Blown Away

Alan Silvestri

" Explosive Alan Silvestri finally receives its moment of triumph. Sadly it turns out it's painstakingly too long "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Blown Away had to become the explosive blockbuster of the summer, but unfortunately Jan De Bont pushed his bus ahead of schedule, leaving no room for Blown Away to compete with the similar explosive Speed that summer. The result was an underwhelming response at the box office, though Stephen Hopkins' film did had a lot going for it. The combination of Jeff and Lloyd Bridges vs. Tommy Lee Jones, the explosions that especially at the end delivered exhilarating cinematic eye candy and the many fine moments where the camera zoomed in on possible bomb threats whenever someone was flipping on a switch, or igniting some kind of stove. Sadly for music fans, the poor response at the box office lead to the cancellation of a score soundtrack, keeping the audience deprived of a bombastic Alan Silvestri score.

Luckily, Intrada comes to the rescue ONCE AGAIN. Though hardly the blockbuster score of Alan Silvestri's career, this soundtrack proves what most of today's music is missing. Even Alan Silvestri's music of today. Meaning over enthusiastic filmmusic. It is chock full of Silvestri's mannerisms and it has above all one amazing main theme. It turns up extensively on album though, but some moments do have that star power more than others. You remember the main theme explosion in Judge Dredd when Stallone sees the statue? Well, here we have that momentum once again. In "Saint Max" we hear an explosive emotional outcry when Max ignites the bomb, but what's mostly captivating is how the theme unravels more Gaerity's laugh and amusement as Dove's father gets killed. It's this kind of no nonsense scoring that you miss so much these days, because music has to overpower the scenes more than underscore them, and strong music always does the trick better when it's heard LOUDLY. That's by far the best moment of the disc.

We open nonetheless with another theme, a much underused Irish traditional song that stands for practically the 3 leading actors of the movie (father and son Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones). In "Prince's Day (Main Titles)' it underscores mostly the sight of a weary ill fated prison of the coast of Northern Island. The Irish song is a beauty and the voice of the female vocalist delivers a wonderful sense of innocence that's never to be heard again (it was also the only track that appeared on the original song album of 1994, which is ironic considering it's not an original Silvestri cue to begin with.

The sound changes dramatically when Ryan Gaerity plans "The Escape", fueled with militaristic drums and later by the first sign of the main theme growing towards its inevitable climax. I love how the theme shows a gentle sound at first when we see a caring Ryan Gaerity look out over his injured cellmate. But as the truth suddenly turns violently red, the sound changes dramatically towards a drum laden explosion. The drums return in "M.I.T. Arrival" as well, though this time for the good guy. And as it turns out, the main theme underscores both the good and the bad guy, following Jimmy Dove's daring save in "Bomb Squad".

Whirling flutes continuously underscore the danger Gaerity's character has over its unknowing victims, like in "Serendipity", "Garity Sets up Shop" and during his first victim attack "Blaket Gets It". This track has the first major main theme statement as well, followed closely by the nice "Bomb Site". Somehow "Cortez Goes Boom" doesn't fully say BOOM, though it's one of the strongest musical moments in the film. Perhaps it was over mixed in the film, because at times Silvestri's score does make quite the impact on screen. And sadly the longest track of the disc (a whopping 11 minutes long) is one of the least interesting musically. Though perfectly suitable for the film, "Red Herring du Jour" is one long suspenseful journey throughout many zoomed in shots, showing a bomb could be placed around any part of the house. The now familiar whirling flutes depict the danger extensively and Silvestri's dark eeriness takes over after that, as the unknowing victims are now left alone in the hands of a madman.

And from then on, Blown Away turns into one long pool of suspense, possible bomb threats and appearances of Ryan Gaerity, leaving very little room for Silvestri to change the tone of the score, as he quite easily made it clear it was the tone to go by. Luckily "Saint Max" does it slightly different as light choir is supporting Max in his hour of need, growing heavenly to its sad goodbye in THE track of the album. And after many more short cues after that, we get that change of tone we were so looking for. Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture is used primarily as sole concert performance during the Boston Pops orchestra scenes, and by far it is also a piece that complements the explosive nature of the fight between Dove and Gaerity well. It not only unleashes a wonderful sense of urgency, the explosive nature of Tchaikovsky's 1812 is all the more known.

In between all that lies Silvestri's answer to that urgency, 2 cues that are flying over the speakers with determination and energy as whirling flutes and brass statements make the theme soar as Dove and Franklin escape from the boat in the show stopper "Final Fight". Sadly "Brakeless in Boston" is pretty much a rehash of that cue. We end with a return to that lovely traditional Irish song in "Everyone Loves a Hero", closing the circle in style.

Like the recent Alan Silvestri score released by Intrada, Blown Away is like The Avengers way too long for its own good. Blown Away has got good music, but so much of it is the same, and then short 30 second cues or extensive underscore tracks up to 11 minutes can stretch the experience too severely. Even more, inside the film, much of Silvestri's music was interrupted by colorful songs that made us forget the one and same approach of Alan Silvestri. This presentation is quite sad considering Blown Away is rather exhilarating when heard in the best possible circumstances. A 35 to 45 minute presentation could erase many flaws and make this Silvestri score all the more rewarding. For Silvestri fans, a must buy for sure. But even then, you need to surgically trim this album to its most rewarding presentation possible, always remembering that each possible track could hold the explosive trigger left by Ryan Gaerity. But something tells me the 11 minute track "Red Herring du Jour" is quite safe to cut through ;-)

Favorite Moment - Saint Max (3.24 - 4.52)
What a climax. Finally the theme gets an almighty send off, with CHOIR! Hallelujah!

Track Listing

1. Prince's Day (Main Title) (2.28) Excellent track
2. The Escape (4.31)
3. M.I.T. Arrival (1.16)
4. Bomb Squad (3.47)
5. Flashbacks (0.42)
6. Serendipity (0.50)
7. Gaerity Sets Up Shop (2.06)
8. Blanket Gets It (2.11)
9. Bomb Site (1.17)
10. Bake Sale Spy (0.29)
11. Playing the Angle (3.16)
12. Trolley Bomb Site (1.00)
13. Cortez Goes Boom (1.16)
14. Red Herring du Jour (11.25)
15. Shut Him Down (0.31)
16. Explosive Headset (1.28)
17. Too Easy (2.48)
18. Kite Fixer (2.06)
19. Searching the Docks (2.56)
20. Gaerity's Hideout (1.25)
21. Saint Max (4.52) Excellent track
22. Computer Search (1.02)
23. You Don't Know Me (2.12)
24. At the Dolphin (0.50)
25. Nail Bomb (0.58)
26. For Your Lovely Wife (0.46)
27. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture (Last Bomb) (1.00)
28. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture (Bomb Struggle) (1.23)
29. Final Fight (3.40) Excellent track
30. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture (Desperate Run) (2.01)
31. Brakeless in Boston (3.08)
32. Everybody Loves a Hero (1.40) Excellent track

Bonus Tracks
33. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture (Rehearsal #1) (0.31)
34. Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture (Rehearsal #2) (0.28)

Total Length: 72.19
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 13 votes - average 4.65/5)

Released by

Intrada Special Collection ISC 264 (regular release 2013)

Conducted by

Alan Silvestri

Orchestrations by

William Ross