Composer: Henry Jackman
The Film: Adam Sandler and Kevin James have to save Earth from a bunch of aliens who find a time capsule in space and interpret it as a declaration of war. They use imagery from video games contained in the capsule as avatars while they attack the planet. Really. Basically Hollywood ripping off the Futurama episode.
Distinguishing Features: A lively primarily orchestral work from Jackman, suitably quirky while performing the function of being a contemporary blockbuster score. Jackman knows how to score for these movies (and has already done a previous video game picture in Wreck-It Ralph) and is fairly reliable, albeit somewhat predictable. It's surprising given the subject matter that he didn't go for something more electronically-integrated, but the orchestra and its palette is equal to its task.
There are some fine melodies here, particularly a heroic theme that uses the high registers of the brass section. The usual choir is here but not used terribly often, and Jackman's music is impressive if not consistent. The latter half of the final track - an overt homage to classic video game music - is perhaps a taste of what may have been.
Final Thoughts: Jackman often feels like he goes for atmosphere over anything else, but Pixels is his own Looney Tunes and most of the time it comes across well. But that final track is a bit of a tease and you may wish more of that was included in the score proper.
- Charlie Brigden
Pixels is out on digital and CD on July 24th from Varese Sarabande