The Spiderwick Chronicles

Composer James Horner has worked on everything from modest indies (The Chumscrubber) to box office blockbusters (Titanic, Deep Impact) and from light kiddie fare (The Pagemaster, Casper, The Land Before Time) to dramatic actioners (The Perfect Storm, Braveheart). In other words, he’s been around a while. In fact, with almost three decades in the film industry, nine Oscar nominations (and two wins), you could say he’s been more than around, he’s been at the center.

With his new score for the kiddie actioner The Spiderwick Chronicles, Horner combines a good deal of his kid themes with some of his more adventurous work. There are a good deal of flourishes and flowing strings, giving the appropriately magical (and sometimes quite menacing) undertones to the fantasy world the film has created, but the tone is remarkably subdued, even during some of the more fast-paced and explosive pieces.

While even expositionary works like “Writing the Chronicles” and “So Many New Worlds Revealed” manage a great deal of variance within their storytelling boundaries, it’s really action pieces like “A Desperate Run Through the Tunnels” or “Jared And Mulgarath Fight For The Chronicles” that give the score its backbone and leave listeners the most out of breath. There is a driving sense of imperilment and rising action in the track “Hogsquel’s Warning Of A Bargain With Mulgarath” but after climaxing less than halfway into the song, the remainder of the track is a bit of a letdown, though it does build back up with an army-like drumbeat towards the end.

“The Flight of the Griffin” really serves to capture the soaring energy and lighthearted fantasy that a children’s adventure story seeks to convey. With gently flowing melodies following through after a bit of rising and falling action, this piece serves to cement the score in the land of fantasy. In fact, the entire score feels both open and expansive while somehow maintaining a tight and succinct vibe. Much like a well-written fantasy novel, the score allows for imaginative feelings while clearly following a well-defined path. Those who are already fans of James Horner may not find much new stuff here, but anyone who enjoys a good score is sure to find plenty to admire.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: An almost leisurely adventure in the land of fantasy
Stay Away if: You like loud, explosive scores with more peaks than troughs
Buy on Itunes: “Coming Home”

To purchase the score for The Spiderwick Chronicles, visit Amazon
For more reviews by Zach Freeman, check out HubPages

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