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The Spiderwick Chronicles
by James Horner

The Spiderwick Chronicles

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The Spiderwick Chronicles (Soundtrack) by James Horner

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Composed by James Horner
Lakeshore Records (2008)

Rating: 7/10

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Listen to this soundclip of Spiderwick Chronicles (Soundtrack) by James HornerWriting the Chronicles (360 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of Spiderwick Chronicles (Soundtrack) by James HornerHogsquel's Warning ... Mulgarath (353 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of Spiderwick Chronicles (Soundtrack) by James HornerThe Flight of the Griffin (3g3 kb)

More clips from The Spiderwick Chronicles at


“Hearkening back to his days of crafting sometimes magical, sometimes creepy, sometimes adventurous, melodic scores, THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is solidly entertaining.”

The Chronicles of Hornia
Review by Christopher Coleman

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is yet another children's fantasy book turned into a Hollywood feature film. The year of 2008 is going to be filled to the brim with them including: NIM'S ISLAND, INKHEART, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN, and HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. The one thing Horner's project has going for it is that it has the jump on all of these others - giving THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES a good opportunity of at least sounding fresh. The 2008 film is based on a book series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. Surprisingly, THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is one of the better adaptations of the genre (Harry Potter fans would likely disagree). Director Mark Waters was somehow able to bring something fresh to the table. The film has several layers of value. For the children there are the goblins, fairies, spells and magic talismans, but for the adults there is the story about the difficult adjustments a family going through a divorce must suffer to make. There's much more to THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES than the trailers would lead you to believe. Establishing his prowess at this years ago, one composer who can dance that line of fairy-story and adult drama is none other than JAMES HORNER.

Hearkening back to his days of crafting sometimes magical, sometimes creepy, sometimes adventurous, melodic scores, THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is solidly entertaining. No.  The score isn't groundbreaking, which some will inevitably find unforgivable, but for those who followed Horner's early career, this is a score that should be received fondly. Included within are all the necessary ingredients for a classic-Horner-score.  What he is able to do is craft a number of emotional and entertaining themes and more than adequately build a sense of suspense and wonder. In so doing, his music plays a significant role in helping to bring this fantastic world to life. What more could one ask for?

One thing I found surprising was the intensity of the film. Horner wastes little time in introducing us to the darker and more intense elements of the film. The ominous mystery heard in track 1, "Writing the Chronicles" is followed by a momentary burst of intensity in track 2, "So Many New Worlds Raveled," but by the conclusion of track 3, "Thimbletack and the Goblins" we get a good idea for where Horner is going to take this score. But Horner is barely getting warmed up. As we hit the mid-point of the soundtrack, he gives us a suite of intensity. Tracks 6 through 8 provide about 11 minutes of adventurous action. Of course, Horner leaves himself some emotional head-room and so later brings the film to a climax in two tracks: "The Protective Circle is Broken" (12) and "Jared and Mulgarath Fight for the Chronicles (13). One negative that I must note is the abruptness of the film's resolution. Unfortunately, there's no way the score can be divorced from this and so the change is clearly heard at the 3:54 mark as a distinct turn from intense action to the comedic relief of Hogsquel's theme.

Somehow, despite all of the "hornerisms," James Horner is able to arrange and orchestrate in such a way that it all works together to form something uniquely entertaining.  Whether is the well-used motif that dates back to CASPAR in 1995  or the Sorcerer's-Apprentice-vibe a la THE PAGEMASTER, or even the more contemporary bits from A BEAUTIFUL MIND, Horner is able to build a solid score with them using freshly constructed notes as the mortar that keeps it all together.  He delivers one his single-best moments in years with "The Flight of the Griffin" (10). 

Now, Mr. Horner has long been one of the best at writing and arranging top-notch closing credits. Say "closing credits" and immediately his end credit music for BRAVEHEART and LEGEND OF THE FALL come to mind. For the credits of THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, he does it again. Coming in at 8:22, it is the soundtrack's longest track and worth every second...even if the last few are a little redundant.  As any good closing-credit music should be, this piece includes all of the thematic highlights from the score.

Beloved composer of the 80s and early 90s, JAMES HORNER has seen his reputation take a beating in the last 10 years for the evidently crucifiable sin of "plagarism" and the abominable "self-plagarism." Yes somehow, despite the ire of some of the film music community, the man has stayed gainly employed. Go figure.  Now, when people talk "Horner," in the positive, they seem to reminisce about his scores from yester-decade (myself included). The "glory days" of Horner were filled with his works for children's movies like AN AMERICAN TALE, THE LAND BEFORE TIME, and ONCE UPON A FOREST. It's been a while since Horner has explored such wondrous worlds, but THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES has given the composer the perfect excuse to return to that unique blend of symphonic orchestra and synthesizers that he became known for over a decade ago.

Rating: 7/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Writing the Chronicles 3:03  ****
2 So Many New Worlds Revealed 5:12  ****
3 Thimbletack and the Goblins 5:15  ****
4 Hogsquel's Warning of a Bargain with Mulgarath 5:16  ***
5 Discovering Spiderwick's Secret Workshop 5:16  ***
6 Dark Armies from the Forest Attack 3:06  ***
7 Burning the Book 2:43  ****
8 A Desperate Run Through the Tunnels 4:47  ****
9 Lucinda's Story 6:01  ***
10 The Flight of the Griffin 6:55  *****
11 Escape from the Glade 4:44  ****
12 The Protective Circle is Broken 2:07  ****
13 Jared and Mulgarath Fight for the Chronicles 4:17  ***
14 Coming Home 6:17  ****
15 Closing Credits 8:23  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 72 minutes  




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