CodeMaster Talon | Orlando, FL United States | 04/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was recently trying to convince a friend of mine to see the new "Peter Pan". He was having none of it ("look's stupid" were his exact words), so I put on the soundtrack and turned it to track three, "Flying". My friend came in all excited and said "What's this? It's great." "It's 'Peter Pan'," I replied. He got annoyed and left, but not before taking my soundtrack. Such is the appeal of this beautiful, stunning musical score by James Newton Howard.I've been a mild fan of Howard for a while now (his "Unbreakable" score was a fave of mine) but let me tell you, if you liked him before, you are not going to believe what he does here. He is officially writing music at a whole new level. Sounding like a stunning blend of old-school John Williams and Danny Elfman at his peak, such tracks as the aforementioned "Flying", "The Fairy Dance" and the main title mark this score as the best score of 2003, and one of the best fantasy scores ever. Lovely choral work, delicate use of bells and harps, and the best synthesizer piece since "Chariots of Fire" are all displayed here. "Come Meet Father" has a Native American feel to the opening bars (suitable for the Lost Boys), the pirate theme is woven through several tracks (including "Fetch Long Tom") and "Mermaids" is downright creepy (as it's supposed to be). The score for this movie is so good, in fact, that some terrific stuff is unfortunately left off of the CD, but there's still plenty here to crow about.If you are a fan of fantasy scores, like James Newton Howard, or have any children, this score is a must buy. Just listen to the sample tracks above if you have any doubts. My friend, by the way, claims this CD is "pretty good, but I still don't want to see the movie." He says so, but I think it's his biggest pretend.GRADE: A"
An enchanting music box underscore from James Newton Howard
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James M. Barrie's beloved children's story celebrates its centennial this year. The story of the boy who never grows up and creates his own world of fairies, pirates, and Indians, was produced for the stage in 1904 and appeared as a narrative story in 1911. A silent film version was made in 1924, Disney made a feature-length animated cartoon in 1952, it was adapted as a play with music in 1950, and also became a musical comedy in 1954 (revived in 1979) that was also performed on television. Because he wanted his literary creation to always benefit children Barrie donated his rights to "Peter Pan" to a London children's hospital.In this enchanting live action version of "Peter Pan" from director P.J. Hogan the magic spell is woven as soon as James Newton Howard's opening music box theme is heard. This is a story of fantasy and adventure, which offers rich opportunities for any composer, as John Williams proved in 1991's "Hook" with a score that was superior to the film. Howard's score is not as majestic, but it was not required to be because this telling of the tale, owing much to both Barrie's original stories and a Freudian understanding of the transformation of children into adults. Howard's forte has been in doing underscores for children's films, such as "Dinosaur" and "Atlantis," as well as on the suspense films of M. Night Shyamalan. Here the former Elton John keyboardist's work works with not only an expanded Hollywood Studio Symphony but an adult chorus and children's choir as well and the result is music that underscores the film's action. Even at the musical high point of the film, "I Do Believe in Fairies," the music is never turned up full blast in the film. That honor is reserved for listening to this CD because the magic here is as simple as a child's dreams. From start to finish there is a sense of restraint to the music, which avoids going over the top with choral excesses (I watched "The Gallant Hours" for a prime example of that particular musical sin). If you are reminded of a John Williams score it is going to be from "Harry Potter" and not "Hook," because Howard is providing a darker edge to the music that fits the more mature depth of the story told in this film. Given that the battle between Peter and Hook ends up being even more psychological than it is physical, Howard's score is decidedly on point.James Newton Howard has received Oscar nominations for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score for 1998's "My Best Friend's Wedding" as well as for Best Music, Original Score for 1993's "The Fugitive" and 1991's "The Prince of Tides." He has also been nominated for Best Music, Original Song for "For the First Time" from 1996's "One Fine Day" and "Look What Love Has Done" from 1994's "Junior." However, his most familiar piece of music would have to be the theme from the television series "E.R.""
Excellent score! Howard strikes again!
J. K. Moser | Flemington, New Jersey USA | 11/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have enjoyed the work of James Newton Howard for several years, beginning with his score for the Fugitive, but it was not until the last 4 or 5 years that I feel that Howard has come into his own. With stirring scores for Atlantic, Dinosaur and especialy Treasure Planet, Howard has advanced quickly through the ranks of other composers to begin to emerge as one of the elite in the movie business. His score for Peter Pan enhances an already great resume. His work on Peter Pan perfectly matches with movie with light and fun themes interchanging with dark swashbuckling music and an adventurous themes, and of course his wonderful and beautiful flying music. His flying theme is truly a masterpiece, a soaring melody that puts the listener in the clouds with the characters on screen. I rate Howard's Peter Pan very highly and consider it to be among the most enjoyable of scores to listen to."
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 08/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This soundtrack is a work of magic and one of my favorites. Nearly all the songs are so perfect and simply gorgeous to listen to. My favorite song, "Fairy Dance" Is a beautiful lilting melody that gives me the chills even now. However, I was slightly disappointed that several of my favorite pieces from the movie were not included. Like towards the end when Wendy kisses Peter and when Peter defeats Hook. However, the music is great and I highly recommend it to those interested in buying!"