Howard Shore

Dogma [Original Soundtrack]

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Kevin Smith may have said that he considers Dogma "a pro-faith, pro-Catholic, spiritually uplifting dick-and-fart-joke movie," but make no mistake about it -- it was his stab at proving his worth as a visual filmmaker. For all their virtues, his first three films were visually static, something he corrected with Dogma. For the first time, he shot in widescreen, hired a real cinematographer, and told things visually. He also broke from his pop-music tradition and hired Howard Shore to write a score for the film. Apart from Alanis Morissette's "Still" -- a good tune, reminiscent of a less ominous version of "Uninvited," that closes the film and opens the soundtrack -- the soundtrack consists entirely of Shore's alternately melodramatic and humorous score. Some Smith fans may miss the snippets of dialogue that graced the Clerks and Mallrats soundtracks, and they probably won't feel right about the orchestrations, even the tongue-in-cheekiness of the children's tune "Mooby the Golden Calf." And that helps signal the maturation of Kevin Smith -- he's not only confident enough to have Shore write a rich, effective score for Dogma, but he's willing to release it as a separate entity, unconcerned that a certain portion of his audience won't respond to a soundtrack not loaded with pop/rock tunes. Dogma, the film, is undeniably a Smith film, though, and, in a way, so is the score -- it has a mix of wit, obviousness, drama, and insight, just like the best of Smith's films. His cult will certainly like the film, but if they're less than convinced by the soundtrack album, they should just keep in mind that they're lucky to have an actual soundtrack album this time around, after the debacle of Chasing Amy -- which should have had a soundtrack album, but didn't, because of various legal entanglements.

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