Soundtrack Album Review
22 Tracks/Disc Time: 50:10
Earlier this year and just recently the film "Transcendence" was released on both Blu-Ray and DVD which was directed by Christopher Nolan's cinematographer Wally Pfeister, who had filmed practically every single one of his films including the "Batman Trilogy", "Inception" and "Insomnia". The film stars Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, a scientist is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists led by an attractive terrorist Bree (Kate Mara, "The Fantastic Four") who will do whatever it takes to stop him. When Caster's wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall, "Iron Man 3") finds a way to preserve his memory and sense of self through her dying husband's research, she enlists Will's best friend and scientist Max (Paul Bettany, "A Beautiful Mind") to transfer his subconcious into computer realm. However, when her plan actually works, Max starts to question if it really is Will or is it the computer using Will's memories, thoughts and desires to control the world by seducing Evelyn into doing his bidding until the truth starts to reveal itself. Max, Bree and fellow government associates (Oscar Winner Morgan Freeman "Million Dollar Baby", Cilian Murphy "28 Days Later" and Cole Hauser "2 Fast 2 Furious") try to help stop him.
While the film does feature a lot of interesting and unique ideas that unfortunately don't quite gel and could be done a whole lot better in another film, the best aspect is the work of composer Mychael Danna, writing his first score after winning the Oscar for the surprise hit, "Life Of Pi" brings a rather intriguing and original work that is somewhat similar to his very early work in his career featuring a lot of electronics, choir, strings and percussion effects that bolster the story alot more than the film itself does. It's to Danna's credit that he found something interesting to underscore the film with because the film was worse off without his invaluable contribution.
"Transcend" opens the album with some pulsing and atmospheric electronics that segue into a harmonic chorus that plays off the synthesizers and into a full snippet of orchestrial material that would play out throughout the entire score. Danna really underscores the more dramatic material in his usual manner with themes and sweeping string work with classical piano solos, a smattering of percussion and electronic effects sprinkled on highlighted by the tracks "Will and Evelyn", "Four, Maybe Five Weeks", "Building Will", "You Cannot Say" and "Is Anyone There?" that really solid dramatic writing. When the films' tone switches to the more sci-fi and thriller aspects of the film, Danna also switches a bit but not losing what he had developed earlier within the score. Beginning with tracks such as "Get Off The Grid", "Building Brightwood", "Healing The Sick", "Why Are You So Afraid Of This?", "It's In The Rain" and "Why Did You Lose Faith?" that utilizes the theme in a grandiose fashion with choir and electronics that enhance the spectrum of the score. The finale of the film I have to say was perfectly scored highlighted by "I Can See Everything", "Found A Way Back", "Always Was" and "Garden" where Danna provides some more of his standout writing with subtle tenderness at times, but also keeping the electronic elements in the mix but not quite as prominently as middle section of the score.
Watertower's album is a solid one featuring almost everything that was in the film as far as I can tell and is a good showcase of Danna's solid and original talents. Coming off an Oscar win, most composers do tend to slack a bit with their score after with James Horner's "Deep Impact" coming to mind. "Transcendence" isn't exactly a bad film and far from a great one but there are alot of positive qualities about it and in particular this score which is very effective and creepy and does what it's intended to do. A solid recommendation. Very solid Thumbs up.