John Williams

War of the Worlds [Music from the Motion Picture]

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Steven Spielberg and John Williams are as inseparable a team as any in the industry, so it comes as no surprise that the soundtrack to the director's adaptation of the famed Orson Welles radio play is a near-perfect study in tension, release, and more tension. Williams plays with elements from many of his previous scores, most notably the dissonant brass that he introduced in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws. The pace is relentless, with dread building like the inevitable invasion itself, pausing only to offer ambient moments of familial warmth, concern, and agony through the soft strings that have become a Williams staple since A.I. It's a tough listen, as even the normally calming voice of Morgan Freeman, whose narration bookends the score, can't seem to get out of the depths from which it has fallen. In the context of the film, Williams' vision for War of the Worlds more than matches the apocalyptic dread of Welles' original vision, but as a stand-alone listening experience, only those with a true fanboy masochistic streak will be able to withstand such a continuous and ominous barrage of sci-fi dissonance.

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