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Fantastic Four by Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass (Review)

posted Aug 16, 2015, 4:02 PM by Koray Savas

Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot is getting slammed by critics and audiences alike, but putting aside the poor reception, there is a lot to love in what Marco Beltrami conjured up for the film's score. Famed minimalist composer Philip Glass is credited as co-composer; and ever since his involvement with the score was announced, fans have been eager to find out just what a Philip Glass superhero score would sound like. Well, it is essentially exactly what you would expect, as Glass only contributed a few minutes of original material to the project. Beltrami then took Glass' main melodic idea and incorporated it into the full score.

Philip Glass is not exactly cinema's most versatile musician. Endlessly derivative of himself, every film score is more or less a reworking of the same minimalistic rhythms. Highly effective once, but not so much on every movie. However, how Beltrami utilizes those signature Glass rhythms equates to a rather impressive and unique soundscape for an average Hollywood blockbuster. He effortlessly builds on top of the basic structures to create a wonderfully intrinsic flow to the melody. There is great color to the orchestrations and dark energy to the music's fervor. This is not a bright and breezy score, there is a heft and weight to how Beltrami unfolds the action and drama. There is not much structured development throughout, but the end of the album delivers with extended passages and an escalated sense of dread. This score could have easily been an awkward mishmash of musical styles, but it works best when both Beltrami and Glass are synched together. "Fantastic Four Prelude," "The Garage," "Baxter," "Building The Future," and "End Titles" are those highlights, with the latter cue sending the score off with grand closure.

Fantastic Four delivers on the traditional bombast, but the addition of Philip Glass gives it a darker duality that sets the tone for the whole score. Beltrami keeps things interesting without much lull even though the music is structured around shorter cues and bursts of action. The soundscape's unique coldness is not often found in the average superhero blockbuster, giving the music an organic and earthy undertone worth exploring away from the film.