Hans Zimmer

Pearl Harbor [Music from the Motion Picture]

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This one isn't too hard to figure. Big-budget action film producer Jerry Bruckheimer, looking at the receipts for Titanic, must have had his staff search the history books for another big disaster that could be turned into a similar romance-with-special-effects, and they came up with the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Perfect: That allowed for war footage akin to Saving Private Ryan. The hiring of director Michael Bay must have seemed obvious, at least to Bruckheimer, who had him handle Armageddon, which also featured Ben Affleck, here moving up to above-the-title star status. And finally, there's the soundtrack album, which had to feature a big end-title ballad in which a woman sang to her dead lover. Who else to write it but heartbreak ballad queen Diane Warren, and who else to sing it but diva-of-the-moment Faith Hill? Mix the elements, open it on Memorial Day weekend, and wait for the receipts to pour in. Not surprisingly, however, Pearl Harbor is no Titanic, Hill is no Celine Dion, and "There You'll Be" is no "My Heart Will Go On," though all of them do reasonable enough imitations to get by. Like the Titanic soundtrack album, this one has just the one pop song, followed by excerpts from Hans Zimmer's score. Zimmer is no James Horner, either, but his music is relentlessly slow and wistful, suggesting a film in which the action is a long time coming. Four straight tracks of dirge-like orchestral music topped by the wordless vocals of Julia Migenes go by before "Attack" signals that the fight has begun, and even that track falls off into a becalmed passage before long. Just before the end, "War" works up some martial pacing, but only to give the score an appropriately majestic sendoff. Like the film, the music seems recycled.

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