Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Hercules by Fernando Velázquez (Review)

posted Jul 23, 2014, 8:26 PM by Koray Savas

With the modernization of the swords-and-sandals epic on the rise, 2014 sees not one, but two new takes on the Greek demigod Hercules. The first came in the form of Renny Harlin's Legend Of Hercules earlier this year, and now we are treated to Brett Ratner's Hercules, based on the graphic novel by Steve Moore. While both films boast your run-of-the-mill tropes and cliches, they ended up with pretty decent film scores. Fernando Velázquez falls victim to some typical rhythms and modern score techniques, but he makes the most of a bad situation and delivers an adventurous musical journey full of color and vibrance.

Velázquez utilizes grand melodic lines and choir for the action, and it is in these cues where the score really shines. The album is slow to start due to some shortened cues, but the main ideas of what he further develops in the score are there to lay down the groundwork. Once "Bessi's Valley" hits, the score doesn't let you go until the excellent finale, save for "Dungeon & I Am Hercules," which brings the flow to a screeching halt for 6.5 minutes before picking back up. The aforementioned cue is a good example of some of the somber stoic material in the music, where the sound has life and direction yet a dull edge to it that keeps it in line with the film. It never overbears or becomes too lush for the material. It is in this sound that the main theme is rooted, and while Velázquez keeps it straightforward and simple, it's very effective. "Bessi-Battle," "The Battle," "Comrades Stand Together," "Alternative Ending," and "End-Titles" comprise the highlights of the entire score. The latter is a really fantastic send-off that is worth revisiting just on its own merits.

Fernando Velázquez takes today's standard blockbuster fare and conjures up a rigorous and exciting musical journey. While it may not stand up against some of the very impressive output from other composers this year so far, Hercules is an enjoyable romp of a score that doesn't get too caught up in overbearing seriousness. The album's flow is a bit disjointed at times, but the music has an old school energy that keeps you listening.