Considering The Hunger Games was released on DVD barely a week ago, I figured now would be a good time to review what is, in my opinion, one of the finest aspects of the film: the score, composed by none other than J.N.H. I’ve encountered several less-than-favorable reviews of it, and the most common criticism seems to be that score is too minimalistic. I beg to differ: the score is minimalistic, but perfectly so. Howard invests thought and emotion where lesser men would have settled for cheap thrills. And frankly, I find it incredible that most listeners can’t appreciate that. Their loss, I suppose. Here’s hoping it gets some recognition come Oscar season – J.N.H. deserves no less.
Katniss Afoot and The Train are perfect examples of the quiet beauty that permeates this soundtrack; while Horn of Plenty captures the pomp and grandeur of the Capitol with choir, drums, and a fanfare of trumpets. The Countdown is a gripping bit of work, accompanying one of the most nail-bitingly intense sequences in the entire film. And then there’s Rue’s Farewell: for me, this piece is the highlight of the album. Lovely. Just lovely. I won’t even try to describe it further, because I can’t. You have to listen to it yourself. With Muttations, Howard gives us an action cue firing on all cylinders – grim, daring, and frenetic. The final track, Tenuous Winners, swells with triumph and relief, only to assume a darker tone in the closing seconds. Because, after all, the story isn’t over yet.