Thomas Newman and James Bond… seem like an odd pairing to anybody else? It did to me. Action thrillers don’t hold a prominent place in Newman’s filmography, so when I heard he was onboard for Skyfall, I was amused. Surely Newman – a guy best known for his work on films like Finding Nemo and The Shawshank Redemption – would be completely out of his element here. Right? Not by a long shot. Skyfall is a feast for the ears, a Bond score with a modern edge and plenty of class. I guess passing judgment beforehand wasn’t such a good idea. I guess Mr. Newman and 007 really do go together after all.
The most remarkable thing about this score is that it never outstays its welcome, even with a running time of well over an hour. Grand Bizarre, Istanbul accompanies the movie’s opening sequence. It’s exotic and it’s exciting, and best of all, it’s thoroughly Bondian – any doubts I had about Newman’s action credentials vanished the minute I heard it Tracks like The Bloody Shot, Welcome to Scotland, and She’s Mine feature some of the most rousing action music I’ve heard all year. Quartermaster and New Digs go for a subtler approach but with equally thrilling results. Tennyson has a grand and deeply heroic sound to it, and is (for my money) the most moving piece of the entire score. Those looking for a full presentation of the legendary Bond theme will find it in Breadcrumbs. The main titles song by Adele is, unfortunately, not included on the album, so I recommend you buy it separately. It’s the only thing missing from an otherwise perfect soundtrack.