Music By Clinton Shorter
15 Tracks/Disc Time: 44:42
Add another genre to the career of Director Paul W.S. Anderson, who 20 years ago began his very cool cinematic journey with the hit adaptation of the blockbuster video game, “Mortal Kombat” which is still the best video game adaptation made to date and film such as fascinating sci-fi horror of “Event Horizon”, the extremely underrated “Soldier” and of course, “Resident Evil” and “Alien Vs. Predator” would follow. “Pompeii” which was just released on Blu-Ray after a disappointing theatrical run makes its stellar debut in the format is set in 79 A.D. and tells the epic story of Milo (Kit Harington), a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia (Emily Browning), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator (Kiefer Sutherland, “24”). As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him. The film was pretty much dismissed for its rather loose depiction of Roman history despite a few positives.
Definitely one of those positives is the stellar work of composer Clinton Shorter, who in a short time (excuse the pun) has become a rather interesting and unique composer who made Neill Blomkamp’s debut “District 9” a bonafide hit, and soon followed up with stellar action scores for “Contraband” and “2 Guns” starring Oscar winner Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. The score to “Pompeii” is a radically different and expansive work as compared to the other scores he’s written to date and surprisingly it’s is truly effective score for a film that most would say didn’t deserve it. Featuring a full complimentary orchestra and a lovely chorus, Shorter unleashes some nice powerhouse licks this time around as his music is really front and center throughout the film.
The album opens with the bold and epic sounding “Pompeii” which is essentially the score’s main theme and a powerhouse one at that takes a page from the Hans Zimmer choral and orchestra book, but it is very original and very solid all around and would be get a nice reprise in “Praying For Help”. “Slaughter” features a male vocalise performing to the strains of harsh sounding brass and elegaic string work that would lead to a more propulsive version in “Revenge” which is very rhythmic and full power and energy much like other tracks on the album that include “Celtic Rebellion” (a major highlight of the score as a whole), “My Gods” and both “To The Harbour” and “Away From You”, which are exciting in its’ musical desperation with pounding percussion and brass. Shorter also included some more dramatic and tender moments to give the score a solid balance between the over the top bombastic material with the tracks “Home”, “My Name Is Milo”, “The End Of The World”, and “I Won’t Leave You” which feature some nice sweeping strings and more chorus included.
Milan Records’ album is a very solid listen that really doesn’t over state its welcome and it does exactly what’s supposed to do: thrill, excite and be purely bombastic. Clinton Shorter is a new and special talent who will definitely over come this film without a doubt, but you definitely have to give him credit for writing an inspired score especially for Paul W.S. Anderson’s film which is a major stretch without question and certainly up there with some of the better scores featured in his films that include Michael Kamen’s “Event Horizon” and Joel McNeely’s memorable “Soldier”. “Pompeii” is not the greatest score ever written for the genre, but it is a worthy one. Affectionate thumbs up.