Among my cd collection, subgroup movie soundtracks, is a little album from a little movie that came out way back in 2004 to little acclaim. This film, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, directed by a nobody named Mel Gibson, told the story of another little-known figure named Jesus. One day Jesus made enemies of the wrong people and they beat him within an inch of his life, hung him on a cross, made a martyr out of him, and pretty much changed the world. This is a review of the music that accompanied that particular event.
Composed by John Debney, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was a cd I bought used for, maybe, $2. Its probably one of my least-played soundtracks, definitely the one Im least-familiar with, and absolutely the one most likely to be forgotten again once Ive finished the review. Thats not to say theres anything wrong with this soundtrack, but the strangest thing happens when Im playing it. I enjoy the songs, I love the passion behind the drums in Jesus Arrested, the mix of tribal and choir, the pace, the mood set by the song. But I know that once this song is over I wont be able to recall one thing about it. Same thing with Peter Denies Jesus, Simon is Dismissed, and Raising the Cross (and Raising the Cross is probably the best song on here, theres an intensity to it thats undeniable). THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST soundtrack is one of the most anonymous cds Ive ever heard.
Ive tried and tried to drill this thing into my head, to know these songs, to try to differentiate between them and become familiar with them, but Im just having no luck in that area. Composer John Debney is an old pro and his work on this soundtrack gained an Academy Award nomination, so Ive always felt it was something lacking in ME that kept these tracks from standing out like those on, say, 300 did. But for me, every time I play it, it starts, I hear it, and before I know it, its over. There seems to be little between songs that distinguishes one from another and, for all its worth, the disc may as well have been tracked as one continuous song. The drums and pipes in Simon is Dismissed could very well be the same as those heard in Jesus Arrested four songs earlier.
Ive only seen the movie once, so Im unable to use that as a reference point to keeping the songs in mind, even though some are titled appropriately enough to recall their place in the film. Some, however, like Flagellation/Dark Choir/Disciples is harder to place, as is It Is Done and Peaceful but Primitive Procession, even though by the titles I SHOULD be able to figure it out. I mean, I can figure out where in the story they fit, but using specifics of the scene to recall the music, no that doesnt help.
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST soundtrack is, for me, nothing special at all. Theres nothing on here I cant find in some other, more interesting and memorable form, on another soundtrack, whether 300, CITY OF ANGELS, or even THE GODFATHER. And I believe that makes my disappoint even greater because I wanted SO much to love this one. Ive rarely been more eager to listen to a new soundtrack immediately after buying it. And Ive also rarely been more disappointed in how utterly mundane a soundtrack has turned out to be.
You listen to THE GODFATHER, you know its some big, brash Italiano partying going on. You listen to INDEPENDENCE DAY, you know some extreme valor is about to go down in the face of an impossible enemy. You listen to THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, the choir backing a few songs here and there, like Crucifixion, gives some hint of a heavenly presence, but nothing that really cries out The Savior is dying for your sins! REPENT! I just think more could have been done. Im sure Debney just wanted to write a good accompanying score that complimented the movie without overpowering it, but when taken on its own, without the visual to back it up, the score is really pretty average. For all the fuss and hype surrounding the movie, I expected a little more from the soundtrack.
Other Soundtracks in My Collection:
10 Things I Hate About You
City of Angels
From Dusk Till Dawn
Grosse Point Blank
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Kill Bill Vol. 2
Natural Born Killers