Soundtrack Review: Snow White & The Huntsman

Snow White & The Huntsman
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Composer: James Newton Howard
Running Time: 67 min.
Released: 2012

 

 

 

Kristen Stewart as the fairest of them all? No thanks. Another score from the great J.N.H. himself? Yes please. Hollywood’s latest adaption of Snow White wasn’t received well by fans or critics, who branded it neither magical nor memorable. I’m not going to argue with that assessment. What I am going to argue is that the score is worth your time, even if the movie is not. Surprised? Don’t be. Samson found honey in the carcass of a lion, and James Newton Howard wrote a stellar score for a less-than-stellar film. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to call it some of his finest work to date. It’s dark and complex, gripping and lovely – and it has all the magic and memorability that a fairy-tale should. So let the journey begin: “Once upon a time, there was a composer named James Newton Howard, and his music was the stuff of legend.”

The first track, Snow White, introduces us to the main theme – a quiet and enchanting piece, full of swelling strings and faintly mysterious piano. You couldn’t ask for a better opening: as soon as I heard it, I knew I was in for a treat. And I was right. Beauty and emotion abound in this score, my favorite examples being Fenland In Flames and the mesmerizing Sanctuary. Such loveliness I expected; this is J.N.H. after all. What I did not expect was to be blown away by how magnificent the action music sounded. This is a darker, more audacious side of Howard, one which we don’t hear as often. I wish we did. I absolutely love it. Tracks like Escape From the Tower and Warriors On the Beach come alive with pulse-pounding intensity, a bravura display of heavy percussion, ominous brass, and tenacious strings. Marvelous, marvelous stuff. Bringing the album to a close is Coronation, and believe me, it’s every bit as glorious as the title suggests.

Purchase the MP3 album on iTunes or Amazon.com.

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11 thoughts on “Soundtrack Review: Snow White & The Huntsman”

  1. Right on all counts, Mr. Ink Slinger. :) I was listening to some tracks the other day and was blown away with it (as you may have noticed, I haven’t listened to much James Newton Howard). Thanks for posting!

    1. Consider this a direct order: listen to more J.N.H.. ;) He’s written tons of excellent music, and is (in my opinion) one of the greatest film composers of all time. My personal favorites are his scores for I Am Legend, King Kong, Blood Diamond, and of course, Snow White. I also love his collaboration with Zimmer on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

      So yeah – you should definitely listen to him more. :D

  2. I got this on Amazon, and it’s a lovely score. Works wonderfully for writing “background music”–it’s rich and has qualities of both “beauty” and “epic,” but it’s not too distracting/ostentatious. “Sanctuary” is my favorite track also. The essence of a place of beauty, peace, and wonder is just spine-tingling!

    1. With the exceptions of Zimmer, Powell, and Williams, there isn’t a composer who I admire quite as much as J.N.H. The truth of that statement can be proved by the fact that he takes up a generous portion of my soundtrack library. :D

  3. Nice review — I enjoyed this score too. Actually, my wife and I even enjoyed the movie. I liked that they fleshed out the fantasy elements of the story.

    1. Thanks, Nate. :) I haven’t seen the film yet, but several good friends (with tastes and opinions almost identical to mine) strongly disliked it. I may check it out when it comes out on DVD… I’m no fan of Kristen Stewart, but Hemsworth and Theron are both excellent actors.

  4. Fantastic review! Of course, you had me at “James Newton Howard” ;) but reading through the whole thing convinced me thoroughly. (And since everyone’s throwing in their opinions about the movie, I want to see it for the sake of the screenwriter.)

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