James Horner

Batteries Not Included

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At first blush Batteries Not Included may seem another of James Horner's slapdash, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink scores, but while it does embrace an eclectic array of styles and approaches, this slight but charming effort possesses a focus missing from the composer's lesser efforts. The off-the-wall plot -- sentient UFOs are stranded on Earth -- affords Horner the opportunity to explore considerable ground, and he responds with themes that span from effervescent big-band tributes ("Café Swing") to dark, dissonant soundscapes (the six-minute "Arson"). What keeps it all together is the pure Hollywood classicism of Horner's vision. Batteries Not Included beautifully captures the sense of imagination and wonder so central to the cinematic experience, with none of the emotional bludgeoning that hampers so much of the composer's music.

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