The Happening Score Review


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DILinator

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The Happening Score Review
« on: June 03, 2008, 03:46:40 PM »
Ok, if you want virgin ears and a virgin mindset when you go into the movie for the first time, or if you're holding out until closer to the movie's release to listen to the score, don't read any further.  I have listened to the score for The Happening now (am actually finishing the last track as I type), and wanted to share my thoughts on the music.  I know some of you are avoiding the score, and anything else in advance though, so be warned that if you are somebody like that you may not want to read any further.

Now, for the rest of you that are still here, here are my thoughts on the score for The Happening. 

First off, here's my broad-stroke take on the music as a collective.  As we all have sensed, and seen the signs of, The Happening is a movie that is going to be closer to The Sixth Sense than any of Night's other movies have been in regard to be scary and frightful, so it makes sense the the score will be closest to that one.  Depending on what you look for in movie scores, or more specifically JNH - Shyamalan scores, this is either a good thing, or a let down. 

Like the score for The Sixth Sense, The Happening is dominated by scary underscore, and music that clearly will be more fitting in the film than on a solo listen.  There is a singular theme, and you get it at the outset of the film, in the Main Titles (as noted on the soundtrack titling).  However, it's not really what I would call a strong theme, not even as much as The Sixth Sense's was.  It's not bad mind you, but it's very whimsical and meandering, and doesn't get a lot of play until towards the end of the CD.  I think it's a theme that will likely fit the movie very well, but any time you have a movie where humankind is careening towards extinction like The Happening no doubt depicts, you can't expect even the main theme to have a lot of hope and optimism.

I need to go shortly, so I'll probably go into more depth later.  However, I will say that The last two tracks of the CD are the highlight of the score.  Track 17, "Be With You" is no doubt the emotional climax of the film, and plays out very much that way.  It's my favorite track for that reason, and would be the one I'd pull off to put on a compilation to represent the fim.  Track 18, the "End Title Suite" is just that: a suite of music that is a pleasant listen.  It even touches on music more positive than anything likely heard in the actual movie.  Perhaps that represents that there is some reason for optimism at the end of the film. 

Bottom line for me at least, is that "The Happening" is probably down around "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" as far as favorite JNH/Shyamalan scores, and not as memorable or complex as "Signs", "The Village", or "Lady in the Water".  Still, it's sure to fit the movie well, and it's not a bad score as a stand alone by any means.  I will go into more depth about it later, but for now I wanted to get this out there for people wondering, and considering whether to buy it themselves.   
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 03:25:37 PM by DILinator »
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.

Sanford

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Re: The Happening Score Review (Spoiler Alert!)
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 04:00:03 PM »
I've always intended on buying it, just not yet. I wanted to wait until I saw the actual movie. Thanks for posting though!

DILinator

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Re: The Happening Score Review (Spoiler Alert!)
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 10:00:06 AM »
I'm surprised there's not more commentary on this.  Maybe I scared people away with the spoiler alert.  There aren't any spoilers to the movie here really, just spoilers in case you don't want to have any idea what the music is like.

At any rate, I wanted to mention a few more things about the score now that I have some more time. 

As I mentioned before, the score is very much a background score, with not a lot of thematic development.  However, there is the main theme which gets a very emotional sounding rendition in Track 17, and is clearly the emotional heart of the film.  Unlike other scores, where you get that earlier on, clearly it's reserved for the finale of the movie here.  As I listened through I felt like there was no heart to this soundtrack, but then that track came, and the following one as well, and it added some emotion to it. 

One thing that this soundtrack does have is amazing bass!  I didn't have my bass up much past center in my car while I was listening to it, but the whole car was shaking from the bass in parts of this score.  It was pretty amazing! 

The cello plays a major role, as one would expect with featuring a renowned solo performer of that instrument.  It meanders in and out of the majority of the tracks on the CD, establishing a tone of uncertainty and anticipation. 

There are certainly a fair number of "jump" moments on the CD, as one would expect, and outside of the film these moments aren't too great on CD.  One interesting element is a theme that occurs a couple of times, including at the end of the Main Titles, which almost sounds like music from an old Batman film.  It's kind of an over the top "villian" theme.  What that signifies or represents in the movie I guess we'll have to see, but it doesn't seem to quite fit in with the rest of the music here.  I almost think of Unbreakable and it's superhero motifs more than The Happening. 

On the whole, it is a decent score, and only after viewing it in tandem with the film can it be judged fully.  However, just for easy listening purposes, this score isn't it.  Of the six JNH/Night collaborations, it's arguably the "worst" of the group, though I'm not saying it's bad, and it's pretty much on par with The Sixth Sense.  If you really liked that score, you may dig this one more than I do.  However, if you are a big fan of the scores for The Village or Lady in the Water because of their strong melodic themes, and depth, The Happening will likely leave you a little disappointed.   
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.

DILinator

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 03:26:05 PM »
I modified the title since I think I was scaring people off! Lol!
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.

Wags

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 09:26:54 PM »
I actually have a question for you:

In the clip from The Happening featuring John Leguizamo (its on youtube...and in spanish, called "El Incidente Clip 2" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-LvtOaDNXU]),  what is the track that plays during that scene?

DILinator

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 10:25:52 PM »
I actually have a question for you:

In the clip from The Happening featuring John Leguizamo (its on youtube...and in spanish, called "El Incidente Clip 2" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-LvtOaDNXU]),  what is the track that plays during that scene?

While it's a little hard to tell for sure, since the clip is a little choppy and they've added some other sound effects to the movie (plus the talking over the music), I'm certain that at least some of that music in the clip is featured in Track 10 - Jess Comforts Elliot.  That is actually the one other track besides those last two I mentioned before that has some of the more soft and emotional music prominently featured, though you get the gist of it in that clip.  I hope that helps! 
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2008, 09:12:27 AM »
Thanks for the information DILinator, but I always intended on buying the soundtrack.  Just one of those things because I have all his other soundtracks to Night's movies.
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DILinator

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2008, 11:15:56 AM »
I didn't figure anybody wouldn't actually buy the soundtrack, and I wouldn't even recommend against it.  I am primarily just letting people know that they shouldn't have too high of expectations for it, and then they won't be disappointed.
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.

Mr_Glass.1

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2008, 08:56:19 AM »
Allright, cool.  I won't go in expecting a lot and hopefully will come away surprised, though with JMS it's hard not to expect a lot.
I see the world Lucius Hunt, just not the way you see it.


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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2008, 06:23:56 AM »
Ok, if you want virgin ears and a virgin mindset when you go into the movie for the first time, or if you're holding out until closer to the movie's release to listen to the score, don't read any further.  I have listened to the score for The Happening now (am actually finishing the last track as I type), and wanted to share my thoughts on the music.  I know some of you are avoiding the score, and anything else in advance though, so be warned that if you are somebody like that you may not want to read any further.

Now, for the rest of you that are still here, here are my thoughts on the score for The Happening. 

First off, here's my broad-stroke take on the music as a collective.  As we all have sensed, and seen the signs of, The Happening is a movie that is going to be closer to The Sixth Sense than any of Night's other movies have been in regard to be scary and frightful, so it makes sense the the score will be closest to that one.  Depending on what you look for in movie scores, or more specifically JNH - Shyamalan scores, this is either a good thing, or a let down. 

Like the score for The Sixth Sense, The Happening is dominated by scary underscore, and music that clearly will be more fitting in the film than on a solo listen.  There is a singular theme, and you get it at the outset of the film, in the Main Titles (as noted on the soundtrack titling).  However, it's not really what I would call a strong theme, not even as much as The Sixth Sense's was.  It's not bad mind you, but it's very whimsical and meandering, and doesn't get a lot of play until towards the end of the CD.  I think it's a theme that will likely fit the movie very well, but any time you have a movie where humankind is careening towards extinction like The Happening no doubt depicts, you can't expect even the main theme to have a lot of hope and optimism.

I need to go shortly, so I'll probably go into more depth later.  However, I will say that The last two tracks of the CD are the highlight of the score.  Track 17, "Be With You" is no doubt the emotional climax of the film, and plays out very much that way.  It's my favorite track for that reason, and would be the one I'd pull off to put on a compilation to represent the fim.  Track 18, the "End Title Suite" is just that: a suite of music that is a pleasant listen.  It even touches on music more positive than anything likely heard in the actual movie.  Perhaps that represents that there is some reason for optimism at the end of the film. 

Bottom line for me at least, is that "The Happening" is probably down around "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" as far as favorite JNH/Shyamalan scores, and not as memorable or complex as "Signs", "The Village", or "Lady in the Water".  Still, it's sure to fit the movie well, and it's not a bad score as a stand alone by any means.  I will go into more depth about it later, but for now I wanted to get this out there for people wondering, and considering whether to buy it themselves.   


i agree with all u have said. i just got the soundtrack this morning.

the only thing i would disagree on is the fact u say its on the same lines of the sixth sense/unbreakable. i have to say, whilst sixth sense was more horror, it still had beautiful tracks and moving pieces, the happening is all out horror...except the last two tracks as u said, those 2 were brilliant.
however, the film is intended to be a throwback to those classic b-movies and i think the score pics up on that well...so in that sense...it succeeds.

i would consider it the worst of all his soundtracks so far and has ultimately lowered my expectations of the film (as i like to be moved to tears if possible by his films and this soundtrack doesn't tell me that it will). but, also as u said, if u like that kind of approach,fair enough but, those who fave the village or lady in the water soundtracks will be very disappointed.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 06:44:29 AM by LoveSexy »

okman4ever

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2008, 04:10:47 PM »
I have the soundtrack, and I enjoy it, but most of the tracks are not "casual listening" tracks.  They are filled with eerie tones and moods, but lack the emotion that we get in the LITW and The Village soundtracks.  I really do love the last 2 tracks though.  The hopefulness and emotion in them combined with the reoccuring moody tone is awesome.

I've been trying to guess where the movie ends and the credits roll, but I'm not sure.  My guess is the part where the chello fades out a little bit and starts playing very softly in the last track.  What do you guys think?

DILinator

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2008, 04:33:09 PM »
I've been trying to guess where the movie ends and the credits roll, but I'm not sure.  My guess is the part where the chello fades out a little bit and starts playing very softly in the last track.  What do you guys think?

That was my thinking as well, possibly about 2:30, but I think more likely at the 3:50 mark.  The music that immediately follows that is the kind that you'd expect at the beginning of end credits, and would seem to fit the mood as the people exit the theater. 
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.

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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 10:08:11 AM »
See, I think it has an absolutely gorgeous tone running under the horror music.  Which in the movie will probably leave you with a sick-sad feeling, as opposed to just a sick feeling like other horror films.  You're going to be scared at the same time that you're crying at what is happening.  I think one thing that will make this horror film different from others, is that you're going to feel sad for all the people dying.
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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2008, 08:19:30 AM »
honestly - i didn't like the score.  it was too overbearing in scenes that could have been silent.  it became the driving force of the movie in some areas - and at times felt cheap and 70s ish.  overall, it was fine and has some nice moments.  i will report that i think it was wise for howard to steer away from the three or four note motif through an entire score (AKA, the village, signs, LITW)...you don't want that to define him.


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Re: The Happening Score Review
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2008, 02:04:13 PM »
I have yet to purchase the score (I haven't even been able to find it in a Brick and Mortar store yet!) but from watching the film twice, and listening to samples on the internet, I'd say the score is very effective in helping to create the mood of the film. The movie is eerie, dark, and also sad. James Newton Howard captures this very well. The cheesy, B-movie aspects are also well represented, and overall it is just extremely well done.

Hopefully I can find a place to purchase it at soon! Otherwise my only option will be to order it online...