The inconsistent Mr. Revell continues to frustrate
his admirers and detractors alike, being just as capable of stylish, exciting
music (The Negotiator (1998)) and routine, uninspired work alike (Tomb
Raider). Sadly in recent years he seems to have slipped into becoming a
workmanlike composer whose work does a job but offers only minor artistic rewards.
And yet I have no doubt he is capable of so much more. His rejected score for
The 13th Warrior for example was bold and innovative and perhaps
his music has suffered because he has found it necessary to tow the executive
line and stick more closely to tried and tested formulas. It would be very interesting
to hear from the man himself, although politics and good business sense would
almost certainly preclude him from speaking out too strongly.
With this new soundtrack for the aquatic horror movie
Below there are vague signs of the stylish, inventive Graeme Revell attempting
to throw off the shackles of convention, as with the atmospheric, rhythmic 'Main
Title', but all too often he falls back on stock suspense stings and drones,
where melody would have created something more thoughtful and stirring. In saying
this the final track 'Safe Harbor', which presumably plays over the end titles,
does have some rewarding moments, but it's a case of too little, too late. Of
course the high likelihood is that the producers of the film wanted exactly
what they got. The few times where something a little more expressive appears
only leave the listener wishing there was more and with a running time of only
just over half an hour there is a definite sense of dissatisfaction.
A serviceable, but less than buoyant affair, all
presented with professionalism but lacking any real distinction or originality.