Frank Herbert’s Dune
Graeme Revell returns to score this sequel to the low budget surprise hit Pitch Black with a big, brash symphonic score, complete with percussive drive and gravitas to spare. From the darkly stirring titular ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ through the off-key, atmospheric ‘Vakko Conspiracy’ to the action/suspense of ‘One Speed’ there is a refreshing cohesiveness to the score and it sounds very much as though Revell enjoyed his work on this production, instilling his music some much needed depth and diversity.
What makes film music attractive is the use of different colours and melodic invention. Any solid composer can come up with background musak but it takes skill and imagination to create layered, expressive music that conveys and supports authentic emotion. Here at least, Revell’s music is inspired enough to devise a varied blend of rewarding compositions tied together by a vaguely exotic feel and augmented by voices (‘Arrival at Helion’, ‘Aereon Fortells’ etc.) and a little majestic grandeur (‘The Purifiers End’).
I’ve long believed that Revell was a talented composer but all too often he has produced scores that simply lack heart. Frank Herbert’s Dune is a very good example of this and serves as a fascinating companion piece to this work. Both are sci-fi fantasy epics and both scores attempt to conjure an otherworldly, outlandish musical landscape. But whereas Revell’s Dune was a bland, distant exercise in alienation (no pun intended), Riddick has a melodic soul that carries the listener successfully into an unfamiliar realm and entertains with a variety of tonal changes and an overall sense of dramatic style.
A strong offering from Mr. Revell and very welcome it is too. I’m sure all of us who count ourselves as fans will be hoping for more of the same in the future.