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 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 5:46 AM   
 By:   WavyRancheros   (Member)

As most of you know, Die Hard, Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance were scored by Michael Kamen, while Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard were scored by Marco Beltrami. Obviously, this was because Michael Kamen died way too early.

I never could get into the Beltrami Die Hard scores. He does use the McClane theme here and there, and a HINT of Beethoven's 9th ONCE in Die Hard 5, but that's it. None of the playful, ironic elements that made Kamen's scores great are in there. He didn't even bother to include the trademark horn blast (heard for example when Hans Gruber falls to his death) in Die Hard 4. He does include it in Die Hard 5, but it's a... "perverted" version of it, it sounds all wrong.

I was also majorly disappointed when he didn't incorporate a classical music piece as the basis of the score. For Live Free and Die Hard, I hoped for the 1812 Overture, for example. That was one of the big things that made the Die Hard films stand out as special action films. The score paralleled McClane's character, who always has this witty, ironic or sarcastic one liner coming when the shit hits the fan, because that's his way of dealing with the situation. That's why there's Christmas tunes, Beethoven's 9th and even I'm singing in the rain coming to the surface every now and then.

Next disappointment was Beltrami's way of scoring action scenes. I cannot listen to them. They sound mostly like a generic, dissonant mess. Kamen's action scoring is beautiful to listen to. That also came to my mind listening to the newly released Lethal Weapon soundtracks.

While I like Beltrami's work in other films, his Die Hard work was a major disappointment for me.

What's your take?

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:28 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

First Beltrami has done a lot of good work, his genre pictures for sci-fi adventure stuff usually works pretty well, I Robot and the like. He is a pretty smart guy, and seems like a nice guy too.

Kamen has us pretty pampered and spoiled with the work he did, he made a signature sound for Die Hard 1, and managed to carry it out with some differences in the other pictures very well. I am not sure that anyone could have ever done better than Kamen. I hear the score, I picture Die Hard, I see Die Hard, that is an effective score. Beyond that I think that the Beltrami score is serviceable, but not something that I would want apart from the picture.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:39 AM   
 By:   Glenn Butler   (Member)

The classical piece Beltrami integrated into Die Hard 5 was..."Smooth Criminal." That alone was amusing enough to carry me through that score.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 8:01 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I was not impressed with "Live Free or Die Hard" by Beltrami, both movie and score when it came out, and didn't think much of Beltrami's take on Die Hard. However, his follow up score to "A Good Day to Die Hard" I think is phenomenal and the parts he quotes of Kamen are fun and in the tradition of Die Hard. The first Die Hard score by Kamen remains my favorite.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 9:20 AM   
 By:   spielboy   (Member)

but same could be said about the movies themselves...

you are comparing scores 15-20 years away.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Why? Why does it have to be "vs". Why does it EVER have to be "vs".

Okay, truth be told, there's one "vs" - Marco Beltrami is a much better-equipped, technically, composer than Michael Kamen, rest his soul, ever was.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   Mat001   (Member)

It's not really the difference in generational styles, but more that Beltrami is more of an artist who goes for original music and not just copying someone else's work. For something like this, to maintain a consistency, you'd need a Ken Thorne. Look at what he did with "Superman II" and "Superman III". Or at least John Denby who came up with new stuff, but revisited the older material in "Predators".

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   crocodile   (Member)

Beltrami's material is, of course, no match for the original three.

But you have give him credit for revisiting and showing love to the series' music. After all, it's not Bond, Superman, Star Wars or Star Trek. That we got so many nods to Kamen in both of the scores is somewhat of a miracle. Especially in the last film, which has barely anything to do with the rest of them. I just turned it off after about 15 minutes, to be honest.


 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 3:45 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Michael Kamen's Die Hard scores are some of the greatest action scores ever written, brilliantly constructed with great wit and style, featuring a very unique stylistic stamp by the composer.

I'm sure Beltrami's not interested in ripping off other composers' styles, particularly one whose scores for the first three were so iconic and can't be copied. To even try would be foolish and he knew that. I'm sure he was never instructed or directed to ape the scores too much anyway as the newer films aimed to be more contemporary than their predecessors (and indeed they are by definition, being twelve years between the Kamen and Beltrami Die Hard eras).

It may be the same franchise and Beltrami may have incorporated a great deal of Kamenisms into his score, but otherwise it's apples and oranges and doesn't merit too much comparison in my humble opinion. Beltrami did a commendable job of nodding to the Kamen trilogy while crafting a new soundscape of his own that supported the newer pictures quite well. I can't think of a composer who more successfully could have taken over the Die Hard film score reins from Kamen than Beltrami did.

I love all five scores dearly.

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