't get me wrong, I totally get my own kick out of Wolf Totem. But in all honesty, it's a bit autopilot Horner, and I wouldn't describe it as "one of the great scores of the year", even if its just started. I prefer works like TASM, where you actually hear the tried and true composer trying to do something else.

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The Unknown Known is hardly new, though. Standard Operating Procedure did the same thing in 2008.

Autopilot? I thought his most autopilot and heartless entry was For Greater Glory, to be honest. The weakest link in his recent filmography. Other than that, he's better than he used to be, especially in his 1999-2004 period.

Karol

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Fair enough. Autopilot is the wrong term.

And you're right. But the writing in that score is just much more interesting than a score like Big Eyes. And For Greater Glory may literally just be patchwork of stuff he's done in the past, but it still sounds more engaging than Wolf Totem.

Even the ethnic elements, which Horner is usually ace at, seems applied in a very lukewarm fashion in this score. I don't know, maybe I've just become too cynical.

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It's guilty-pleasure score for sure. If you can forgive it for all its original sources, you can't help but enjoy it.

On that basis, it'll probably get more replay value from me than Wolf Totem. It's just a more dynamic work.

But I'd rather play The Missing or The Four Feathers than visit those two really.

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Though only FOUR FEATHERS qualifies (say, 50 minutes of it) as innovative and fresh 5-star score (the boring piano noodlings excluded).

Agreed. It's basically a darker and more dynamic take on Legends of the Fall. But I stand by the fact that The Missing is one of the best and most effective repackagings of Horner's ideas in the last 20 years.

I still need to get this one.

Karol

You definitely should. It's my favourite post-2000s Horner score.

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Though only FOUR FEATHERS qualifies (say, 50 minutes of it) as innovative and fresh 5-star score (the boring piano noodlings excluded).

Agreed. But I stand by the fact that The Missing is one of the best and most effective repackagings of Horner's ideas in the last 20 years.

Exactly. It's like a male version of Legends of the Fall and the one that's actually bearable.

Karol

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And not so static. Legends of the Fall is basically that same homogenous sound for an hour...can hardly sit through all of it. At least you have real colour and variety with The Missing. Good stuff.

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And not so static. Legends of the Fall is basically that same homogenous sound for an hour...can hardly sit through all of it. At least you have real colour and variety with The Missing. Good stuff.

The film itself is really boring, though.

Karol

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And not so static. Legends of the Fall is basically that same homogenous sound for an hour...can hardly sit through all of it. At least you have real colour and variety with The Missing. Good stuff.

The film itself is really boring, though.

Karol

I've never seen it. Was curious about it though because of the score and the cast. Guess its not worth my time.

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And not so static. Legends of the Fall is basically that same homogenous sound for an hour...can hardly sit through all of it. At least you have real colour and variety with The Missing. Good stuff.

C'mon Legends is Horner at his most romantic, lush and gorgeous, full of sweeping americana-filled themes. If anything Legends of the Fall is the score with variety and colour. You just switched the two names there, didn't you? ;)

It never fails to move me emotionally, the whole album through. The Missing is only good at a couple of moments.

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Another update from Milan Records in the FSM thread

dear all,
The CD and vinyl of Wolf Totem will come out in North America when the film comes out domestically which it should at some point in 2015.
If the film does not come out, we will do a CD run anyway this year.
JC
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This is a solid score. Though you have to listen hard to hear it sometimes (actually, a lot of the time), Horner has been evolving for a while. He hasn't quite taken the dramatic turn someone like JW has several times in his career, but he's not exactly the same composer he was when he started. Still, for all that, you can't help but listen to this and say: Apollo 13-styled action cues, transitions from The Rocketeer, echoes of other earlier works, the inevitable appearance of the danger motif . . . yep, this is a Horner score!

I like it, though, for all that. There are some gorgeous pieces here, and even some of the action stuff breaks out of its repetition to reach for loftier aspirations at times (I especially like "Scaling the Walls"). And the finale is awesome. As a whole, it's not quite as good as Black Gold, which for me is his best in years. But it's headed in the same direction.

Wolf Totem is typical Horner, and that's probably what makes it so enjoyable.

Honestly, though, isn't that what's always made Horner enjoyable? You don't get a plethora of variety, but you do get some magnficent music, and you can nearly always count on him to come through for you.

But then... Silvestri is doing Silvestri, Elfman is doing Elfman, Shore is doing Shore, Desplat is doing Desplat and, yeah, Williams is doing Williams. I don't think Horner is any worse than those gentlemen in their 'habits'. Not these days, anyway.

Agreed on this, too. Seems like everyone is settling into habitual styles these days.

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I always enjoy a new Horner score, even if he does repeat himself. He has such great dramatic sensibilities. I'll even find myself looking for quotes and old themes going in new directions, it's fun to hear what he does with that material. And every score he's done in the last few years since Avatar has had some really quality material.

Behind Williams, Horner is my favorite working composer in the film industry.

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