John Williams,
The Terminal
(Decca, 2004)

The Terminal was a lovely movie. Spielberg, Hanks, Zeta-Jones, et al, made a delightful film that harkened back to light-hearted enjoyable cinema of the mid-20th century. The soundtrack by the legendary John Williams follows suit and provides plenty of tunes of a light-hearted nature. The main problem with this album is that most of these light-hearted tunes seem disjointed from each other.

One of the hallmarks of Williams' monumental career is his versatility in musical style. Think about his most famous opus -- Star Wars ("A New Hope" or "Episode IV" or whatever we're supposed to call it now). That soundtrack was thematically and stylistically across the board, each piece drastically contrasting the previous one. In the context of Star Wars, it absolutely made sense as the characters and action went from one side of the galaxy to the next.

But The Terminal is a movie about a guy stuck in an airport. So, you would think the soundtrack to this movie would mirror that situation, right? I'm not asking for monotony, but perhaps a chance of inter-connectedness or an overlying musical theme. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen. Each piece is fairly independent, almost categorical and doesn't work as well in succession. It's almost as if Williams had a bunch of nice, pleasant tunes and just bunched them together.

Each piece is well done, but a good, solid soundtrack requires that each piece contribute to a cohesive whole. It all needs to add up. Unfortunately, in the case of this John Williams soundtrack, it's a great collection with no inter-connection. So, unless you're a huge John Williams fan, The Terminal soundtrack can be bumped to standby.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 23 July 2005

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