is Not an Option
by Christopher Coleman
All words which accurately describe James Horner’s score for Ron
Howard’s 1995 film, Apollo 13.
This score is simply one of James Horner’s best ever and many
film score fans rank it similarly. With a story so intense and
almost incredible, the score for the film could really have broken
it, if not done perfectly. Ron Howard chose James Horner to fulfill
this daunting scoring mission. For Horner, too, failure was simply
not an option. If the score did not reinforce the right emotion -
failure. If the score crossed the line and ventured into the land of
the corny score - critical failure. Fortunately, as one listens to
this score, one hears that Horner was equally successful in his mission.
James Horner captures the wide emotional swings from tragedy to
main theme is epic, heroic. It
is first heard in track 1, Main Title, was a solo trumpet plays the
memorable theme. This theme
makes brief appearances in a couple of other tracks, but really doesn’t
show itself in its full orchestral glory again until track 14, Re-entry
and Splashdown and then, finally, in the End Titles (track 15).
releases a good deal of the score along with 60’s rock and roll cuts and
dialogue from the film. In
any case, it is the music of Horner that makes this CD worth having no
matter what tags along with it. Aside
from the main theme, Horner score is full of great action/suspense pieces
that foreshadowed Titanic and Deep Impact and mysterious
dramatic pieces, the Main Title, The Launch, and Re-Entry &
Splashdown, have been honored in various compilations including:
Varese Sarabande’s Titanic and Other Film Scores of James
Horner, Silva’s Titanic: The Essential James Horner Film Music Collection and
Sonic Images’ Heart of the Ocean.
Also, Horner received a double nomination for an Academy Award in
1995 for Apollo 13 and Braveheart (either of which would
have been a worthy winner.)
experiences of the NASA engineers, the Apollo 13 command crew, and the
family of astronaut Jim Lovell are all captured accurately through
Horner’s music. His use of
vocals has seldom, if ever, been better.
Lennox’s work in the End Titles is a hauntingly great rendition
of one of the major themes.
CD does contain great pieces of the score, but the insertion of these rock
and roll hits of the sixties really hurt the overall listening experience. Much could have been gained by clustering them at the very
end of the CD. The dialogue can, at times, serve as a nice setup to the
upcoming score track or even one of the rock hits, but at other times can
score obviously inspired David Kneupper's work for the Apollo/ Saturn V
Exhibit and who could blame him. Horner's score, like the story
of the Apollo 13 mission, has inspired countless and continues to inspire