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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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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Leona Lewis To Sing Avatar’s Theme Song

Leona Lewis

Atlantic Records has announced that they will be releasing the upcoming score for James Cameron’s Avatar. While details are thin, the small press release on Atlantic’s website reveals that Avatar: Music From The Motion Picture will feature “music composed and conducted by Academy Award┬«-winner James Horner (this we already knew…) and the film’s title song, ‘I See You’, performed by multiple Grammy┬« Award-nominated singer Leona Lewis“.

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Over the past few days, the internet has been flooded with interesting tidbits about the movie soundtracks and scores for some major upcoming releases. After the jump, hear about what’s going on with the title song for Up in the Air, who might score Kevin Smith’s Couple of Dicks, and exactly how epic James Horner’s Avatar score is supposed to be.
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