For whatever reason, my local cinema, in its infinite wisdom, failed to show Dogma and so I missed out on seeing what was apparently a fairly controversial, but entertaining film. However, I am looking forward to seeing it eventually. It is difficult to know what kind of score to expect from a (anti)religious comedy about angels starring the easy-on-the-eye duo of messrs Damon and Affleck, especially if that score is written by Howard Shore. Perhaps the most notable thing about the score is how dynamic, loud and imposing a lot of it is. Some of the music wouldn't be out of place in a remake of the Omen or similar. The emphasis is very much on deep brass, church organs and generally sounding impressive and ominous. Despite this, it never pretends to be entirely serious.
The style of writing is is established in the first score cue, Dogma and that is pretty much how it stays and there isn't really much diversion from that style during the rest of the the album. Shore's base material is that kind of thrilling OTT Danny Elfman style music that, if you're into that kind of thing, makes for a hugely enjoyable if slightly repetitive listen. The Last Scion is slightly more relaxed with harps backing a rather nice ondes martenot solo that avoids sounding like Elmer Bernstein or like cheesy sci-fi, imitation theramin music. Perhaps the biggest huge jump in style - almost to the point of being out of place - is during Mooby the Golden Calf which is one of the most hilarious tracks I've heard recently not featured in an Italian comedy film. It is the kind of production number you mind find in something like Annie or Oliver Twist, sung by a children's chorus and with full orchestral backing and with utterly ludicrous lyrics (most of which I haven't quite been able to make out). Needless to say that it sticks out like a sore thumb, but is guaranteed to amuse.
I can't stand Alanis Moriessette at the best of times and Still is no different, but is at least at the beginning of the album and so can easily be skipped. Dogma is not great musical art, but it is enjoyable and likely to please those who miss Danny Elfman in Beetlejuice or Batman style. Its nice to have a composer going a bit over the top once in a while and the sheer enthusiasm of the playing and thundering recording are most impressive.
Read other recent reviews by Tom Daish: The Snow Files: The Film Music of Mark Snow
, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad