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Soundtrack review: The Bourne Legacy (James Newton Howard – 2012)

Franchises JNH Thursday

Soundtrack review: The Bourne Legacy (James Newton Howard – 2012)



The Bourne franchise went beyond the three novels and expanded its universe with a fourth film. “The Bourne legacy” was a parallel story to “The Bourne Ultimatum” and it didn’t feature director Paul Greengrass or star Matt Damon. Jeremy Renner took the rains and he’s a popular guy for doing that. I am seeing his close to taking over the Mission: Impossible franchise as well plus he’s one of The Avengers. I am ok with that since he’s a great actor.

John Powell’s trilogy of Bourne scores weren’t as exciting as I had hoped. I loved the main theme and a few other pieces but other than that they are not scores I come back to very often. James Newton Howard was a strange name to add to this project because he’s not really an action music god. His only other notable venture in this genre was “Salt” and it was a hit and miss score.

Though it ends up as a sharp and alert action score, “The Bourne Legacy” sounds just like a blend between Powell’s original scores and “Salt”. James Newton Howard uses Powell’s main theme to give the score a sense of continuity and then launched a pulsating electronic attack just like he did with “Salt”. This score feels like a sequel to that one.

There are a few exciting moments. I loved the ambient “Wolves/ Sic Ric” (It’s also one of my favorite scenes from the movie as well) or the pounding and neurotic “Chem talk”. James Newton Howard’s sound in this one also works very well for the frantic action scenes. “Aaron run!” is a sharp and exciting track, reminiscent of the awesome “Chase across DC” from “Salt”.

Atmosphere is what “The Bourne Legacy” has going for it. Be it uncomfortable silences, tense moments or fast pursuits the score will leave you with your pulse raised and the feeling that you’ve just been part of a thrilling adventure. You will feel as if you’ve been controlled and driven by a greater force.

Cue rating: 74 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 9 / 59

Album excellence: 15%


“Chem Talk”

“Aaron Run!”

“Magsaysay Suite”


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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