Zimmer fans decided early that Pearl Harbor
, without doubt, was going to be one of the composers' very finest scores, similar in style and mood to the wonderful The Thin Red Line
. And based on the grand trailer, with its powerful use of "Journey to the Line" from the latter score, it really looked as if this could be the film of summer 2001. Now, with the film being a Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer vehicle, that possibility was rather small in reality, but the score - surely Zimmer couldn't miss this opportunity? Well, of course he could. It comes as no surprise that Zimmer's latest effort can't live up to all the hype surrounding it. It's not a bad score. Not at all. It's actually quite good. But I had expected the score to be bigger and more emotional. And better.
There is really only one major theme in the score, and while it is an excellent piece - very lovely, bittersweet and romantic - it's perhaps used a little too much, showing up in nearly every track, basically sounding the same all the time. There's also a sad, quite depressing theme, heard mostly in "Attack" and "Heart of a Volunteer", as well as a descending motif like theme, performed mostly by low strings, used throughout the score, that is very reminiscent of the already mentioned "Journey to the Line" cue from The Thin Red Line
. This motif opens the first score cue on the
CD, performed by strings and piano, before the main theme is introduced for the first time. It's all very emotional and lyrical, with the orchestrations focusing on strings and piano, as well as subtle harp, brass, woodwinds and a single wordless female voice. The music stays practically the same until track six, "Attack", which is one of the scores' darker and more depressing cues, opening with shakuhachi, backed up by the typical Zimmer percussion, soon replaced by slow strings and solo voice.
Track seven, "December 7th", is one of the scores' highlights. While the first half consists of strings that don't seem to go anywhere, the latter half is a wonderfully, solemn piece performed entirely by choir. Great stuff. "War" is the soundtracks' big action piece. From the brass to the staccato strings and the percussion, this is Hans Zimmer
in a nutshell. We have heard it many times before, of course, but I just cannot deny that this is a rather good piece.
Many have willingly pointed out the similarities between Zimmer's score and the music of John Barry
. And while I partially agree with this, Pearl Harbor
more than anything makes me think of Ennio Morricone
. Especially the female solo voice, which really is spot on. It seems quite obvious that the music of Morricone was one of the sources of inspiration for Zimmer, when composing this score.
I won't spend that much time writing about the song performed by Faith Hill, "There You'll Be". It's more than obvious that its purpose is to make money. It's a decent song, but nothing more. Rather cheesy, actually.
Read other recent reviews by Andreas Lindahl: The Rocketeer
, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
, The Phantom of the Opera