On first listen, Alan Silvestri's score for Mummy director Stephen Sommers' vampire flick Van Helsing is an arc-less barrage of cartoon bombast that beats the listener into submission from its very first cue. It's only after repeated spins that the veteran composer's voice can be heard over the unrelenting charge of brass and timpanis, revealing a man enthralled with needle-burying decibels, hurling his baton into the air with maniacal laughter. Silvestri knows that popcorn tastes better when the walls of the theater are buckling, and his decision to omit anything remotely pastoral on the audio end of the spectrum makes for a heart-pumping -- albeit forgettable -- experience. The larger-than-life aspects of the film's monster-exterminating protagonist and his nemeses are mirrored by the gargantuan choral arrangements that appear on nearly every track, painting each frame in gothic grays and snowy whites -- even "Transylvanian Horses"' banjo appears threatening. Summer blockbusters -- and the formulaic music that accompanies them -- may be the gastronomical equivalent of fast food, but junk that's delivered this effortlessly and professionally deserves some kind of award.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
|Van Helsing, film score|