Like nearly everything associated with Ang Lee's film adaptation of The Hulk, Danny Elfman's score for the movie feels more than a little off. In this case, Elfman tries to fuse his own quirky, often tense style with a more overtly serious, droning sound that feels more akin to the work of Hans Zimmer. The results are a collection of music that's strangely unbalanced and disappointing, especially considering how effective his score for Spider-Man was. On pieces such as "Main Titles," "Dad's Visit," and "Bruce's Memories," which focus on Elfman's elaborate arrangements and dynamics, as well as his cascading string motif for Bruce Banner/the Hulk, the score works pretty well, but the recurring ethereal vocals and fiddles that pop up throughout other parts of the score sound like they belong in another film. Likewise, cuts such as "Captured" and "Hulk's Freedom" develop a quasi-Arabian sound that is both relatively interesting and well done, but doesn't have much to do with either the rest of Elfman's score or the story of the Hulk. Other tracks, like "Hounds of Hell" and "The Lake Battle," bludgeon the listener with extreme percussion and sawing strings in hopes of (literally) drumming up some suspense. Not surprisingly, the fusion of styles that Elfman is going for works the best on some of the score's quieter pieces, such as "The Truth Revealed" and "Gentle Giant," which take to the Middle Eastern touches much more naturally. Still, much like the movie it supports, Elfman's score sounds like a botched hybrid of too many disparate elements. Similarly, "Set Me Free," which is performed by Stone Temple Pilots' Weiland, several former Guns N' Roses members (Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum), and former Wasted Youth-er Dave Kushner, is a loud but curiously inert fusion of too many incompatible heavy metal- and hard rock-isms. Presumably, the only people interested in this soundtrack will be either people who enjoyed the movie or die-hard Elfman fans; the former already know what to expect, while the latter might wonder if Elfman -- or his music, anyway -- hasn't undergone some strange transformation.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
|The Hulk, film score|