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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 by Alexandre Desplat (Review)

posted Nov 18, 2010, 3:07 PM by Kaya Savas

The Harry Potter series has been interesting from a score perspective. The films have gone through different directors and with different directors come different composers. John Williams started this franchise many years ago and "Hedwig's Theme" has become a staple sound of the series and the character. Desplat becomes the 4th composer to take over the series following John Williams, Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper. Hooper faced harsh criticism with his scores but I always thought they were extremely good. Desplat is a fantastic composer and his style is very recognizable. So what does Desplat have in store?

This score is very very good. It is a very fresh approach from a different voice but befitting as a closing chapter to the series. Desplat's approach here is very somber and mellow. He doesn't have big melodies here We start light and get darker as we plunge into the belly of the whale. The score mostly stays bubbling under the surface with some incredible thematic work at play. A lot of people are saying that he is finally bringing back the series to the John Williams style. False! This score sounds nothing like John Williams and I don't know what they are talking about. Desplat has too much talent to be doing impersonations and what we get here is exactly how Desplat would score Harry Potter. He incorporates "Hedwig's Theme" very minimally giving you that subtle reminder. Otherwise the themes at play build and work to tell the story in a very lush orchestral fashion. Some moments reminded me of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button but orchestral instead of featuring solo instruments.

The only problem with the score is that it is in fact half a score. We do get a lot of music on the release, but with the film structured in two parts the score is as well. So there really isn't a climax or resolution here. I wish there was because it would have been a lot more memorable if it felt like it resolved. Look at how Howard Shore did Lord Of The Rings. Each score was a separate entity yet they still bridged the films together. Then again the films were structured as chapters instead of parts so maybe that allowed Shore to have each of his scores end with a period instead of an ellipses.

What we have here is a great start to what I'm sure will be an amazing resolution by Desplat next summer. Since we're only getting half the story it just feels like we're left hanging and when your trying to grasp onto emotional arcs it makes it hard for the score to be memorable.
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