Film scores

Soundtrack review: Seventh son (Marco Beltrami – 2015)

FrontCover

“Seventh Son” is a 2014 American 3D epic fantasy film directed by Sergei Bodrov and starring Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, and Julianne Moore. It is loosely based on the novel The Spook’s Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in the US) by Joseph Delaney. The story centers on Thomas Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son, and his adventures as the apprentice of the Spook. The movie was scored by the chameleon of film music, Marco Beltrami, who replaced A.R.Rahman (that would have been an odd choice for a fantasy epic” and Tuomas Kantelinen. Beltrami has had a very busy 2015 (only Lorne Balfe has more scores out) but some of them have been quite forgettable.

But this is an epic film where imagination and inspiration can roam freely and the “Prologue” gives me hope with its choirs and bold rhythm. At least after the first couple of cues I know that this score will not be boring or generic. Even if the fantasy music in here is nothing special or unheard of it has quite the stride and I am having a pleasant time listening to it. It has all the ingredients that make a fantasy score work: melodic inserts, horns or choirs.

“Malkin unleashed” (good cue name for a hockey fan) is the first moment when I feel truly connected with this score. You can’t go wrong with an epic action cue like this. The variation in this score is what makes Marco Beltrami one of the most interesting composers around; right after a fantastic cue like that we get a renaissance romantic theme like ”Gregory’s theme”. This one is heroic and inspirational and a truly memorable moment. This is how you build a fantasy score because it gives me the impression of a story, a saga, of characters I can relate to, of journeys I want to take part in.

Cues like those I mentioned make me have patience with the less interesting ones. A journey like “The seventh son” needs to have moments like those as well in order to work. No journey is easy and this musical one follows the rules. But as the score progresses it gets a bit stuck and moments that worked previously seem to drag. This is a 73 minutes long album and loses some of its steam in the middle. I recognize cues that probably work very well in context but need more for a standalone listen.

There are quite a few melodic parts that remind me of James Newton Howard’s “The last airbender”. Still the best parts are the fantasy adventure ones and they are truly entertaining. They could also work for a computer game and I found myself imagining stories quite often. As every Marco Beltrami score, this might divide fans. I am sure most of you will love it because it is a solid and entertaining fantasy score. Me, I enjoyed listening to it even if it’s not something I will come back to.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 33 / 73

Album excellence: 44%

Highlights:

Prologue

Malkin Unleashed

Gregory’s Theme

I’m Not Like You

Failed Spook And Half Witch

City Attack

Forest Ambush

Battle Of Pendle Mountain

I will haunt you

The Spook’s Apprentice

About the author

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).

1 Comment

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  • Why the soundtrack album is not found on Amazon and iTunes and even different album posters. Please Varese Serabande read my concern or someone official over there, please.