Sure Marco Beltrami scored the first movie in zombie history that elicited a tear-jerking lump in one’s throat instead of ripping it out. But just because Beltrami did such a great job on the simillarly terrific WARM BODIES, don’t think the guy behind SCREAM, HELLBOY and THE THING has gone all soft and emo on us as WORLD WAR Z shows with music-gnashing global destruction.

Imagine ten thousand Ghost Faces piling on top of each other to make mincemeat out of humanity, and you’ll hear the relentless, rhythmic rage that’s made Beltrami the go-to guy for horror scoring. There’s tons of symphonic sound and fury as dark, melodic masses of brass and strings wreak havoc in Beltrami’s inimitable style. While he might thankfully not try to play any ethnic feeling for the locations that Brad Pitt (playing the luckiest son of a bitch on Earth) jets to in hopes of finding a cure for the zombie onslaught, Beltrami adds plenty of striking flourishes, including angry rock guitar energy and the eerie samples of an unknowable, and possibly science-induced plague, as well kind of sonic booms that are all the rage now- with shuddering power that would make Megatron panic.

Not only does Beltrami’s music have to serve as one of the major engines that powers WORLD WAR Z, but it also has to play the dual demands of being horror-action, and providing an R-rated bite for a movie that conspicuously avoids being too ghastly to secure it’s PG13. Having done an impressive job with LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, Beltrami knows the bashing percussion it takes for this level of destruction, one that’s just slightly less nihilistic than “Knowing.” Yet thankfully there are peaks and valleys to WORLD WAR Z, with effective, orchestrally emotional detours that make the journey personal.

While the score is mostly about OMG terror for Z‘s first half, the second, far more intimate part of the film allows Beltrami to do an equally impressive job generating more elongated, pulsing suspense as we prowl about a research facility’s corridors, until the score will of course run like hell once more. But whether the music is scrambing full bore at the listener, or shuffling about as it waits to attack, Beltrami’s on his A-game here. His evocation of WORLD WAR Z is never busy music, conjuring both jagged panic and enough smooth melodic content to put a jaw-dropping human face on a castrophe beyond imagination. WORLD WAR Z can proudly stand as one of the alpha-omegas in Beltrami’s genre repertoire, delivering on the shocks and excitement in unreservedly bloody fashion for a blockbuster that’s more concerned with the epic instead of the ewww.

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