Tropic Thunder is a Ben Stiller-starring parody of action movies like Rambo, and Theodore Shapiro, whose previous scores include comedies like Not Another Teen Movie and Blades of Glory, clearly was the right composer to provide its music. Trained at Brown and Juilliard, Shapiro knows his film music, past and present, and he provides a tongue-in-cheek master class in stylistic borrowings and bombast to accompany all the faux action. Using an orchestra of 91 (consisting of the kind of players who also play the music he's making fun of), plus electric rock musicians and programmers, he evokes Hollywood heavyweights of the past such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Jerry Goldsmith early on, and in the body of his score demonstrates his familiarity with the current A-list of big-budget writers like Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, and James Horner as well. Appropriately, there's no subtlety here, just pounding rhythms, soaring melodies, and suspenseful string parts, all executed in short bursts. And at the end, in case there's any doubt about who he has in his sights, the last cue is called "Cue Bill Conti." The score to Tropic Thunder is an affectionate and knowing satire of the history of Hollywood action movie music, penned by an insider.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Tropic Thunder, film score|