Many things annoyed me about the movie Prometheus. In addition to the swiss-cheese plot and irrational scientists the music took me out of the moment.
Good movie soundtracks will enhance your experience without drawing attention to themselves. The Prometheus score seems to draw inspiration from a pile driver. It managed to sound like all other generic action thriller soundtracks and yet draw attention to itself.
One of the key musical phrases that annoyed me was a 5-note french horn riff that repeated every time something significant (but not scary) happened. I couldn’t find a clip of this music phrase in a trailer for you but if you’ve seen the movie you will probably remember it as it was used about 87 times. Those five notes elicited a Pavlovian response in me where every time I heard them I had to slap somebody.
Compare the Prometheus music to the far more subtle and spooky music from the original Alien. Same basic melody but restrained and evocative.
Or even compare it to an action film trailer with a similar style, where there is a shift through ever-building crescendo of action with the music to match. Die Hard has a masterful use of percussion and even though it reflects the musical style of the late 80s it doesn’t date itself or draw needless attention to itself.
Now, when I want to draw significant circles around things I say, I hum those five notes from Prometheus.
“I want toast,” duuuuum-duuuuum-DAH-DAH-duuuuum.