James Horner

A Far Off Place

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With his ham-fisted appropriation of ethnic instruments, rhythms, and sensibilities, James Horner is the Ugly American of Hollywood composers, bastardizing the musical traditions of other cultures to create blandly generic scores bankrupt of authenticity and creativity. While A Far Off Place, a children's film set in Africa's Kalahari Desert, would seem a fecund source for strong and unique musical ideas, Horner shoves still more the same old crap down our collective throats, employing his beloved Japanese shakuhachi flute far more prominently than any more appropriate ethnic elements, and regurgitating melodies you've heard umpteen times before. One must conclude Horner has compromising photos of every producer in Tinseltown -- how else to explain the plum projects he consistently pulls down?

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