Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Pacific by Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli & Blake Neely (Review)

The Pacific is the new miniseries on HBO that takes a look at WWII in the Pacific Theatre, which is mostly looked over in films and TV. The Thin Red Line is so far the best war film that deals with the fight in this particular area. Of course if you’ve seen Band Of Brothers then you’ll know that these Spielberg/Hanks produced miniseries aren’t Malickian in nature. They are about telling the stories of the heroics, courage and honor of the men who fought and died. The score had to reflect this.

The unbelievable task of scoring this monster epic series was handed to Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli and Blake Neely. Zanelli has stated that he spent 9 months working on this. The score itself is not an action score if that’s what you’re expecting. Think The Thin Red Line but woven with the heroism found in Zimmer’s score for Pearl Harbor. The score is an immense journey of tragedy, sacrifice and finding strength within.

There are certain cues on this release that I found just absolutely stirring. Tracks like “We’ve Gone Respectable”, “Even The Trees Hate Us” and “Where Do We Go From Here” will shake your emotional core. Truly beautiful and moving music that reflects the stories being told. The score is not afraid to embrace the darkness of war, which so many scores do not. Most scores like Saving Private Ryan and Flags Of Our Fathers, while great, will stick only to the heroic route and never say “Hey, this is terrible stuff and I’m going to make you feel emotionally vulnerable now.” That’s what The Pacific does. It makes you feel emotionally vulnerable. Not so much as to the extent The Thin Red Line did, which is a score you should never listen to you unless you’re prepared to shed some tears. Here the composers successfully examine the darkness of war but they keep it within the POV of the American soldiers. You won’t find any ethnic sounds or arrangements here.

The main theme for The Pacific is entitled “Honor”, which says a lot about the focus of this amazing score. Zimmer, Zanelli & Neely were all perfect for the project. Neely especially seems befitting since he worked a lot with the late Michael Kamen who scored Band Of Brothers. This CD release is mostly representative of Zanelli’s and Neely’s work with a touch of Zimmer. Remember though, this is merely the surface of the score which spans 10 episodes. If you’re a fan of the genre I urge you take a listen and if you’re a fan of the composers then it’s a no brainer. What we have here is something memorable. The composers should be extremely proud of their work here.

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