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The Spiderwick Chronicles (Original Motion Picture Score)

James Horner

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Album Review

James Horner's score for The Spiderwick Chronicles is suitably dramatic, if not particularly inspired. It seems odd that the composer who also provided the evocative score for Titanic wouldn't use the opportunity of a children's fantasy film to create at least one memorable theme, but that seems to be the case here — unlike similar scores (John Williams' iconic music for the Harry Potter series comes to mind), there are no recurring movements on The Spiderwick Chronicles that signal or symbolize characters and plot twists. Despite its resemblance to some of Williams' more whimsical works, the score ends up feeling restrained and unable to keep up with the adventurous plot it's meant to accompany. The Spiderwick Chronicles sounds fine, but there isn't much heart in it.

Customer Reviews


This certainly has the potential to gain a fourth star after repeated listens, as it's well above average and considerably better than other fantasy scores of late. What is especially appealing about this score is that there are many passages and phrases which just don't sound like James Horner, and whilst you can still recognise the odd quote from a previous effort, the volume of new material is impressive. From the soft, gentle beginnings to the powerful action cues, this is a strong, solid entry from one of Hollywood's greatest composers - with a complete mastery of the orchestra on vivid display. Rather than just scoring an overall mood/atmosphere for a particular sequence, as so many composers today tend to do, Horner has created an impressive musical landscape detailed with superb orchestrations and textures, taking into account numerous synchronization points. What lets the score down is a distinct lack of strong melody, there's no real main theme here, and I feel it would have been highly appropriate, geven the strengths of the material. So many times you're teased with a terrific crescendo, you eagerly await an eruption of soaring theme - but it just never happens. Also the final three minutes from the closing credit cue - one of the dullest, dreariest conclusions to any score I've yet heard. Honestly, you'll feel cheated. Overall, this solidifies Horner's position as a great film composer, but also confirms my fears that he's run out of thematic ideas, as this score just cries out for a darn good tune.


Born: 14 August 1953 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Famed for his lush, sweeping scores for films including Braveheart, Apollo 13, and Titanic, the prolific composer James Horner was born in Los Angeles on August 14, 1953. Educated at London's Royal College of Music as well as local universities USC and UCLA, he landed his first motion picture assignments during the 1970s, scoring B-movies like The Lady in Red, Humanoids of the Deep, and Battle Beyond the Stars for producer Roger Corman's New World organization. By 1982, Horner had moved on to major...
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The Spiderwick Chronicles (Original Motion Picture Score), James Horner
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