Green Zone

Colosseum (4005939701123)
Varèse Sarabande (030206701128)
Movie | Released: 2010 | Film release: 2010 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track   Duration
1.Opening Book2:32
2.1st WMD Raid2:39
3.Traffic Jam2:59
4.Meeting Raid4:31
5.Helicopter/Freddy Runs2:43
7.Miller Googles1:53
9.Mobilize/Find Al Rabi5:15
10.Evac Preps Part 18:34
11.Evac Preps Part 23:22
12.Attack and Chase5:25
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Green Zone - 08/10 - Review of Edmund Meinerts, submitted at
Director Paul Greengrass, actor Matt Damon and former Media Ventures composer John Powell reunite to create Green Zone, an action thriller set in the present day in Iraq in which Damon searches frantically for Saddam Hussein’s infamous weapons of mass destruction – fruitlessly in the end, obviously, as they never existed in the first place. Director, composer and actor are all carryovers from the last two Bourne films: The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. The opinion was raised that Green Zone might become nothing but The Bourne Redundancy…whether it’s good or bad news to you, there is truth to that statement, and this applies to John Powell’s hypercharged adrenaline rush of a score too.

Wbat with all the praise being heaped upon Powell’s latest and greatest animation score, How to Train Your Dragon (and yes, a liberal amount of that praise comes from me), Green Zone seems to have fallen under the radar a little – which is a shame, because despite never being as effortlessly enjoyable an album as HTTYD, Green Zone is a fine action score. Rooted firmly in the Bourne tradition of chopping strings and an extremely dense and aggressive percussion section – both live and sampled – the score isn’t so much concerned with creating any sort of thematic identity than it is with pumping as much excitement and energy as possible into the onscreen action. In terms of sheer enthusiastic volume, Powell has succeeded beyond anything his Bourne scores had to offer. What with the combinatinon of this, HTTYD and the immensely entertaining Knight and Day, it is doubtful whether any musician will manage to make as much sheer noise as Powell this year – which makes him an instant candidate for composer of the year in my books).

From the aggressive opener, “Opening Book”, the tone of the score is set. It’s more heavily electronic than any of the Bourne scores excepting perhaps The Bourne Identity, with a thumping bass underpinning almost every moment of the score. After some token plucked Middle Eastern elements to address the setting, the score explodes into action at 0:56, with percussion over chopping strings that, rather than moving in pairs of two the way the Bourne ostinatos did, simply repeat the same note over and over again before shifting to a different pitch in the next bar. I should point out at this stage that Powell’s percussion never, throughout the course of the score’s 53 minutes, devolves to the sort of looped samples that lesser Media Ventures composers are prone to use. Few composers use as much percussion as Powell, and he has a real knack for layering engrossing rhythms over each other that never become repetitive. If any one score is best suited to showcase that talent, this is it – unquestionably the most percussive score of the year.

So if you like intense percussion sections (I know I do), you will lap up the many, many action cues on this album, of which the best is probably “Attack and Chase”, a cue which packs more boundless adrenaline and energy into five minutes than Ramin Djawadi managed to insert into the entirety of Clash of the Titans. True, sometimes there is a tendency for the listener to get lost in the endless clattering of Powell’s hyperactive drums, and the score isn’t an easy one to get through in one sitting, but any action fan of any sort will enjoy this score for the pure, unadulterated, frenzied excitement it whips up.

Despite all this, there are certain drawbacks that a pure-energy score like this has. There is next to no thematic material whatsoever. Even the Bourne scores had more motifs than this. The closest Powell ever gets to a theme is in the final minute and a half of the last cue, “Chaos/Email”, which actually sounds like the distant cousin of a good old Hans Zimmer power anthem from the 90s. Despite those semi-heroic brass chords filtering in at the end (and a few progressions of the chopping strings common to some of the earlier action cues), there’s nothing hummable to be taken from this score. This is almost certainly a conscious decision on director Greengrass’ part – I haven’t seen the film and can’t judge whether the inclusion of at least some kind of thematic hook might have increased the score’s effectiveness in providing tension. It certainly might have made the album a bit less thick and easier to listen through. One thing’s for sure, though: Powell has proven yet again that he can whip up astounding amounts of energy and excitement in his action scores. If caffeine were a movie, John Powell would score it.
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Music Composed by John Powell
(The Bourne Trilogy, The Italian Job, Hancock)
Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) re-team for their latest electrifying thriller in Green Zone, a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences. During the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission. Spun by operatives with intersecting agendas, Miller must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil for answers that will either clear a rogue regime or escalate a war in an unstable region. And at this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth.
Composer John Powell contributed an adrenaline-pumping score.
World Soundtrack Awards: Soundtrack Composer of the Year (Nominee)


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