Composed by: John Rowley
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson) is just an ordinary man. Conscious of the evils in the world, Poppington one day decides to take on the biggest evil of all. Donning the persona of the superhero Defendor, Poppington searches the city streets for his arch enemy, drug and weapons dealer Captain Industry. Aiding him in this quest are his boss and trusted friend Paul (Michael Kelly), a prostitute (Kat Dennings) and Defendor’s array of weapons, including marbles and paper clips. Can Defendor bring down the evil Captain Industry or will evil prevail over the man whose only superpowers are the strength of conviction and a whole lot of heart.
The soundtrack for Defendor was created by Toronto-based composer and music supervisor John Rowley. Over the years, Rowley has amassed quite a bit of experience in composing music for television and film. Credits include the musical scores for Rookie Blue, Citizen Duane, Weirdsville, The Life and Times of Guy Terrifico and more. Rowley cites Defendor as his dream project because “Where film music is usually subtle, even to the point where it is not noticeable, the superhero genre demands music that is bold, anthemic and memorable.”
The Defendor Soundtrack has a very centralized theme - Arthur Poppington’s theme which is a mixed sort of sound containing a little detective noir, Clint Eastwood western and action hero bravado. According to Rowley, “Director Peter Stebbings and I had the idea that the music in the film should be the soundtrack that plays in Arthur's mind as he dons the guise of Defendor. As such, the score draws inspiration from familiar and classic superhero themes.”
Although this theme plays throughout the album, Rowley is careful not to drown the listener in it. After all, hearing the same theme play over and over through eighteen tracks can be rather tedious. Instead, he allows the theme to come to the forefront every so often, but also artfully mixes it in with other styles to keep things fresh and different.
The soundtrack has a decidedly dark style - a sort of sadness that never leaves the character throughout his exploits. Even during the action sequences, despite the urgency of the percussion, the crashing cymbals and the flaring synths, there is still a dark quality underscored by the horns, strings and piano, all played in the lower registry. One can tell that underneath Defendor’s superhero exterior is a tortured soul.
The Defendor Soundtrack is the perfect soundtrack for any superhero movie. In creating this soundtrack, Rowley was able to combine both sides of Poppington’s persona - the staunch defender of justice and the tortured soul seeking reassurance and relief from all of the pain. The soundtrack is quite enjoyable as a stand alone album and, in my opinion, will fit extremely well with the visuals of the film, more than adequately describing the character and what he experiences throughout the film. For its complexity and character analysis, the Defendor Soundtrack is definitely worth the listen.