Danny Elfman,
(Decca, 2003)

I haven't seen the movie and don't plan to, but the soundtrack to Hulk was much more than I expected. What I can't believe is the fuss made over this movie and Hulk's image in front of us almost everywhere we go.

I remember when my mother told me Gone With the Wind and A Star is Born were remakes. I really didn't believe her, she was so old. Now I tell my son that Hulk is a remake, along with about half a dozen other titles he's seen in the last few years. Does he believe me? I don't know; but it's hard to argue against a huge marketing campaign that makes everything look brand new.

Since my son has seen the new flick, he and his friends enjoy reliving the cinematic pleasures through this soundtrack. They have many, many times over. When I finally managed to wrestle the CD from their clutches, I was pleasantly surprised.

Of course, composer Danny Elfman signifies much that is good in the world of music in movies. Soundtracks for Beetlejuice, Batman and Batman Returns are on his list of productions. From 1985 to the present, his music has been heard consistently by moviegoers. He's had significant success in television as well.

From what I remember of the Hulk, he was close to the edge almost all of the time. He hated his green self and suffered true despair over it; although best known for his temper, there yet lurked a quiet and sensitive side when he tried to blend into his surroundings. Just like Hulk's moodiness, the music passages are edgy and dramatic, suspenseful at times , as you would expect in a movie of this type.

Like Hulk, the orchestrated music is strong and direct. An intensity and rambunctiousness is brought out in the tracks "Hulk Out," "Captured" and "Hounds of Hell." In contrast, sensitive and slower moments are found in "Father Knows Best," "Betty's Dreams" and "Gentle Giant."

A note of interest from the teen component in our household was that "Set Me Free," the final track, is done by Velvet Revolver, a group made up of Scott Weiland, formerly of Stone Temple Pilots, and that a couple of the guys with him on this were at one time or another with Guns 'n' Roses. The band includes, Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner.

The CD cover has an inset with shiny, holographic letters. The tune list on the back liner has that familiar green face looking out at you, and inside is an insert with pictures from the movie and a fold-out mini-poster of Hulk on the other side.

This is the original motion picture soundtrack. There are some parts that sound like the generic suspense scene or the action packed scene, but overall this is a piece of music that has a sense of suspense and drama and sensitivity that is not campy or cheap. The sound is rich and fully orchestrated.

The funny thing is that it introduces and may entice some teenagers who are stuck on pop to listen to some orchestral sounds. That's a good reason for a purchase, and though the CD can stand alone without the picture-show, it may be a little too majestic, a little too intense for everyday listening pleasure. That's a possibility with a number of movie soundtracks but the intensity is also what some people like about them. If that's what pushes your buttons, I'm sure you'll appreciate the powerful moods of this album.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 27 March 2004

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