Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Marco Beltrami's "Omen" review

Released in theatres today, the remake of the 70s horror film is trying to turn a charged date 6.6.(0)6 into a blockbuster. No word on the box office yet; should be an interesting struggle though, considering Pixar's latest Cars is riding the Omen's wake. But enough of the film! 39 year old Composer Marco Beltrami was hired to do what he does best: score horror movies.

On the heels of Underworld: Evolution and Red Eye, Beltrami signed on to the project to construct a sound very similar to Zimmer's Da Vinci Code. The only difference was the horror aspect Marco employed. Otherwise, while Omen's music is certainly less mature, it is at its base, a purely religious soundtrack, and works off of its ability to create (and then distort) highly "sacred" motifs. Comparing Omen's "Main Titles" and Da Vinci Code's shows just the beginning of the correlations between the two. Still, Marco is young, and he relies heavily on bass and percussion to drive his melodies, using the chorus as a (practically demonic) backdrop. Zimmer, on the other hand used the human voice to carry many of his cues.

If I was comparing this soundtrack to one of the composer's earlier works, I would say that the Omen is a far more sinister rendition of the comic book adaptation Hellboy, which Marco scored a couple years back. "A Cross To Bear" highlights the tension that was pure action-fun in Hellboy.

Highlights include the powerful "Dogs in the Cemetary," as antichrist Damien uses hounds to carry out his nefarious whims, but also the haunting choral masterpiece of an "End Titles" sequence. The opening cue is an obvious nod to previous Omen-composer (and now deceased) Jerry Goldsmith (whom Marco studied under for some time, believe it or not. Maybe that played into the decision to hire him for the remake.). "Alter of Sacrifice" is another powerful cue; frenzied and wild, like the rest, yet showing a good bit of "method to the madness." Sounds like it came out of Alan Silvestri's Van Helsing.

I found it fascinating to see how two composers (Zimmer and Beltrami) had similar scores to write, and what angles they came from. Personally, Zimmer's is far more developed, and much more for the soundtrack purist. But Marco's easily stands out as his best so far. Cuts like "Dogs in the Cemetary" prompt recalls to the young composer's earlier effort I, Robot; which was a dismal soundtrack failure, showing how much the guy has matured since then.

This soundtrack makes me excited about Marco Beltrami's musical future (which includes two more projects this year).
Rating **** (out of 5)

Track Listing
1. The Omen Main Titles (2:58)
2. The Adoption (4:12)
3. Ambassador Gets Fired (1:33)
4. New House / Damien’s Deliverance (2:20)
5. The Nanny’s Noose (2:05)
6. A Cross To Bear (2:49)
7. Ms. Baylock (1:50)
8. Damien’s Tantrum (1:52)
9. More Tantrums (2:12)
10. Kate Doubts (1:05)
11. Scooter (2:44)
12. Don’t Let Him Kill Me (1:29)
13. On The Heels Of Spiletto (6:58)
14. Dogs In The Cemetery (2:02)
15. Drive To Bugenhagen (1:31)
16. Dirty Deeds (4:12)
17. Altar Of Sacrifice (4:10)
18. The Funeral (1:41)
19. Boy Genius (2:52)
20. Omen 76/06* (3:30)

-Sam Van Eerden


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