Michael Giacchino’s in my top 10 favorite composers but that doesn’t mean I’m going to like every score he composes. Case in point: Doctor Strange.
I was actually surprised when Giacchino was announced. Craig Armstrong had mentioned he’d be interested in scoring the film and I thought he had potential. When the trailers were released, the synth-heavy music used made sense for a more magical, less realistic type of film. So I was interested to see what Giacchino, a more traditional composer, would do with such a challenge.
It doesn’t start off well. The first couple tracks sound like music we’ve heard in the recent Star Trek films (all scored by Giacchino). There’s a bit of backing synth, but it isn’t pushed enough to the forefront. On some tracks, he tries to go experimental- having the choir try to imitate the classic chant from 2001, for example- but he never brings himself to go all experimental. What experiments he does make are solid but Giacchino mostly goes from Star Trek to Mission: Impossible and it doesn’t add up.
Overall, I don’t think Giacchino was the right composer for Doctor Strange. Most of the tracks sound too traditional and while there is a sense of newfound wonder throughout, there just isn’t enough experimentation. I’d personally love to see what someone like Armstrong, Elliot Goldenthal or Steven Price could do with this film. Despite my reservations, the score’s good on its own and if you like Giacchino’s prior works you’ll probably like this.
FINAL RATING: 2.9/5