Album: Pearl Harbor: Original Soundtrack

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Album:

Pearl Harbor: Original Soundtrack

Artist: Hans Zimmer
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Label: Warner Bros / Wea

According to a Hollywood tradition that stretches all the way back to From Here to Eternity, there’s never been anything quite so romantic as the idyllic days and hours before torpedo and dive bombers from the Japanese Imperial Navy blew the bejesus out of the unsuspecting U.S. fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor. Far be it for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay to, er, rock the boat. Just as Bruckheimer and Bay did with Armageddon (where romance blossomed in the idyllic days and hours before a Texas-sized asteroid threatened to blow the…

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According to a Hollywood tradition that stretches all the way back to From Here to Eternity, there’s never been anything quite so romantic as the idyllic days and hours before torpedo and dive bombers from the Japanese Imperial Navy blew the bejesus out of the unsuspecting U.S. fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor. Far be it for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay to, er, rock the boat. Just as Bruckheimer and Bay did with Armageddon (where romance blossomed in the idyllic days and hours before a Texas-sized asteroid threatened to blow the bejesus out of Earth itself), they’ve again turned to über-hitmaker Diane Warren to set the tone; as sung by Faith Hill, “There You’ll Be” strikes the perfect balance of apocalyptic bathos, as instantly inviting—and ultimately hollow—as an 89-cent chocolate bunny. Composer Hans Zimmer fares a bit better, though his piano dirge and orchestral score occasionally get mired in the syrup as they build toward the inevitable. The action sequences themselves are somewhat subdued (especially by previous Zimmer standards), with “December 7th” even echoing Platoon and Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Crucially, Zimmer evokes the tragic loss that goes hand in hand with heroism, often no mean feat in a modern computer-effects-laden, megabudget blockbuster-in-waiting. —Jerry McCulley

Hans Zimmer’s lush and romantic Pearl Harbor album inverts every expectation of what a World War II epic should sound like. Zimmer previously explored the American Pacific war in The Thin Red Line (1998), though this time he takes a more commercial direction. The programme opens with the power ballad by Faith Hill, “There You’ll Be”, establishing in the wake of Titanic (1997) this as blockbuster mixing romance with maritime disaster hoping for a share of the success that came Celine Dion’s way. The eight orchestral cues concentrate on romance and the pity of war, ranging from noble melancholy to an elevated spiritual purity. The choral writing incorporated into “December 7th” continues a direction Zimmer explored with Hannibal (2001), where he similarly underlined the heart rather than the horror. Only during “War” do the snare drums finally arrive for a rousing slice of patriotic and exciting action with the military sensibility continued into the valedictory “Heart of a Volunteer”. The heavily processed orchestra is familiar from Zimmer’s Gladiator (2000), the composer continuing his knack of delivering an instantly memorable theme which retains interest through numerous moods and variations. Augmented by wistful piano and ethereal choir, Pearl Harbor is melodic and accessible and has every chance of being the most popular instrumental soundtrack of 2001. —Gary S Dalkin

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Film:Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Michael Bay

To call Pearl Harbor a throwback to old-time war movies is something of an understatement. Director Michael Bay’s epic take on the bombing that brought the United States into World War II hijacks every war movie situation and cliché (some affectionate, some stale) you’ve ever seen and gives them a shiny, glossy spin until the whole movie practically gleams. Planes glisten, water sparkles, trees beckon—and Bay’s re-creation of the bombing itself, a 30-minute sequence that’s tightly choreographed and amazingly photographed, sets the action movie bar up quite…

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