James Cameron James Horner

The film world is still reeling from news of a plane crash that appears to have taken the life of Oscar-winning composer James Horner. I say “appears” because Horner’s own attorney remains unable to confirm the composer’s death, more than twenty-four hours after the crash. A statement was released, however, saying “Although we are all awaiting official confirmation that our dear friend and client James Horner was in fact the pilot, we are shocked and deeply saddened to learn that his single-engine aircraft was involved in a fatal crash yesterday morning in northern Ventura County.” A confirmation seems like a formality at this point, given everything we do know.

Other filmmakers are speaking out about Horner’s passing and his influence. James Cameron‘s film Aliens led to Horner’s first Oscar nomination and also caused a rift between the two men that wasn’t healed for a decade. The two reunited to work on Titanic, which led to two Oscar wins for Horner, and they paired again another decade later for Avatar.

Now Cameron has released an extensive remembrance of James Horner, some of which you can read below. Read More »

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James Horner Has Died at Age 61

James Horner dead

James Horner, the Oscar-winning composer whose scores are an integral part of films such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Aliens, Braveheart and Titanic, is dead after his personal plane crashed.

A small plane registered to Horner went down this morning outside Santa Barbara CA, killing the pilot and destroying the plane. Horner’s attorney confirmed to THR that the plane belonged to the composer, and multiple sources later confirmed his death. He was 61. Read More »

James Cameron Avatar sequels

It goes without saying that James Cameron has a lot more story to tell in the universe first seen in Avatar. As it stands now, three sequel films are in development, and if all goes according to plan they will be released each year starting in 2017. However, according to one of Cameron’s frequent collaborators, there may be more.

James Horner, the Oscar-winning composer of Titanic who also did Avatar and Aliens, said that Cameron currently has a script for a fourth sequel – let’s call it Avatar 5 – that he’s trying to condense back into the previously planned three sequels. Read more about the Avatar sequels below. Read More »

james horner amazing spider-man 2

“Creative differences” is that oft-cited reason that people bail on movie projects, but that can also be a big problem when making any film, especially one with a hefty financial burden. Look at the Spider-Man series of films from Sony. Sam Raimi’s third film was evidence of heavy arguments and influence from producers who wanted one thing and a writer/director team that wanted others. Creative differences helped push Raimi away from the series. Now, with Marc Webb’s pair of films, “creative differences” is a plague on Spider-Man. Webb apparently wants certain things — character, plot — and producers want action and toy sales.

James Horner did the music for Marc Webb’s first Spidey film, The Amazing Spider-Man, but he wouldn’t do the sequel because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 “ended up being so terrible, I didn’t want to do it. It was just dreadful.” Anyone who saw the film, however, knew it ended up being terrible. That isn’t news. What’s interesting in Horner’s comments is the fact that the producers weren’t interested in Webb’s input at all. Read More »

James Horner Tapped To Score ‘Ender’s Game’

Oscar-winning composer James Horner has been hired by director Gavin Hood to write the music for Ender’s Game. The film, scheduled for release November 1, stars Asa Butterfield as a kid-genius recruited to space so he can train as a military leader. Harrison Ford co-stars along with Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Aramis Knight, Moises Arias and others.  Read More »

Who wins in a CG fight between Hulk and Superman? Want to see some new merch from The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers? Does The Amazing Spider-Man officially have a composer? Where can you hear real life psychological breakdowns of Batman’s villains? What does The Avengers trailer look like recut with footage from old school cartoons?  And which summer superhero movie is Kevin Smith most excited for? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits.  Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Despicable Me Minions at the Grove

After the jump you can find a few videos I was hoping to run today on the site, including:

  • A featurette taking us into composer James Horner‘s recording of the score for The Karate Kid.
  • Four minutes of The A-Team
  • The Minions from Despicable Me invade LA’s The Grove, an interested marketing experiment with a studio-sponsored flash mob

Watch all three clips, after the jump.
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James Horner’s Avatar Score vs. Glory Score

avatar glory

/Film reader Dano e-mailed me to point out that a track on the score for James Cameron’s Avatar sounds suspiciously similar to a track on the score of Glory. Of course, both films were scored by composer James Horner. I understand that composers tend to use the same instruments and tones for different dramatic beats. Horner is notorious for this, as it sounds like he borrows (or repeats) from his past filmography. But what makes this more notable is that Horner is nominated for an Academy Award for his Avatar score, in a year when a lot of other musical artists have been disqualified from nomination.

The list includes Sad Brad Karen O (of Where the Wild Things Are), T Bone Burnett (of Crazy Heart), Brian Eno (of The Lovely Bones), Carter Burwell (The Blind Side), Nicholas Hooper (Half-Blood Prince), Erran Baron Cohen (Bruno) and Jason Schwartzman (Funny People). Only 84 films qualified for consideration for a Best Score nomination, which actually makes the category the “smallest field among the 15 categories” of this year’s Oscars. And many more were disqualified from Best Original Song, including Sad Brad’s awesome track Help Yourself (for Up in the Air). The rule which disqualifies many composers states: “Scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs, or assembled from the music of more than one composer shall not be eligible.”

I’ve included the two musical tracks after the jump, so that you can listen to them for yourself. They are not identical, but they sound extremely similar. In a time when the Academy is disqualifying so many scores due to previous created compositions, why does this qualify? How different does a musical piece need to be to qualify?

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Avatar

Update: Fox has contacted us and assures us that the film’s running time is “looking much closer to 2 1/2 hours”.

Back in 1999, when I was still looking forward to Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace, I attempted to avoid any and all spoilers. I wanted to go into the movie not knowing what happened, partly because I figured that we all know what eventually happens, and I’d at least like to be surprised with some of these new characters. While doing the rounds at the local mall, The Natick Mall (which has since become yuppified and renamed “The Natick Collection”), I was checking out some extremely overpriced movies at Sam Goody when a friend approached me with the soundtrack to The Phantom Menace. He handed it over to me and said, “check out track Track 16!” And before thinking, I looked, to see the words “Qui-Gon’s Funeral”. I’ll always remember that moment, because that was the moment that the Phantom Menace Soundtrack spoiled the entire film for me.

And since then, I’m always weary of looking at the track listings for upcoming film scores. Some composers give the songs vague titles that reflect the mood or are a poetic reflection of a storypoint, but others title the songs using obvious descriptions of the exact storypoints that assist. Playlist has the track listing for James Cameron‘s Avatar, which – yes, believe it or not, actually reveals more of the film’s storyline than the recent spoiler-filled trailers/featurettes. For those of you interested in that sort of thing, you can check out the track listing after the jump, along with the French poster for the film (teased above).

And speaking of the film’s score, The Reelz Channel did an interview with composer James Horner (which seems to have disappeared from the website?), where Horner talks about his work on the film. During the interview Horner confirmed that the movie’s running time is very close to three hours in length.

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