Composer James Horner’s list of film scores is long and accomplished, especially long. “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” “Commando,” “Aliens,” and “Apocalypto” are just a few of his gems. He won an Oscar for James Cameron’s “Titanic,” and returns to score for the director with the much hyped “Avatar” due out December 18th.
A recent interview with Horner about scoring Avatar and working with Cameron on the biggest budget film yet made is revealing of both. I think his comments highlight what is so tiresome about modern film scores and big budget composers who tend to influence every moment of a film with some emotional musical cue.
“To me a love story works as a counter to all the fanboy stuff. Without it, the film is just an unbelievable visual treat and at the end of it you don’t have an emotional feeling or connection. You’ve seen epic gun battles you’ve never seen before but, in your heart, if you’re a 17-year-old girl, why would you ever go see that?” he told the LA Times.
First off, the need to throw in a love story just to give a film any substantive validity is something I reject utterly. It is a corrupt notion. But he’s right about the CGI and effects overkill of course. It’s nice to hear the importance of story emphasized over vapid thrills, though cheesy tacked on love interests are not prerequisites for good story, only for 17 year old girls.
“My job — and it’s something I discuss with Jim all the time — is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart. When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears — at all times I’m keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role,” Horner continued.
So his job is to jam down our throats what we are supposed to be feeling. Is it because audiences are too stupid to figure out what they should be feeling or because these guys are actually so obsessed with huge flatulent effects that there really is no story to speak of, nothing to make you feel anything? Horner seems to think they know the difference and that there is truly an effort made for good story… somewhere in there. Dig the dig at Michael Bay:
“But if it was Michael Bay making this movie we wouldn’t be having this conversation. These things wouldn’t matter …Jim knows that a movie can become swamped in just unbelievable imagery and that it becomes hollow.”
I love a good swipe at Bay, that’s the best thing about Uwe Boll. Speaking of that, you have to check out this irreverent piece on Cameron and Bay. Funniest thing I’ve seen online all week.