From the Robin Hood trailer, the end goal of Ridley Scott and Russel Crowe seems pretty obvious: make another Gladiator. While they may have matched the look and perhaps the feel, they certainly didn’t match the sound. Marc Streitenfeld’s score for Robin Hood is only slightly better than five hours of non-stop, out-of-tune bagpipes accompanying baby cries and cat wails.
Back in January when I discussed 2010 film scores, I wrote this of Streitenfeld composing Robin Hood:
This is a Ridley Scott film, so I assumed Hans Zimmer would be composing. Officially, he’s not, but since Marc is one of Hans’s goons, no doubt this will sound as if Zimmer composed it. And I’m sure I’ll be very pleased. Will this be in the vein of Zimmer’s masterful Gladiator or the less-serious-but-still-exciting King Arthur? Here’s hoping for the former.
Unfortunately, Robin Hood is in the vein of neither maybe the lower gastrointestinal track of one of the two, but certainly not in the vein. The music is uninspiring, unexciting, and utterly devoid of any apparent effort.
Marc Streitenfeld comes from the Hans Zimmer school of composing or, as I usually say, Marc Streitenfeld is a Zimmer goon. Zimmer’s studio, Remote Control (formerly Media Ventures), churns out similar sounding music for almost every film they touch. For most films, the main, credited composer has a band of merry men to supply additional music, so in most cases you cannot be entirely sure who actually composed the score. With this many composers collaborating together, you might think the goons should output some great stuff. You would be mistaken.
Usually for films that are solely credited to Zimmer, I rather enjoy the scores Gladiator, Angels and Demons, The Last Samurai, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 to name a few. But when his goons step up, I set myself up for extreme letdown when I expect something more than their last effort.
To be fair, not everything that has ever come from Media-Ventures/Remote-Control is terrible. The first Transformers score, while unoriginal, was still exciting and afforded repeated listens. And of course, Media Ventures produced John Powell who is easily one of the top composers in the business today.
Streitenfeld’s Robin Hood, though, fails to provide anything worth praising, just like Ramin Djawadi’s Clash of the Titans score. (I didn’t write a review of it, but I wrote on Twitter, “Ramin Djawadi’s Clash of the Titans score is a miserably generic, sub-par heap of mediocrity. Is the film this uninspiring?”) There is barely any thematic content in Robin Hood. The only passable theme is a warmed-over theme from every other goon score:
Then there’s this “action” music:
Yes, I feel and see the intensity of battle in my mind so intense I thought cutting my toenails might be more interesting.
And then there’s whatever the hell this is:
The only track that’s worth anything is the last track, “Merry Men,” which combines the warmed-over theme with some much-needed and desired jauntiness:
Shameful that the last track finally offers something to draw you in to the score but then ends leaving you feeling more cheated than these salmon.
What’s amazing to me is that music this uninspiring whether it be this specific score or any other mediocre effort makes it past the approval process. Do no film directors or producers stop and say, “Hey, that’s some pretty shitty music. Shouldn’t we hire someone better?” Or do these directors and producers not notice the stench of awful music because the rest of the film reeks even more?
A film this big deserved a better score a decent score at least. Marc Streitenfeld’s score is not a decent score not even close. If you liked Zimmer’s Gladiator or even Jablonsky’s Transformers, stay away from Streitenfeld’s Robin Hood. This isn’t music; it’s cobbling together some notes in a subpar effort to get a job done. And what a terrible job it was.