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The Hunger Games (Original Motion Picture Score)

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Album Review

While The Hunger Games' soundtrack received most of the the attention at the time of the film's release, James Newton Howard's score also played a significant part in bringing the dystopian world of Panem to the big screen. Given the cut-throat action that makes up a large part of the story — in which children are sent to fight to the death to pay "tribute" to the nation's corrupt Capitol — Howard could have tried to match that action with his music, but for the most part his score is admirably restrained. Tracks such as "The Hunger Games," "Healing Katniss," "Searching for Peeta," and "We Could Go Home" subtly nod to the rustic feeling of the film's soundtrack with their use of strings, guitar, and dobro, but orchestral and choral pieces like "Preparing the Chariots" and "Horn of Plenty" capture the pomp and circumstance the Capitol attaches to the children's sacrifices. The big drums on "Countdown" and "Booby Trap" are Newton's main concession to pulse-pounding action, but far more often he wisely chooses eerie drones and percussion as a way to ratchet up the tension, as he does at the end of "The Cave." It's only on "Muttations" that he turns the brass, guitar and drums up to 11, but by that time, he has earned it. Newton's score is one more fine piece of The Hunger Games experience, even if it's not the showiest one.

Customer Reviews

Hungry for more!

This soundtrack sounded brilliant when played during the actual movie - which was phenomenal - but by itself, there isn't much substance to it and it feels lacking in something. What I really want to find is the music that played during the trailer. Now that was something that was brilliant either in or out of the movie.

Disappointing...But brilliant nonetheless

Not the best score around, and so I'd hoped for it to be that, but I can work with this. :]

Perfectly fitted to the Hunger Games atmosphere

James Newton Howard, what a legend.
Personally I think the Countdown is one of the most effective pieces of music when you put it together with the actual film - the seconds counting down to the bloodbath.
Needless to say, Rue's farewell is quite obviously, choking. Cried at the book, just managed not to cry in the theatre. My friends either side of me were already crying, I didn't think they needed me adding to it ^^
The main theme is brilliant too, I thought it really created a fitting introduction to District 12 right at the beginning of the film.
The Cave has got to be a favourite as well.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go re-read the book with this playing in the background.


Born: 09 June 1951 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

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

Pianist, producer, and composer James Newton Howard scored over 60 films beginning in the mid-'80s, including The Fugitive, The Prince of Tides, Pretty Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Batman Begins, Michael Clayton, and the Hunger Games series. Howard began taking classical piano lessons at the age of four, playing on a piano owned by his grandmother, who was the Pittsburgh Symphony's concertmaster and violinist during the 1930s and '40s. He went on to study at the USC School of Music and at the Music...
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