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Thread: AVATAR SEQUELS -- Who should take over for James Horner?

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    AVATAR SEQUELS -- Who should take over for James Horner?

    Before legendary composer James Horner most unfortunately died in a plane crash, he had established a quite strong musical identity for James Cameron's Avatar franchise.
    With Horner's sad passing, who should step in and continue the series?

    As much as I'd probably love Hans Zimmer to take it over, he is too strong an individual voice to be shackled with paying much reverence to the essence of what Horner already did, and It'd be a waste to ask it of him. Zimmer would have to just do his own thing and pretty much completely ignore Horner's sublime groundwork. Whereas I think whomever continues the series would likely need to have a similar aesthetic as Horner -- and the ability to gracefully, humbly, and purposefully submit their talents to the looming shadow of Horner in tribute to his legacy... But maybe it's better to just get someone great and have them do their own unique thing?

    without too much initial explanation, I will just submit these names for review:

    01. Hans Zimmer
    02. James Newton Howard
    03. Alan Silvestri
    04. Christopher Young
    05. Joel McNeely
    06. John Debney
    07. Andrew Lockington
    08. David Arnold
    09. Clint Mansell
    10. Trevor Jones
    11. Bruce Broughton
    12. Mark Mancina
    13. John Powell
    14. Edward Shearmur
    15. Elliot Goldenthal
    16. Patrick Doyle
    17. Blake Neely
    18. Ilan Eshkeri
    19. Abel Korzeniowski
    20. Dario Marianelli
    21. Don Davis
    22. Cliff Eidelman
    23. Marco Beltrami
    24. Graeme Revell
    25. Randy Edelman
    26. Bear McCreary
    27. Michael Giacchino
    28. Brian Tyler
    29. Steve Jablonski
    30. Carter Burwell
    31. Howard Shore
    32. John Ottman
    33. Danny Elfman
    34. David Newman
    35. Alexandre Desplat

    I'm rather partial to the idea of giving the gig to longtime overlooked and underutilized Joel McNeely. He has a similar style to Horner (particularly in his unnecessarily great work for Disney's "Tinkerbell" vod series) and already has an established working relationship with James Cameron on "Ghost Of The Abyss" and "Dark Angel".
    Last edited by octagonproplex; 03-14-2017 at 11:27 PM.

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    Grand Shriner the marvin's Avatar
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    That's a tough one!
    Personally, I love the idea of McNeely but I doubt it'll ever happen.
    I think Howard, Lockington, Arnold or Powell would be the best choices here.

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    Bella Notte Lover PonyoBellanote's Avatar
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    I too believe James Newton Howard is the best choice. He's FANTASTIC for fantasy scores.
    Wishlist:
    - Alpha and Omega RS or CS (Chris Bacon)
    - Dragonheart RS or CS (Randy Edelman)
    - Star Fox Assault RS or CS (Yoshie Arakawa and Yoshinori Kawamoto)
    - Snow Buddies RS or CS (Brahm Wenger)
    - Zootopia RS or CS (Michael Giacchino)

    RS = Recording Sessions
    CS = Complete Score

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    My choices are Alan Silvestri, John Ottman, Shaun Davey and Christopher Franke.

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    Official Shrine Grinch TheSkeletonMan939's Avatar
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    Regarding Eidelman - - what ever happened to him?? You'd think he'd have hit the big time with Star Trek VI all those years ago, but he dropped off the map almost directly after.

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    Its the same with Shaun Davey with his amazing score for Tailor of Panama.

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    Certainly there are a heep of known quality composers who are most bafflingly not being given gainful employment. It really is a shame -- when we still have hugely capable composers like Trevor Jones, Bruce Broughton or David Arnold -- that near EVERY major film HAS so often gone to Giacchino, Desplat, Tyler, or Djawadi. I'm glad guys like Debney and Beltrami finally broke out to more prominence at least.

    There's also a barrage of composers in video games that create noteworthy music, but whether they can translate their musical talents into true cinematic storytelling and character enhancement is another question. Horner (if at times redundant or formulaic) ALWAYS had an inherent deep understanding and proclivity for his job as a significant contributing factor to the subtext of character within the grander design, and the grander design within the subtext of character -- the intimate and the infinite -- which is what made his efforts so effectively resonant. Horner didn't just write music, he was an essential collaborative filmmaker, with strong opinions on how to sonically convey complementary feelings and ideas onto images with iconic themes and emblematic melodies. Expression never at the expense of the man nor the myth.

    For all the criticism that Hans Zimmer snobbishly receives for his protégés, parodists, or pop methodologies -- I believe he's one of the other composers who most astutely gets that aspect of his job as filmmaker and consistently delivers nuanced, innovative, and evocative contributions to cinematic storytelling. I truly suspect much of Christopher Nolan's acclaimed work would absolutely fall short (if not altogether apart) without the narrative glue that Zimmer provides to truly lend convoluted hodgepodges of images from multiple arcs an air of confident cadence and purposed propulsion - shepherding anticipatory audiences toward accurate interpretation until eventual respite or resolution grants clarity. Whether one considers Zimmer a brilliant symphonic composer or not, Zimmer IS a brilliant FILM Composer -- perhaps even more so than living-legends John Williams or Ennio Morricone (whom I feel often wrote detached from intention) -- in correctly catering to the authentic emotion and aura of the narrative. So was James Horner, so sublime.

    In my humble opinion.
    Last edited by octagonproplex; 04-05-2017 at 10:29 AM.

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    James Newton Howard, John Powell, Christopher Young or Alexandre Desplat.

    Or, if they want to get risky, why not give an opportunity to people like Fernando Velázquez, Bear McCreary, Andrew Lockington, Roque Baños...? There's a lot of good people out there, along with the usual cycle of Brian Tyler/Giacchino/Remote Control composers.

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    Grand Shriner dmoth's Avatar
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    I would say that it really depends on how the movie has developed and moved forward in terms of who could or should score the film. The original film was groundbreaking with effects and grandeur, but still had an epic 'Hollywood', feel to it, helped along by Horner's score, which you could consider in the traditional 'old school' style (which I prefer) however such a huge new film, pushing technology and ideas further may need a more contemporary score.

    I personally favour a more traditional symphonic approach in scoring, but I realise that this is outdated now. But it could be just as exciting in the hands of, say for example Junkie XL or Daft Punk if that's the direction the new movie is heading?

    But in terms of Master scoring in a symphonic vein I would love to hear an Elliot Goldenthal score for another big fantasy movie and I also think that Mychael Danna could be an interesting choice too.

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    It'd be nice if Javier Navarrete could get a paying gig too.

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    Grand Shriner Imperivm's Avatar
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    What about Harry Gregson-Williams? Do you think he could be a good choise?

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imperivm View Post
    What about Harry Gregson-Williams? Do you think he could be a good choise?
    I've really liked some of HGW's work, specifically Kingdom Of Heaven, but he too often disappoints with generic wallpaper (His Narnia stuff was just "functional" for me), whereas Horner's compositions and themes always felt like an integral character to the story and essential to its telling. So HGW comes up short not only in lack of similar style, but more condemningly in lack of impact.

    That said, I'll still take Harry Gregson-Williams all-day/every-day over the likes of a weak sauce like Ramin Djawadi!

    But if we're gonna go the route of "Zimmerhouse" (Remote Control / Media Ventures), I'd rather just go straight to Hans (but it'd be a disservice to everyone to ask Zimmer to try to carry on in Horner's same compositional vein).

    From Zimmer's lineage, I imagine John Powell and possibly Mark Mancina could also work.

    Television's most valuable player Blake Neely is a protege of first Michael Kamen, and secondly Zimmerhouse -- and is certainly due to break out into features in a significant way...
    Last edited by octagonproplex; 05-06-2017 at 01:07 PM.

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    Grand Shriner Imperivm's Avatar
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    For the little film scores knowledge I have, I'd really see HG-W to take Horner's legacy. It really means nothing, but I like that he's conducting most of his own scores, as if it's something that only major composers would do. Anyway, he should go and make something way better than anything he did before, but I see so much potential, especially in his first Narnia score. I see some musical similarities in the use of percussions, synth and orchestra between Horner's Avatar and HG-W, but the most crucial part of film scoring is creating new leitmotifs and use them in a good way, I think.
    I cannot really tell if that would work good, since I personally haven't yet "catched" the greatness in Horner's music. You know, my ears are way too used to Zimmer's scores, and I'm slowly appreciating different approaches to film scores, like Beltrami's (which I have "discovered" with this year's Logan).

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    Maybe Christopher Tin should be considered?
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    Grand Shriner Imperivm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by octagonproplex View Post
    Maybe Christopher Tin should be considered?
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    Maybe. Nice piece!

    But I guess that Cameron would consider first a composer he's already worked with. And except the late James Horner, I remember only Brad Fiedel (which would be quite unlikely for the Avatar sequels) and Alan Silvestri. I have no clue if he's be a good choice for the film though...

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    Bella Notte Lover PonyoBellanote's Avatar
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    James Newton Howard. No second thoughts about it. He makes GREAT FANTASY music.

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    Grand Shriner Imperivm's Avatar
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    To me Fantastic Beasts was a little bit disappointing... But I'd prefer him to many other composers.

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    But I guess that Cameron would consider first a composer he's already worked with. And except the late James Horner, I remember only Brad Fiedel (which would be quite unlikely for the Avatar sequels) and Alan Silvestri. I have no clue if he's be a good choice for the film though...
    Alan Silvestri would be an appropriately strong choice to take the reins, although I seem to sense he and Cameron struggled to get on the same page for their one previous collaboration on The Abyss. Maybe I'm wrong though.

    Cameron worked with Joel McNeely on "Ghost Of The Abyss" and his Fox TV series "Dark Angel". And McNeely is of similar traditional orchestral pedigree to Horner, and a master at perfectly mimicking another composers nuances (specifically for classic score re-recording albums). John Debney and Cliff Eidelman are also talented at being able to perfectly realize another composer's intentions for re-recordings. All these choices have also composed hansom original film scores unto themselves. Then you have Horner associate Simon Franglen, who took over composer duties and interpreted the late great Horner's theme sketches for Antoine Fuqua's Magnificent Seven. So perhaps a good pinch hitter is what Avatar actually requires in lieu of Horner, rather than another big unique voice that would not stay in the same vein Horner starting pushing lifeblood through?

    James Newton Howard. No second thoughts about it. He makes GREAT FANTASY music.
    I do think JNH Would be an excellent choice, the only questions are if such an established voice as JNH wants to step into a world that Horner already established rather firmly in his own flourishes, and whether Cameron could feel sempatico with the working arrangement.

    In the past Cameron definitely voiced a clear admiration for Hans Zimmer as being one of the best around. Zimmer would represent a bit of an amalgam in the cool synth style of Brad Fiedel and the more emotional orchestral sensibilities of Horner -- both of whom were of course the two major previous music collaborative partners of Cameron's career. Zimmer would probably do something fantastic, but it certainly wouldn't ever be mistaken for belonging to the same language as Horner. But then again, it could be a good idea to have a new unique sound going forward, rather than try to regurgitate a pale imitation of what Horner did originally?
    Last edited by octagonproplex; 05-17-2017 at 12:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by octagonproplex View Post
    Zimmer would probably do something fantastic, but it certainly wouldn't ever be mistaken for belonging to the same language as Horner. But then again, it could be a good idea to have a new unique sound going forward, rather than try to regurgitate a pale imitation of what Horner did originally?
    You're completely right. They have so many sequels coming, they can't afford to just regurgitate stuff from the first movie. It would quickly become boring. They need to expand the soundscape and push it in new directions. That's why I really hope they get a new composer and give him as much freedom as possible.

    Just like, for instance, Zimmer did on the 2nd and 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean. He didn't stick too much to the old tunes and style, and invested himself so much in the process that he gave birth to one of his masterpieces (At World's End). If the producers had insisted on having the same style as the 1st score, we would have gotten only scores like the 4th and 5th one, and I'm sure the series wouldn't have been as impactful and successful!

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    Grand Shriner Imperivm's Avatar
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    Maybe Cameron could take the same approach that the Alien saga has... For each new film, a brand new composer in.

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrat28 View Post
    You're completely right. They have so many sequels coming, they can't afford to just regurgitate stuff from the first movie. It would quickly become boring. They need to expand the soundscape and push it in new directions. That's why I really hope they get a new composer and give him as much freedom as possible.

    Just like, for instance, Zimmer did on the 2nd and 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean. He didn't stick too much to the old tunes and style, and invested himself so much in the process that he gave birth to one of his masterpieces (At World's End). If the producers had insisted on having the same style as the 1st score, we would have gotten only scores like the 4th and 5th one, and I'm sure the series wouldn't have been as impactful and successful!

    Just in case you weren't already aware..

    Zimmer really was the primary theme composer of the first Pirates movie "Curse Of The Black Pearl" as well. He was under some sort of exclusivity contract for another project at the time, so he wrote the themes and shepherded the 1st Pirates score with his team while letting poised protege Klaus Badelt take the composer credit. Pirates 5 composer Geoff Zanelli has actually been a significant team composer for all the films. Zimmerhouse do things in a collaborative method, a bit like a rock band. So even though there may be a primary writer, individual leaders of the group are still asked to insert their specialties to the overall score, just like a lead singer/songwriter would still call upon instrumental flourishes, or original solo moments from his band mates. Zimmer revolutionized mainstream film music in that rather than composing traditionally on paper, he takes a world-music/pop-rock approach (which is his own musical background) composing on instruments, and then collaborating with his team members to add their own textures and flavor. Of course Hans gets all manner of heat from fans of traditionalism, but he never hid his unorthodox system. Many big "traditional" film composers have their teams of ghost writers who forever live in the shadows, but Hans actually selfishly shares as much credit as he is allowed, compensates their work, and makes sure to push for filmmakers to take a chance on his mentorees, getting many of them high profile solo launches into major autonomous careers.

    Zimmer's factory "Remote Control"(aka "Media Ventues") is how we all came to know the film scoring careers of John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Mark Mancina, Steve Jablonsky, Junkie XL, Trevor Rabin, Henry Jackman, Klaus Badelt, Lorne Balfe, Ramin Djawadi, Blake Neely, Geoff Zanelli, Trevor Morris, Nick Glennie-Smith, Atli Örvarsson, Heitor Pereora, Mark Streitenfeld, David Buckley, and James Dooley -- amongst others.

    Of course, not all those names are consistently impressive, but because of the platform that Zimmer set up for them, they have all had the opportunity. So regardless of the rather warranted complaint regarding the over prevalence of paler versions of a specific style linked to Zimmer, still no other cinematic music composer can claim to have mentored so many successful proteges. In my opinion, Zimmer himself remains a constantly innovative and eclectic musical force for strong and affecting storytelling compliment.
    Last edited by octagonproplex; 05-30-2017 at 09:52 PM.

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    Benjamin Wallfisch's prominent play with me as of late compels that his name rightfully join the discussion. Originally a protégé of Dario Marianelli, he presently works out of Zimmer's "Remote Control Productions".

    Two of Wallfisch's 2017 scores currently reside as my top of the year thus far. His accompaniment for director Gore Verbinski's underseen headtrip "A Cure For Wellness" has a wonderful eeriness to it, utilizing a chiming music-box type motif similar to (and ever so nearly equaling) what Javier Navarrete so memorably did on "Pan's Labyrinth". But my favorite at this moment is Wallfisch's score for the Holodomor set "Bitter Harvest" -- a fairly shoddily produced film that is not nearly as prestigious as the tragic subject ought to demand -- portraying the monumental 20th Century events of the sadistic Soviet forced man-made genocidal famine perpetrated upon the peoples of the Ukraine, resulting in a catastrophic death toll purported to be upward of 10 million (with lingering reverberations to this day). Unfortunately (despite some decent pedigree inside the production) the movie is littered with embarrassing clunky British accented English language performances, cheap aesthetics, gaudily forced romantic sweep, and syrupy melodrama. But Wallfisch's heart rendering music at least does lend it one most dignified grace. Better use of his evocative efforts would comprise of letting it serve as companion piece whilst reading more astute literature on this harrowing topic. I wish a more profound cinematic treatment of grounded grandeur would be mounted to shed a much needed light on these significant hardships of the not-so-distant past... but, I digress... anyway, the score is quite marvelous and comes highly recommended!

    Simpatico to James Horner's oeuvre, Benjamin Wallfisch also composes with thematically resonant emotionality; mixing traditionally refined orchestral sensibilities and a sublime penchant for ethnic flourishes.
    So, just perhaps, young maestro Wallfisch could prove a revelatory prospect for realizing the rest of James Cameron's proposed magnum opus...
    Last edited by octagonproplex; 05-30-2017 at 11:57 PM.

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    Star-Lord of the Dance futhark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PonyoBellanote View Post
    I too believe James Newton Howard is the best choice. He's FANTASTIC for fantasy scores.
    Amen to that!
    James Horner really captivated me with the beginning of the track "Pure spirits of The Forest" from Avatar,
    and there is one track (from the movie "Atlantis - The Lost Empire") by J. N. Howard that has the same mysterious vibe;
    you can hear it 00:32 seconds in "The Secret Swim" and in the beginning of the "End Credits".

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    Grand Shriner Imperivm's Avatar
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    Man, I love so much that piece! Along with the whole score and film in general.

    These days I'm listening to Rupert Gregson-Williams' score for Wonder Woman... And it looks pretty good! Not only it re-arranges incredibly well the very few minutes of music Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL wrote for the character in Batman v Superman, but also adds a few new themes. Also, the track "Trafalgar Celebration", what should be the ending and end credits intro has a very 'classic' music IMO.
    I was just wondering if he could take over the score of al least one of the Avatar sequels.

    In any case I'd be hugely excited if Cameron choose Hans Zimmer... that would be two titans of cinematic entertainment together!

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    Grand Shriner octagonproplex's Avatar
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    My only question on the otherwise perfect choice of James Newton Howard is if he can also compose the world/ethnic/tribal type elements for the Na'vi with a similar quality that James Horner excelled in.
    The only example that comes to mind for JNH is his African tinged score for "Blood Diamond".

    Whereas that world/ethnic/tribal type music is precisely what makes me give an edge to Hans Zimmer. He's very astute at bringing in many cultural influences -- as exemplified in "Tears Of The Sun", '"The Thin Red Line", "King Arthur", "The Power Of One", "The Lion King", "Gladiator", "Prince Of Egypt", "Black Hawk Down", "The Last Samurai", ect.

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