Monday, January 3, 2011

Year in review part 5: Music

In our final ‘year in review’ article before we really set our sights on 2011, Between the Seats lends its ears to the music that lifted the films of 2010. I am very much a music score lover, that is, original orchestral music composed and conducted for a specific movie. Soundtracks are fine, but few impact me on any significant level, so soundtrack lovers will have to forgive me is those albums are not very popular on the list. And here we go:

5-The Music of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I am referring to both the score and soundtrack. Nigel Godrich’s score is surprisingly memorable, but this a case for the soundtrack takes over. In my review of the film I was lukewarm towards the film’s music, but after re-watching the movie, many of the film’s songs stuck with me and I still listen to them from time to time. A definite must for rock fans.

4- Inception. Ah, Hans Zimmer, can you do no wrong? Of course you can’t, so many of your scores sound alike. There is a famous saying that goes ‘If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it,’ which seems to be the strategy Zimmer has adopted for the better part of a decade now. Suffice to say, the Zimmer style rises to an astounding crescendo for Inception. Relentless, emotional and just darn huge.

3- How to Train Your Dragon. The dragons in the film may be doing most of the heavy lifting, but it felt as though John Powell’s catchy and rousing score gave them a bit of an extra lift. Powell is one of those composers who consistently puts out good work, rarely taking any missteps. The little Norse flavour of some pieces, some hints at young romance, and the thrilling pace of others made this an instant hit in my Itunes library.

2-Tron: Legacy. Well, many would say Daft Punk’s score is the only good thing about this movie. If you’ve read our review, then you know the score is but one of many good things about the film. Really, really good though, which surprised me because I am not typically a fan of this sort of music, but it just works so well for a film of this nature that I could not help but agree: this is a great score.

1- Kick-Ass. John Murphy, the leading creative behind the score to Mathew Vaughn’s off kilter (well, off kilter until the climax) comic book film, provides a sometimes cute, sometimes emotionally gripping set of musicals pieces that accompany the colourful characters of this world. One of my favourite action movie scores and I am not exaggerating when I write that.

Honourable mentions: The Social Network: Quite good, although unlike with Tron: Legacy, whose score was characterized by a type of music I don’t usually like but loved in that instance, The Social Network’s score (which is also heavy on a musical style I’m not the biggest fan of) didn’t stay with me as much.

Predators. John Debney does a fine job staying true to the spirit of Alan Silvestri’s material from the original movie, but a lot of the material is directly lifted from the 1989 score, so I had to take away a point or two.

Let Me In: Michael Giacchino continues to impress with his diverse range and ability to convey a story’s emotional depth through music. Let Me In is one of his simpler scores, but highly effective nonetheless.

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