Soundtrack Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman by James Newton Howard

Snow White and the Huntsman Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Snow White and the Huntsman by James Newton Howard.

“Snow White and the Huntsman is a dark, complex and delightful snack of scoring heaven.”

Snow White and the Huntsman tells the story about when the evil queen sent the Huntsman to kill Snow White, but he ends up being her greatest protector against evil. Directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Kirsten Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, this appear to be the best film based on the Snow White universe so far. Excitement is sky high and James Newton Howard is doing the score.

Track List

1. Snow White 100
2. I’ll Take Your Throne 80
3. Tower Prayers 80
4. Something for What Ails You 80
5. Escape From the Tower 100
6. You Failed Me Finn 100
7. White Horse 100
8. Journey to Fenland 80
9. Fenland in Flames 80
10. Sanctuary 100
11. White Hart 100
13. I Remember That Trick 80
14. Death Favors No Man 80
15. Warriors on the Beach 100
16. You Can Not Defeat Me 100
17. You Can’t Have My Heart 100
18. Coronation 100

I tried to avoid all the leaked samples and tracks from this score in recent weeks, I really did, but the task appeared to be impossible. I got a sneak peek of what was going to come soon and maybe it was the low quality samples, but I wasn’t too impressed. Perhaps I heard it out of context? Nevertheless, I refused to let my excitement be killed so I waited and now it’s here, James Newton Howard’s latest fantasy score.

The Hunger Games was very disappointing for me and I keep going back to the mesmerizing score “The Last Airbender” as a benchmark and a near perfect fantasy score from James. Luckily he has taken us there in large parts of the score, not that it sounds similar, but the feeling I get is quite similar. The themes are here, for example in the opening cue ‘Snow White’ where the main theme is heard in all it’s glory. Stunning stuff from James Newton Howard, but you know what? I got a flashback to the Narnia series, even though the theme isn’t a straight duplicate, but clearly inspired by it.

This score is filled with emotional cues like ‘You Failed Me Finn’ and ‘You Can’t Have My Heart’, but what really got me was how great the action cues sounded. ‘Escape From the Tower’ and ‘White Horse’ shows a new side from James, a darker and heavier side. Sure, he channels Zimmer a bit, but it feels like it has immense power on it’s own and this is something I feel Howard was lacking in his repertoire. Now that it’s here, what else is there? He can do anything!

Listen to the score on Spotify:

Conclusion

Snow White and the Huntsman is a dark, complex and delightful snack of scoring heaven. James get it right and there’s not a weak cue in sight. This is so good that my expectations for the film has risen to unimaginable heights and yes, it even beats Giacchino’s “John Carter” as the best score of the year so far for me.

GEEK SCORE: 91.7

Buy the score at Amazon, Amazon MP3 or iTunes.

Listen to Snow White and the Huntsman by James Newton Howard below:

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Soundtrack Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), 8.9 out of 10 based on 47 ratings
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  • http://flavors.me/dnwilliams dnwilliams

    Oh wow. Just listened to it once through, and I love JNH, but wasn’t immediately struck. Definitely prefer a theme or two from TLA and John Carter still beats it for me. Hopefully a few more listens will deepen my appreciation.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Give it time. When I listened to the full thing the first time I was convinced that this was great stuff, but probably not the best this year. Now I’m not so sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AV1020 Andres Vargas

    Just bought the score after reading this review. Great score. I’ve been waiting for something like this from JNH since last airbender and FINALLY!

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Yeah I love it, I was so disappointed with The Hunger Games, but this makes up for it.

  • Sauloc_ferreira

    John Carter is better… IMO, more memorables themes and more narrative and an extraordinary end credits suite, sorry, I think that only the Hobbit is going to beat that this year…

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Well we both have our favorites, but I sincerely hope that Hobbit will be even better.

  • http://profiles.google.com/flamingpenguin2 Stephen Noell

    It didn’t stick out to me as much on the first listen as the Last Airbender, but as I’m listening to it again, I’m finding I like it better and better. It’s definitely classic JNH; as you stated, there are a lot of references to his previous works, and it mostly works well. Neat score; glad to see JNH back in form.

  • Rory Williams

    The movie was amazing and the score really helped. By the way, does anyone know where the music that plays in the prologue when Ravena’s army takes over the castle and Snow and William are seperated is? I can’t seem to find it.

  • hans castorp

    For me this soundtrack beats season 2 of Game of Thrones for soundtrack of the year, so
    far. JNH really came back strong after a string of forgettable works. It’s amazing how he combines the
    depth and emotion of scores like Unbreakable and Blood Diamond with the intensity of gems like ”I am
    legend” into a score which truly send shivers down my spine.

    My favorite cue is “Death favors no man”. I am listening to that song and when it begins, it’s like
    I’m in the middle of the dream world from Inception, with the mood from that score, and instead of
    houses and places from my childhood I have built a world from my favorite cues…there’s the last track
    from Graeme Ravel’s “Blow”, a little further I recognize moods from John Murphy’s “Miami Vice”
    score…there’s a little from Thomas Newman’s best sounds…it even makes me think of Christophe Becks’
    score for Buffy, and later, from somewhere far away, Will Smith charges towards me with a lonely
    German shepard named Sam by his side…

    Other highlights are “Snow white” ( great piano parts, made me think of James Horner and his various
    piano based scores) and “Coronation”, the beginning at the end, so suitable for a fairy tale, such
    wonderful introduction and exit…“You failed me Finn”, ”White hart” and “I remember that trick”, which
    reminds me a lot of the wonder that was “The last airbender”, especially “Flow like water”. It’s cut from
    the same genius, from the same moment of inspiration…”Sanctuary”, such an amazing peaceful song.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Snow White is still my number one score this year. Can’t understand why so many soundtrack critics don’t rate it very highly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Issidro-Rodriguez-Avila/1138983423 Issidro Rodriguez Avila

    i like the score but i fell that in the movie some parts are lost with the fx

  • KK

    Just reviewed this. I wouldn’t give it as high a rating as you did because I felt there certainly were several weak cues. But it has its moments:
    http://musicmusekk.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/snow-white-and-the-huntsman-james-newton-howard/

    - KK

  • http://www.facebook.com/spacecadetbling Benjamin Ling

    Thematically a great soundtrack, but I’ve a pet peeve of beautiful tracks suddenly shifting into a sudden change of mood. That’s how “White Hart” was ruined for me even though it fits the context of the film.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com/ Jørn Tillnes

      I don’t know. I think it worked well. Wish JNH had created a suite with all the best bits as a bonus track. That would have been awesome.

  • brightchrist97

    I see that you have mentioned The Last Airbender Score…James was at his absolute best during his cue “Flow Like Water’, but its not unprecedented. James have already achieved something on par with that in an almost forgotten score done by him back in 2007: The Water Horse. Check out the calming and beautiful Newton-Style orchestral brushstrokes James had splattered all over the mystical canvas: A mysterious sea creature and a boy as a friend? That calls for the best in James Newton Howard.
    Check out the 6 minute cue ‘Swimming’. The dramatic drumming, the swirling strings and soothing choir replicate the properties of water. The Scottish aftertaste almost reminded me of the How to Train Your Dragon score.

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