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Avatar OST (James Horner) - Review

Avatar OST

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

JAMES Horner has worked with James Cameron on some of his biggest triumphs, Aliens and – most notably – Titanic (for which he won two Oscars).

He’s back conducting the soundtrack for Cameron’s Avatar and it’s a suitably grand endeavour befitting the size and scale of the director’s latest vision.

Horner’s great strength as a composer is his ability to mix the big anthemic moments with more intimate instrumentals that capture the heart and sweep you along on the movie’s tidal wave of emotion. Crucially, however, he seldom sounds manipulative. Rather, his scores accompany and enhance the visual medium.

And yet, they can also work on their own merits when reduced to your stereo or sound system at home.

His score for Avatar is as epic as the film’s near three-hour running length, but it does have some fantastic moments.

Opening sequences such as You Don’t Dream In Cryo set the scene well and heighten the sense of anticipation, before unfolding into an almighty opus such as the climactic War.

Just occasionally, he soundchecks himself (there are several times when you think the music resembles his Titanic score), while there’s a sense of Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings at times.

The employment of spiritual and tribal chanting evokes the spirit of the film’s Na’vi well (as well as Apocalypto) on moments such as Becoming One of The People, while a larger, brasher and altogether more violent sound is employed for Quaritch, who truly does get the bombastic theme his character merits.

Taken as a whole, therefore, Horner’s score is, by turns, stirring, intimate and a suitably rousing/inspiring accompaniment.

The only thing that lets it down is the awful end credits track by Leona Lewis, which smothers you with contrived emotion, lame lyrics, cheesy optimism and an unwanted Celine Dion vibe. Take it from us, you’ll be wanting to run from the theatre/cinema screaming: “Enough is enough.”

The Lewis song, more than anything, smacks of commercialism and an attempt to emulate the chart success of My Heart Will Go On that really wasn’t necessary.

Download picks: You Don’t Dream In Cryo, Becoming One Of The People, Jake’s First Flight, Quaritch, Gathering All Na’Vi Clans For Battle, War

Track listing:

  1. You Don’t Dream In Cryo
  2. Jake Enters His Avatar World
  3. Pure Spirits Of The Forest
  4. Bioluminescence Of The Night, The
  5. Becoming One Of The People/Becoming One With Neytiri
  6. Climbing Up Iknimaya (The Path To Heaven)
  7. Jake’s First Flight
  8. Scorched Earth
  9. Quaritch
  10. Destruction Of Hometree, The
  11. Shutting Down Grace’s Lab
  12. Gathering All The Na’vi Clans For Battle
  13. War
  14. I See You – Leona Lewis