- Audio CD (July 30 2002)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Hollywood Records
- Run Time: 106 minutes
- ASIN: B00006AWG7
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
|1. Main Titles|
|2. First Crop Circles|
|3. Roof Intruder|
|4. Brazilian Video|
|5. In The Cornfield|
|6. Baby Monitor|
|7. Recruiting Office|
|8. Throwing A Stone|
|9. Boarding Up The House|
|10. Into The Basement|
|11. Asthma Attack|
|12. The Hand Of Fate - Part I|
|13. The Hand Of Fate - Part II|
James Newton Howard is so attentive to the plot and underlying emotions of each scene that the music becomes indispensable. Other reviews have rightly mentioned the Bernard Herrmann minimalism. The three-note motif is a similar tactic to the five-note signature of "Close Encounters." Howard's intent with the opening theme was to create what he called "[...]a context of expectations." The music telegraphs that at SOME point, something big is going to happen to go along with it.
Normally, the music will change to mark a shift in location (city, country, planet). Since nearly all of this movie occurs within 20 acres, the repetition and thematic simplicity reinforce the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film. Still, this presents exactly the same problem as with John Williams' score for "Minority Report." Parts of the score become TOO sedate when removed from the film.
The furthest Mel Gibson's character gets from the confines of the farm is in flashback dreams of his wife. In turn, that memory keeps him cooped up under his roof, trying to hide from God. Howard uses warm strings to signify the issue of faith gently working its way back into the Hess household. Changing which instrument does the three-note trickle greatly varies its mood and effect.
The subdued nature of the score also gives the crescendos more punch ("Into The Basement," "Asthma Attack," and "The Hand of Fate - Part I") There's a thread of heartland Americana in the gentler parts of the score, particularly in "The Hand of Fate - Part II."
The music and the film are a great partnership. On its own, the soundtrack is worth getting for the energy of the first track, and of the last three.
"Signs" is a movie that hearkens back to some classic suspense films, such as Hitchcock's "The Birds," which Shyamalan mentions specifically as part of his inspiration for "Signs." It's a film which borrows heavily from some of the best suspense films ever made, but puts it in a modern context and peoples it with vibrant characters. With this in mind, it should not be at all surprising that Howard took a similar approach for his music for the film.
The opening theme of "Signs" is strongly reminiscent of some classic suspense themes, particularly those of Bernard Herrmann. When I first heard it, it put me in mind of those old thrillers of Hitchcock's, which sets the stage perfectly for the film. The same sort of adapted classic thriller theme is used at several points through the film, most noticably in the final scenes (on the CD, in "The Hand of Fate").
Throughout his score for "Signs," Howard repeats and builds upon a three-note motif that changes its nature depending on the scene. The same basic three notes are used to express the suspense of "Roof Intruder," the mystery and wonder of "Baby Monitor," the restrained tension and release of "Asthma Attack," and the triumphant conclusion of "The Hand of Fate." The three-note motif is, in fact, present through a great deal of the score, though sometimes more clearly than others.Read more ›