James Newton Howard - underappreciated ?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Simon Massey, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    I have been taken to listening to a few samples from my favourite soundtracks recently which included the following

    1. Peter Pan flying theme
    2. Sixth Sense title theme
    3. Unbreakable title theme and railway station sequence theme
    4. Dinosaur opening sequence

    As well as thinking how great these themes were it suddenly struck me that James Newton Howard had written all of these and I didnt even realise this. I could not think of another film which he had scored outside M Night Shyamalan's films yet these particular 4 themes were so great I checked out his filmography as a composer. Quite a collection of films. Anyone recommend one of his other scores which might be as good as these ?

    One of the things I did notice about these themes is that they seem to build to a musical climax only to suddenly stop. Its almost as if he is trying to leave you wanting more, but there are such good themes, it almost feels like they are incomplete. Its not quite so bad in the Dinosaur them but the Peter Pan and the Unbreakable theme (the railway station sequence)feel incomplete. I love the themes but just want them to go on a bit longer [​IMG]

    Any other fans of Howard notice this ?
     
  2. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    The man is judicious in his leitmotif. My favorite score of his was for Alive.
     
  3. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    He's really become one of my favorites in recent years. If you're just looking to sample a few cues besides the ones listed, try:

    The Hand of Fate I, Signs
    Let 'Er Buck, Hidalgo
    The Submarine, Atlantis: The Lost Empire
    The Gravel Road, The Village
    Jim Saves the Crew, Treasure Planet
    Main Credits, Waterworld
    Malcom is Dead
    , The Sixth Sense (don't highlight if you have not see the movie)
    Into the Fog, Dave
     
  4. Ben Osborne

    Ben Osborne Second Unit

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    Simon, I have noticed that too, but I think it's a good thing. Howard leaves the listener wanting more. But his scores don't feel incomplete to me -- they feel satisfying. There's always one or two tracks that really seem to let loose ("Flying" and "I Do Believe in Faries" from Peter Plan; "The Hospital" and "The Fire" from Restoration, "The Orange Man" from Unbreakable, etc.).
     
  5. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    You should give The Village a spin . [​IMG] Inspired stuff and just sheer greatness. One of the best and original soundtracks of 2004.
     
  6. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Thanks Tim, I do remember The Village being a great score, as was Signs, but my favourite "Shyamalan score" remain The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.
     
  7. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I need to re-visit Unbreakable and Signs on dvd too. Then, buy the cd with all the positives here. I barely noticed it in The Sixth Sense . Maybe I was just too absorbed in the film. I do remember it being very effective though.

    Good thread. Always like threads that emphasize the soundtrack/composers as these are vital to the films.
     
  8. Adam_ME

    Adam_ME Supporting Actor

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    Unbreakable is one of my all-time favorite scores. Every great superhero movie needs equally great music, and Howard provided that.

    I also dug his scores for The Fugitive and Snow Falling On Cedars. Both are very underrated.
     
  9. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Tim

    Listen to the opening theme of The Sixth Sense with the credits and then the score at the end when Malcolm finds out what's up....

    Those are the main highlights for me.
     
  10. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    Let's hope he gets appreciation before he becomes the late, lamented , underappreciated James Newton Howard, composer!
     
  11. Robert James Clark

    Robert James Clark Second Unit

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    I've always felt that Howard's score to Grand Canyon was the best thing in that movie.

    Come to think of it, his scores are frequently the best things in his films...
     

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