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Johnny English Reborn by Ilan Eshkeri

Johnny English Reborn

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Johnny English Reborn (Soundtrack) by Ilan Eshkeri
Johnny English Reborn (Soundtrack) by Ilan Eshkeri
Johnny English Reborn (Poster and Memorabilia)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny English Reborn (Soundtrack) by Ilan Eshkeri

Johnny English Reborn
Composed by Ilan Eshkeri
Varese Sarabande (2011)

Rating: 7/10

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“If anything, parody allows a composer to truly let loose and exploit the clichés within the themes of a film, and this is certainly prevalent throughout ILAN ESHKERI’S score for JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN.”

"Parodisiacal"
Review by Richard Buxton

The last decade has been a decidedly erratic one for the parody film genre, with the likes of the SCARY MOVIE franchise, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, VAMPIRES SUCK and KUNG FU HUSTLE all sitting at wildly varying positions on the critical scale. Being a source of whimsical imitation at best, the parody genre is one that never has the weight of great expectations placed upon it and is therefore one that can occasionally surprise in a number of areas. JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN is certainly not one the greatest entries the genre in recent years, but the genre it aims to imitate and satirize is one that provides ample room for a musical score to excel. If anything, parody allows a composer to truly let loose and exploit the clichés within the themes of a film, and this is certainly prevalent throughout ILAN ESHKERI’S score for JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN.

ESHKERI’S intention to embrace the memes found within the James Bond franchise is immediately apparent as the orchestral swagger and suave of his main theme for JOHNNY ENGLISH slides into the frame. The main theme is instantly attractive and easily digested with its ascending and descending brass and string interchange. The smooth sound ESHKERI is imitating is presented in a light-hearted fashion that is initially an exciting mixture of bravado and light suspense, but eventually becomes tiresome in its repetition and lack of noticeable evolution. This main theme and identity of the score is established almost instantly in the opening track “London” (1). Any suspicions that JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN might be a score that teases the listener with whiffs of the main theme rather than fully exploring it are quickly dispelled, yet it is here that ESHKERI’S score experiences its downfall. The motifs hear in the score are satisfying to a degree, in that they are indisputably suitable to the film and its protagonist, but they are motifs that never stray beyond the comfort zone and develop their own identity within the score. The swagger of the main theme is heard in full swing in “London” before it is echoed in slightly varied forms in later tracks. “The Toy Cupboard” (2), for example, ratchets up the pace of the theme whilst maintaining the bravado of the opening track. The flexibility of the main theme makes for more than welcome shifts in gear as ESHKERI adapts it in to various forms such as that of the erratic “Commandeering the Vessel (5) or the action-packed “Helicopter” (11). Yet, This flexibility eventually becomes a reminder that beyond the main theme JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN lacks any particularly memorable themes.

“The Toy Cupboard” presents what could have been an opportunity for ESHKERI to expand beyond the main theme as a rousing string motif flashes momentarily amongst the action-rendition of the main theme. A greater exploration of this theme beyond its occasional revival throughout the score would certainly have given JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN greater depth and impetus. The emotion heard in the strings is perhaps of greater value than anything else present in ESHKERI’S score, and it’s a great disappointment to learn that such emotion is rarely evoked. “Johnny Reborn” (20) treads similar ground and establishes itself as one of the highlights of the soundtrack, but is hardly enough on its own.

Beyond these two themes and ideas, JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN is an example of competent action scoring that never roams beyond the formula set by many an action score before it, merely accenting it with the default bold and enchantingly suave orchestral sound that has come to be expected from the franchise. This, admittedly, does add extra value to an action-scoring template that has been retread numerous times, but doesn’t quite manage to lift the score above the sea of action-scores available today. ESHKERI briefly flavours the score with an oriental aesthetic in “Hong Kong” (3), but the moment is so fleeting that it barely registers in the grand scheme of things. Otherwise it is up to the likes of the engaging but ultimately routine “Wheelchair” (13) or the cacophonous “Cliff Jump” (21) to hold the attention of the listener.

As an accompaniment to a film, ESHKERI’S score does a fine job, lining itself up exactly with the nature of the film as a parody, exaggerating the ideas heard within the Bond franchise without becoming overpowering. Based purely on the score’s ability to fit the film it accompanies, JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN is an accomplished musical arrangement, beyond that however it grows from promising origins into an embodiment of unfulfilled potential that rides the dwindling wave it rose from.

 

Rating: 7/10


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 London 1:35  ****
2 The Toy Cupboard 2:09  ****
3 Hong Kong 2:21  ****
4 Rooftop Chase 2:57  ****
5 Commandeering The Vessel 1:31  ***
6 Bravo Commander 0:40  ***
7 Killer Cleaner 1:35  ***
8 Hypnotification 2:07  ***
9 Karlenko Arrives 0:29  ***
10 Golf 2:21  **
11 Helicopter 2:29  ****
12 Church Escape 1:53  **
13 Wheelchair 3:43  ****
14 Ambrose 1:01  **
15 Timoxybarbobutenol 1:47  *****
16 Tucker Shoots Johnny 1:23  ***
17 Poisoning The Drink 1:08  **
18 The Manic Phase 4:08  ***
19 Lipstick Gun 3:15  ****
20 Johnny Reborn 2:19  ***
21 Cliff Jump 2:33  ****
22 Umbrella 0:45  ***
23 Buckingham Palace 1:05  ***
24 Killer Queener 1:10  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 46 minutes  

 

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