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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Down To Earth Action Score That Has A Homey Feel & Is Full Of Heart. It Reawakens The 9-year Old Boy Inside, December 1, 2011
This review is from: Real Steel (Danny Elfman) (Audio CD)
I think Danny Elfman is one of the hardest composers to put a finger on most notably because his style changes a lot. While he remains one of the greatest auteurs in the film music world, his style does change very often. I would find it pretty impressive if anyone listening to this blindly would guess Danny Elfman scored it. So what does that mean? Nothing, it's just an observation. The score is pretty good though.

Ever want to listen to something that is just pure inspiration? Something that is as far away from pretentious scoring as you can get? Well, Real Steel may be for you then. That's what this score is. It's a down to earth story that we've all heard or seen before in some fashion, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. The simple instrumentation makes it feel like a romcom score, but Elfman executes it with such precision that you can't help exposing your heart strings for some tugging. Then we get into the action music. Elfman mixes in strings with some hard electronics to give the score its robotic aggression. The score is all about overcoming the odds and it's an underdog story. So you should go in expecting everything your initial expectations were. The score is good at delivering those great "we did it!" moments, and it gave me some heartwarming chills now and then. I enjoyed it, which is something because I haven't been enjoying non-Burton Danny Elfman lately that much.

The score takes some inspiration from Conti and Zimmer (maybe more Jablonsky than Zimmer), but it's a great experience. It's something I could see 9-year old boys listening to on their iPods while sitting in the back seat of the car. Just like I was listening to The Rock when I was 9 on my Sony Walkman in the backseat of my parents' car. Enjoy this score because it truly is enjoyable. Danny Elfman never overdoes it and truly does inspire without making you cringe. I was surprised it turned out as well as it did, but don't let your pretentious thinking keep you away from this gem. It goes down smooth and you'll be coming back for more.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 5, 2011 12:52:56 PM PST
agreed. good review

Posted on Dec 15, 2011 3:40:15 PM PST
Norm Cash says:
I don't know what you mean by pretentious scoring--or pretentious thinking. Danny Elfman is as pigeon-holed a film composer as they come--not that it's a bad thing. I enjoy Elfman. However, he is distinct and not one of the hardest composer to put a finger on. This review reads like a writers' formula. Anyone got "prententious"?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2011 4:39:50 PM PST
Kaya Savas says:
By pretentious scoring I mean something like Philip Glass where the music is its own entity and really doesn't serve the story and it's there just to exist (some people may love Philip Glass but not me). Then you have pretentious listeners who chastise and trash scores because they aren't traditional or maybe are too "modern" whatever that term means anymore. I know a few people who hated Harry's score to Unstoppable but I loved it. Everyone has a pretentious bone in their body and some people like to exercise it on things they believe are beneath them. I know a few who did so with this film. All I'm saying is relax and enjoy some decent formulaic scoring and don't treat it like it's supposed to be Lawrence Of Arabia.

As for calling my review formulaic just remember that I run a site and review about 5 scores a week on top of interviewing 2-3 composers a month. So, yeah, maybe my writing is a bit formulaic so that my readers can get the bullet points and then listen to the score themselves. And it helps get in a flow when I need to pump out reviews during awards season. I'm not Henry James writing Turn Of The Screw here just like Danny Elfman isn't composing Schindler's List here.
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