Interesting and pleasant, but the soundtrack to Louis Leterrier's Danny the Dog will throw longtime Massive Attack fans for a loop. The band's trademark deep sound is untraceable for the most part. It's probably a testament to how hard they stuck to the soundtracking rules, but this program music is rather run-of-the-mill, especially when compared to Massive Attack's proper albums, which – to be fair – would overtake most filmmaker's visuals. Harpsichords play over neo-noir beats and guitars echo forever as tension builds, and while the band's keen sense of sonic structure is intact, they're layering things much less than usual here and traveling some previously explored territory.
The film The Sandpiper is best-remembered today for Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of Your Smile". Its soundtrack CD has 11 pieces on it, ten of which are variations of that one melody. Other than a straightforward version of the theme that features a vocal group, Jack Sheldon's trumpet is prominent throughout much of the haunting score; the one exception to the moody music is the brief R&Bish "Bird Bath" which was used in a nightclub scene. Otherwise this CD's value to listeners depends largely on how much one enjoys "The Shadow of Your Smile".
After a long collaboration with composer James Horner, filmmaker James Cameron tapped up-and-comer Alan Silvestri to handle musical chores for his 1989 undersea epic The Abyss, and the resulting score proved a marvel of craft and scale. Employing choral and orchestral elements to magical, larger-than-life effect, Silvestri communicates both the pulse-pounding adventure and the mystical otherness that together galvanize the film–his portrayal of the strange world below the water's surface is sublimely atmospheric, evoking the known and the unknown with vivid imagination.
Quigley Down Under interprets the modern Western score from a distinctly Australian perspective. Basil Poledouris' aw-shucks melodies and quirky arrangements employ French horn, banjo, and clarinet to create a vivid evocation of gunslinger life in the Outback. While Lonesome Dove remains Poledouris' definitive work in the Western arena, Quigley Down Under possesses no shortfall of charm or imagination; its playful approach bubbles with an energy quite uncommon to the genre, avoiding portent and ponderousness to communicate the joie de vivre of its characters and setting. Most impressive is Poledouris' stirring main theme, a bold, oddly funky reinvention of the classic Western fanfare that immediately serves notice that Quigley Down Under is a horse of a very different color.