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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

James Horner -- Clear and Present Danger (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)


What is more American than a scowling Harrison Ford, draped in an American flag?
Clear and Present Danger comes from the top of a very underrated pool of mid-90's action-adventure films. It includes one of the greatest, most-emulated set-pieces of all time, and here is a moment of it.

Now I know what some film score nerds are saying right now: "Out of every James Horner soundtrack, the one you are reviewing is Clear and Present Danger?!"
Well, nerds, the reason is that Clear and Present Danger (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) has pretty much everything I could ever want in a score. It's got that stirring, awesome, Harrison Ford wrapped in an American flag, "Sorry Mr. President, I don't dance" theme, it is fittingly bombastic when it needs to be, suspenseful when it needs to be, and enhances the film's scenes of intrigue, as well. Horner expertly combines a martial, modern drum sound at times to give the action scenes a more contemporary feel. He also incorporates a lot of 90's synthesizer sounds into the score, which I am an absolute sucker for (being timeless and of your time is one of the best things you can aspire to). Most importantly, as I review soundtracks as albums, Clear and Present Danger's flows like one. The track-listing isn't quite chronological, but it excellently follows the emotional flow of the film. Someone should be keeping a running adverb count for this review.
On a final note, a large portion of the film takes place in South America. The pan flute is one of the most maligned instruments in modern history, but Horner finds some unconventional ways to use it. Who ever imagined a pan flute could heighten suspense? Well, I guess James Horner did, as apparently that is what I am trying to tell you. Jeez, that sentence was awful. How about a song link...yeah, let's do that.
Here is the score for the full ambush scene. Try not to chew your fingers off.

Long live the 90's!!!
Also, the fact that I reviewed this and wrote an obituary for Tom Clancy in the same week is some crazy happenstance.

1994 Milan
1. Main Title/A Clear and Present Danger 5:24
2. Operation Reciprocity 3:25
3. Ambush 9:50
4. Laser-Guided Missile 3:50
5. Looking for Clues 3:31
6. Deleting the Evidence 4:41
7. Greer's Funeral/Betrayal 6:21
8. Escobedo's New Friend 5:27
9. Second Hand Copter 2:15
10. Truth Needs a Soldier/End Title 5:48

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