After Earth Soundtrack Review

71nXbzz9n5L._SL1500_The film may be getting a bit of a kicking at the box office, but what we must remember is that there is all too often great music to be found in many a lesser film. James Newton Howard is perhaps king of this mantle. Why is his name not as revered? Quite simply because he doesn’t always get his name on the films that succeed. He has no Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or Indiana Jones or comic book hero to stamp his name against (Despite being co-composer on the first two Dark Knight movies which Hans Zimmer appears to get most of the credit for). But he has consistently proved often the best thing going for the films he has worked on. After Earth is no exception.

Running at 28 tracks and at almost a full hour – right off the bat you can see just what it is that he may have contributed to the two Batman scores.  There is intensity and power there, but also real subtlety.

For breadth of experience you just have to see the work that he has done on the likes of Restoration and even big dumb action flicks like Waterworld to really see how far and wide his experience stretches, and how much it elevates the material on screen.

But as much as he can create a tune, he also seems to know when it is his place to provide tension and emotion. This is perhaps where Howard is at his most formulaic when dread and fear are called upon to be represented by the score.  (“Katai on Earth” is a prime example of just how brave, bold, pretty and yet menacing his work can be). This actually helps bolster the more fun, and gentle pieces which are a beauty to behold.

4 Stars



Steven Hurst

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