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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday October 3, 2019 

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BICENTENNIAL MAN: SOUNDTRACK

"If the development of James Horner’s soundtrack, from first track to last, symbolises an evolution from machine to man, then Homo sapiens en mass should be queuing up for the depth of the robot experience. The opening track, Machine Age, is as fine an example of lush, emotive orchestration as you are ever likely to find in one lifetime – even an android’s (immortal one). Pulsing piano, silky strings and heraldic and haunting brass are floated on a capricious breeze of shifting time signatures and tempo to evoke drama and lyricism in equal measures. This is Issac Asimov’s prodigiously prescient imagination rendered in sound. Disappointingly, the stay atop this inspiring musical summit is a short one, with the score soon sliding to a plateau of pleasantly sentimental strings, whimsical piano and endless repetition of two main themes in a plethora of orchestral incarnations; we hear them fast and slow, urgent and frivolous, sparse and rich in arrangement, and then finally in song – as the verse and chorus of the closing Celine Dion performance.

Although some find it a mite maudlin, I’m a great fan of My Heart Will Go On (notwithstanding Will Jennings’s insipid lyrics), but this new Horner/Dion effort sounds too contrived and the lyric content is even worse -- having progressed from ‘Near, far, wherever you are’ to ‘Laugh and cry, live and die’.

Horner is an easily recognisable composer; he not only likes to ensure every drop of emotive juice is exhausted from a musical motif, he’s fond of revisiting familiar ideas from Horner soundtracks past. It’s a style of broad appeal, although a tad syrupy for some musical palates. But the Bicentennial Man soundtrack is undoubtedly an easy listening experience, and while it fails to maintain the heights of its early promise, the most mundane moments would still tug gently at even an automaton’s heart strings."
Brad Green

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TITLE: Bicentennial Man

ID: 399700 072990
Sony/Touchstone

COMPOSER: James Horner

PRODUCER: James Horner, Simon Rhodes

FEATURED ARTIST: Celine Dion

TRACKS: 17

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