I want to talk about reputation. The new superhero fuckfest The Avengers is Hulk-smashing its way into your attention span this weekend whether you want it to or not. While reviews so far have been glowing, reviews of the music score have been less so.
Behold, score and cover art font genericness!
After listening to this, I feel like I’ve been waiting in line for forty-five minutes at Disneyland’s Soarin’. A little inspired, a little tired, and I couldn’t hum it back to you if you held a gun to my dog’s head.
It’s music brought to us by Alan Silvestri, the man who is responsible for what I to believe one of the all-time greatest film scores, his work on Back to the Future. Behold, the goosebumps!
Silvestri worked as steadily as his constant collaborator, Robert Zemeckis, worked. Which is to say, he worked a lot in the 80′s, less in the 90′s, and not a lot now. Back to the Future is a thrilling, emotional, humorous, memorable score that I put on as high a pedestal as others do with all of John Williams’s work. I think it’s a superior score to Indiana Jones.
However, where Silvestri lets me down is that his body of work is less imposing then Williams’s or even Danny Elfman’s. It’s more classic Hollywood, where even dramas got a little cheeky. Today’s Hollywood, the post 9/11 Hollywood, is less jovial. Movies feel they must convey Importance. Or, rather, ImPORtance! The fate of the world and our souls are what’s at stake in nearly every film.
Even Lost, a TV show about a group of people trying to save their own lives, revealed that the end game was to prevent the world from falling into Hell. Or something. I can’t remember. It wasn’t a great season.
Watch the trailers for Avengers and the new one for The Dark Knight Rises. The stakes are always turned to 11. The music scores are equally monotone and bassy.
So, what is to blame for the sorriness of that new Silvestri score? His age? Is he a mediocre scorer who experienced flashes of greatness twenty years ago? Did the movie not get under his skin enough to inspire him?
And as for reputation, is it better to retire after a hit and be remembered, unsullied? Or will Silvestri find his way back again? Where’s that Back to the Future Marty magic?