Spectre Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Spectre by Thomas Newman.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 92
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 43.9
Album Excellence: 56.3%
Spectre Is a 2015 action film directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz and Monica Belucci. Spectre is the 24th film in the James Bond series. A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks. The score is composed by Thomas Newman.
There are few films (and scores) which get more attention than a new James Bond project. The agent is live and well and so is the excitement. The last film Skyfall was different musically than the previous Bond films, because David Arnold had been replaced by Thomas Newman. Newman is back for Spectre and promise to improve on Skyfall, at least that’s my hope. The score for Skyfall wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that’s understandable since David Arnold’s Bond scores were pretty much universally loved. Still, I enjoyed Skyfall. It wasn’t quite up to the level I had hoped, but Newman surprised me with some great action music. I hope he can continue devloping his “Bond style” for Spectre and prove a few more doubters wrong. I guess we’re staring in Mexico with a cue name such as ‘Los Muertos Vivos Estan’ and it starts so subtle, you barely know there’s music on before a rhythmic sequence is starting, a sort of Mexican/Spanish flair to it. The classic James Bond theme written by John Barry is used heavily throughout the opening cue (EDIT: As a few people have pointed out. Monty Norman is in some places credited for writing the theme, but I don’t believe that for a second. John Barry said he wrote the theme, but lost a couple of lawsuits in the process. But when you listen to Monty Norman’s only Bond score Dr. No and listen to the subsequent John Barry scores, you’ll immediately hear the Barry sound being a lot more similar. If Norman wrote the theme, why is Dr. No sounding like it is? It doesn’t sound anything remotely like the theme unlike Barry’s forthcoming Bond scores. Even Milan Records who recently re-released Dr. No credited the main theme to John Barry Orchestra. So that’s my take on it, and I hope I don’t get sued for having an opinion.). Well, this is Bond, that much is clear. It’s exciting and Bond has a certain style to the music whether it’s Newman, Arnold, Kamen or Barry, you can feel that it’s Bond. I like the way this score sounds so far. ‘Vauxhall Bridge’ is also quit exciting, but a bit more “soft” sounding because of the lack of percussion, but I love the little bass “pump” in there and there’s a certain feeling that this could be inspired by John Powell’s Bourne as well.
The first couple of scores has been action-filled compared to the next two which is more textural in nature. ‘The Eternal City’ is soft and calm, sounding adventurous as well. If the Bond theme wasn’t present in there, it could fit a more Indiana Jones type adventure as he enters the cave of something evil and mysterious. I love the sound of it and same goes for ‘Donna Lucia’, there’s something magical about that hazy flute Newman is using. Love it. Of course the theme 45 seconds in is exciting as well, having that “classic” feel about it. The action in Skyfall wasn’t the greatest apart from a few exceptions, but with the cue ‘Backfire’, Newman brings more potent and fun action than I have ever heard from him before and that’s without betraying the Bond principles. It still sounds Bond and the action is awesome. The horns, yay for the horns. And the massive choir, wow, that is something else. ‘Snow Planes’ is also a massive action cue, amazing! I know there are a lot of haters of Sam Smith’s James Bond song “Writing On The Wall” and to be honest, it’s not too great, but there’s an instrumental version of the cue which isn’t so bad. Actually quite catchy.
I enjoyed this. Is it better than Skyfall? Well, it’s certainly more action oriented which may or may not be a good thing. I enjoyed the action though even though it started to feel a bit generic in the end. My heart skipped a beat every time I heard some references to the classic James Bond theme and it was used enough throughout the score. What do you think of the score?
1. Los Muertos Vivos Estan
2. Vauxhall Bridge
3. The Eternal City
4. Donna Lucia
6. Backfire *
7. Crows Klinik
11. Snow Plane *
15. Writing On The Wall (Instrumental)
19. Tempus Fugit
20. Safe House
24. Westminster Bridge
25. Out Of Bullets