Film Score Friday: 'Green Lantern' by James Newton Howard

Film Score Friday: ‘Green Lantern’ by James Newton Howard


Allow me to start my review with a bit of onomatopoeia that demonstrates my frustration with this score. Green Lantern is supposed to be an epic space sci-fi adventure. This score does a poor job of relaying that message. It is just one misstep after another, but perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.

James Newton Howard is a fantastic composer, so when I heard he was going to be writing the music for Green Lantern I was thrilled. He has a great ability to turn even horrible movies into amazing scores, which I guess comes from being M. Night Shyamalan’s go to composer.

Giving the score duties to Howard makes a lot of sense as he collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the two previous Batman films. Unfortunately instead of letting him write music in his own style, we get a Dark Knight apping score that sees Howard doing his best Zimmer impersonation.

I might be a bit hard on the music here, it does have some really decent tracks that by themselves are quite nice. It also tries to develop it’s own iconic hero theme more than the Bat films did, so I applaud the effort. The biggest problem is that the music just feels lazy, like some one along the process just gutted the enthusiasm from the people making the music.

A big part of what annoys me with this score is the extremely liberal use of Dark Knight percussion sounds mixed in with electric guitars. When the Lantern Corps gets it’s own track late in the album I expected a proud, hopeful theme worthy of the corps. Instead I get the rejected intro from a Good Charlotte song. I guess this music would make sense if it was from a weird, dirty CGI fever dream version of Deliverance, but something tells me it is not.

Three Favorite Tracks:

Welcome to Oa By James Newton Howard: One of the better tracks on the album mostly because it really works. It builds nicely in a confused, but curious sort of way. Exactly the kinds of emotions that Hal should be feeling when he is introduced to Oa. This track also has a really nice little bit at the end that hints at a military drums-ish sound for the Corps… alas.

We’re Going to Fly Now By James Newton Howard: Easily my favorite track on this album. It is fun, it flows well and its exactly the kind of music I imagine for some one flying. It also has hints of the main theme presented in it’s best form. It is to bad the whole scor edeson’t shre the sense of awe and fun displayed in this two minutes.

Green Lantern Oath By James Newton Howard: Why do I like this? Because it is short… very short. Thankfully like this review.

Least Favorite Tracks:

The Corps By James Newton Howard: Everything that is wrong about this score is present in this track. It sounds nothing like the epic theme the Green Lantern Corps deserves. Dueling electric guitars might be nice at Lollapalooza, but in an epic space sci-fi action film they should be kept far away. Don’t get me wrong, I love new sounds. Last year Daft Punk’s Tron score was my favorite, I just really hate that the rock sensibilities of Sum 41 had to mate with the Dark Knight score to produce the hell spawn that is this score.

So I think I made my opinions about this music quite clear. Great composer who simply went the wrong way and produced a miss matched cacophony of sounds that didn’t come together in any meaningful way.

Total Score for Green Lantern:

1 out of 5

  • danby ddr7009ree
    October 8, 2011 at 10:01 am

    danby ddr7009ree…

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