Jennifer 8

Christopher Young

" Young vs Jarre "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the limited release

Jennifer 8, the not so successful thriller starring Andy Garcia and Uma Thurman apparently received 2 written scores. One, the replacement score by then up and coming composer Christopher Young, and 2 the unused score by legendary composer Maurice Jarre. Speaking about 'why it was rejected' probably answers itself easier when you hear the music. Young's music focuses on a perfect combination between the piano and the strings, delivering a theme which is (in my opinion) a perfect theme for these kind of thrillers. This piano theme (and variations on strings) is a frequent visitor throughout the score. "Jennifer 8" is one of the finest tracks because of it, same for "Eight to Nine". The piano, representing the handicap of Uma Thurman combines the character's emotional cry for help and her fragile situation (the murderer hunts for blind women). So the piano is a constant force throughout Young's otherwise eerie and sinister score. Occasional atonality surfaces in "Still Life", "See No Evil" and "Talking Elevator", while Young's occasional suspense is fashioned in the typical effective style of the composer.

A cool thing to do is to compare the unused score by Jarre after that. And even though it features an equally strong theme, it somehow listens better as a light epic romantic one. The opening "Main Title" feels too powerful for its source, but listens actually quite potent and impressive. Also Jarre uses the piano to represent Uma Thurman's character, while the emphasis is here more on the solo cello and it's occasional emotional strength. Jarre's suspense and darkness sadly leaves much to be desired. Like Ghost, Jarre tackles the effective side well, but in terms of interest and entertainment it feels like a weakness. Especially the second part becomes through this a much less interesting listen. Quite impressive on the other hand are the occasional percussive moments ("X-mas Threat / Not Wrong / Up the Ladder / Flashlight (Part I)" and "Flashlight (Part III) / Ross Shot / Deviate Calls"), but this aside it's not enough to keep one interested. Again, the theme is quite memorable but feels perhaps not at home in this kind of thriller.

If this was the reason Jarre's score got ultimately replaced is not clear for me, but it's a given that Christopher Young's score in the end turns out to be the better one. Not a career highlight, but an effective and sometimes clever listen nonetheless.

Jennifer 8 Christopher Young version: ***
Jennifer 8 Maurice Jarre version: **12

CD 1: 47.29
1. Jennifer 8 (2.06)
2. What You See (1.50)
3. Eight to Nine (2.02)
4. Still Life (5.15)
5. Black Winter (2.27)
6. Eyes of a Child (1.36)
7. Cello for Helena (2.40)
8. See No Evil (6.44)
9. Retrograde (1.27)
10. Blind Faith (2.42)
11. Talking Elevator (2.13)
12. Outfoxed (2.17)
13. Malice Aforethought (3.15)
14. Brain Vanish (5.18)
15. See How They Run (1.27)
16. I Remember Red (1.55)
17. Up On A Star (2.15)

CD 2: 40.56
The Unused Score, composed and conducted by Maurice Jarre
1. Main Title (2.14)
2. To the Dump / One Hand (1.39)
3. Frozen Hand / Dig Jennifer (1.36)
4. Braille Reader / Tea Time / Elevator Man / Hello Helena (1.45)
5. 22 Bullet (1.29)
6. On Your Own / Cello Solo / Breathless / Cafe Chat (3.00)
7. VW Van / Van Search / Picking Lock (3.36)
8. No Braille (2.34)
9. X-mas Threat / Not Wrong / Up the Ladder / Flashlight (Part I) (2.49)
10. Flashlight (Part II) (2.03)
11. Flashlight (Part III) / Ross Shot / Deviate Calls (3.36)
12. First Degree / Taxi Ride / Needed Friend (1.47)
13. No Lies / Ashtray (3.17)
Alternate Cues
14. Main Title (Alternate Version) (2.18)
15. Hello Helena (Pad Stem) (0.39)
16. Van Search (Alternate Version) (1.20)
17. Ross Shot / Deviate Calls (Alternate Mix) (2.48)
18. Taxi Ride (Alternate Version) (2.26)
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 3 votes - average 4.33/5)

Released by

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1198 (limited release 2012)

Conducted by

William Ross

Orchestrations by

Pete Anthony, Patrick Russ & Christopher Young

Performed by

The Skywalker Symphony Orchestra