When I purchased the soundtrack to Gulliver's Travels, I have to confess my expectations weren't particularly high. Henry Jackman was not a name I was familiar with, but knew he was attached to Hans Zimmer's Remote Control. I did wonder whether the style would try and emulate Zimmer, and sound fairly generic. I can categorically say that is certainly not the case - and whilst I am a fan of Zimmer, I do like new composers to have a musical style of their own.
The score is a fantastic swashbuckling orchestral romp from start to finish. Although there are a large number of faster paced action tracks, there are some slower gems in here as well. There are some tracks which are more lighthearted, but it rarely falls into the realm of parody music, but at no point does it sound like it takes itself to seriously. The track "Forlorn" has a wonderful piano solo with strings, which reminded me a lot of James Newton Howard's style (which I absolutely adore). The final 10 minutes (which make up the final 3 tracks) are brilliant, striking the perfect balance of action music intermingled with some great slower portions of the album that ends the album on a real high.
The thing that caught me by surprise was the overall quality of the album. Although it seemed to lack a strong main theme, the tracks were brilliantly orchestrated and sounded very creative. I do feel like he is a composer trying to find his own style at the moment - I identified many moments on the album where it sounded like he was trying to emulate the style of John Williams, David Arnold, James Newton Howard, and particularly Harry Gregson-Williams. This was most obvious in the penultimate track "Ein Roboterleben", however I did not find this in any way to be distracting in a negative way.
Overall, the score to Gulliver's Travels is by no means a classic. However, it does maintain a strong listening experience throughout the entire duration of the album and contains some rather grandiose orchestral and choral tracks, and clearly shows Henry Jackman to be a fantastic composer who has yet to find his musical identity. If you stumble across this page, I really do feel this CD is worth a punt and HJ is certainly a name to watch out for in the future.