Troy Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Troy by James Horner.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 79.2
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 41.8
Album Excellence: 39.4%
Troy is a 2014 epic period war drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana & Orlando Bloom. It is based on Homer’s Iliad. Homer’s sprawling tale of love and war in ancient Greece comes to the screen in all its grandeur in this epic-scale adventure. In 1193 B.C., Paris, Prince of Troy (Orlando Bloom), has fallen in love; however, the beautiful woman who has beguiled him is Helen, Queen of Sparta (Diane Kruger), who is wed to King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson). While Helen is hardly immune to Paris’ charms, this doesn’t blunt Menelaus’ fury when Paris steals her away from him. Menelaus’ brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox), the power-hungry king of the Mycenaeans, is eager to expand his empire through Troy to the lands of the Aegean Sea, and he uses Paris’ romantic slight against Menelaus as an excuse to wage an all-out war against the great walled city. Priam, King of Troy (Peter O’Toole), summons his armies, led by Prince Hector (Eric Bana), to meet the onslaught of Agamemnon’s forces, but while the great city has yet to yield in a battle, Agamemnon has a formidable ally — Achilles (Brad Pitt), a mighty and seemingly unstoppable warrior whose presence could tip the scales in Agamemnon’s favor. The score is composed by James Horner.
There’s always been a little bit of controversy on the soundtrack forums about this score. It is well known that Horner wasn’t originally attached to this movie. In fact, a full score by Gabriel Yared had been finished and just weeks before the premiere of the film, Horner was brought on to write a replacement score. The fabled Yared score has never been officially released, but it’s out there if you want to have a listen. The official score by Horner was released by Reprise Records in 2004, but now Intrada Records bring us an expanded release on 2 CDs with around 30 minutes of extra music from the film plus a few alternates. While we wait for the official release of Yared’s score one day, Horner fans will be cheering for this one. For some, it will be the excitement of another Peterson/Horner collaboration after the excellent The Perfect Storm, a score I think is vastly underrated.
The score opens with ‘Armies Approach (Original Version)’ a statement of intent from Horner with heavy percussion and the epic voice of Tanja Tzarovska. It’s no overture like you could hear in the classic epics often scored by Rozsa or Bernstein. It’s a more mysterious and calm "teaser" that sounds really good, but isn’t quite what one would hope for given the scope of this movie. In fact it does take a while for the epic to actually kick in and I think it’s formally starting with the almost 11 minute long ‘The Myrmidons’. In this one you can hear a lot of Horner-ism and while it might not be the most epic you’ve ever heard from Horner, in the context of this score it’s the best you’re going to get. Still, there’s something lacking here, not just something in fact but quite a lot. Horner which usually puts together amazing motifs like he did in Peterson’s The Perfect Storm is a bit under the weather here, although you can clearly hear one of the better themes in ‘Never Hesitate’ and ‘The Myrmidons’. Maybe it was a time issue. Horner had a few weeks to put together an epic score this movie deserves and I can’t say that he’s succeeded in that. Still, I’m glad it is out there for anyone to own.
5. Never Hesitate
7. The Myrmidons
13. A Trojan Victory
16. Mistaken Identity (The Trojans Attack)
22. Priam Takes Briseis
25. The Sacking Of Troy And End Credits