James Horner

The Rocketeer (Music from the Original Motion Soundtrack)

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Before Titanic, James Horner was not above composing scores for cartoonish family films, and many of those that brought him on their production board owe him greatly. The Rocketeer directed by Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji, October Sky) entails the story of a young pilot during World War II who happens upon a rocket pack that allows him to fly. The film is based on the tradition of old film serials that left theater-goers hanging with "To be continued," and aside from modern production, it is old fashioned and innocent fun. Horner's score begins and ends with the brilliant "Main Title," which is so moving it was used in previews for later films that did not yet have finished scores. Most of the Rocketeer soundtrack elicits the adventure and lifting spirit of the film and reveals how Horner incorporates rich instrumentals in the tiniest crevices. Even when the film involves danger, as in "Jenny's Rescue," the composer takes care when it is hardly even required. Instead of some "duh-duh-duhs," he brings on a full, stunning orchestra and when he overdoes it, it is in a jolly way -- he never exhausts his medium. That is what separates him from inferior composers, and what makes a nice film like The Rocketeer extra nice. It is a soundtrack worth listening to, and Melora Hardin's covers of E.A. Swan's "When Your Lover Has Gone" and Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" add just the right touch of '40s authenticity. ~ Peter Fawthrop, Rovi

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