Movie Soundtrack

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Composed by: James Horner

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            The Spiderwick Chronicles is a movie based upon the series of children’s fantasy / adventure books written by Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi.  The movie follows the adventures of the Grace family children, whose recent move from New York to an old secluded house owned by their great, great uncle Arthur Spiderwick has a profound effect on the family.  Jared Grace, tired of being blamed for the mysterious happenings in the house, which include several accidents and disappearances, decides to investigate.  He is joined by twin brother Simon and sister Mallory.  They soon uncover the amazing truth behind the Spiderwick estate and the creatures that inhabit it. 

            The soundtrack of The Spiderwick Chronicles was composed by James Horner, an American composer best known for his work on the soundtracks of such films as Krull, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, An American Tale, Willow, A Beautiful Mind, Apocalypto, Titanic, and much, much more.  Having composed the musical score for many a children’s fantasy film, James Horner was a natural choice to compose the music for The Spiderwick Chronicles

            Upon listening to The Spiderwick Chornicles soundtrack, I couldn’t help but notice that the music sounded very much like another soundtrack I owned – Star Wars: A New Hope, composed by John Williams.  In fact, the whole soundtrack seemed to be heavily influenced by John Williams and I found myself wondering why James Horner was selected for this composition at all.  Why not hire John Williams to do the job?  Then, at least, the soundtrack would not be a copy of composition by John Williams, mixed in with bits and pieces of James Horner.  The more I listened to the soundtrack, the more I could pick out bits and pieces that sounded like bits from A New Hope.  I must admit that this thoroughly distracted me and I couldn’t truly focus on the soundtrack.

            I can say this much about The Spiderwick Chronicles soundtrack – it is an excellent composition for a fantasy / adventure film.  There is a sense of wonderment mixed with one of urgency throughout the soundtrack which perfectly defines what a fantasy / adventure film is all about.  The rise and fall in the music’s crescendo signify highs and lows in the action of the film.  There are distinct military-sounding pieces and I have yet to ascertain their meaning, having not yet seen the film.  As a fantasy / adventure soundtrack, James Horner’s composition of The Spiderwick Chronicles soundtrack is perfectly acceptable.  However, I wish a bit more originality had gone into its composition.


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