I’m totally a soundtrack guy. I'm the guy who puts on a score in the car, or on my iPod and relives the film in all its audio glory. It might be the classical music fan in me (I grew up with a classically trained violinist for a father) that enjoys the score’s for films so much, or something else, I don’t know. The point is that I have been well known to walk out a film I’ve just seen and having enjoyed the score will pop into the store or onto iTunes and buy the soundtrack right away.
A film without a score would be ludicrous. Since it’s Friday today and I don’t have a review to put up, I thought we’d do a top ten of my favourite film scores.
Without further ado then:
10. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL – Klaus Badelt
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Soaring crescendos and full of pomp, triumph and glory this is a soundtrack that you can’t NOT like. What’s even funnier is I recall sitting in the theatre and thinking, “Wow, this sounds like it has strains of Hans Zimmer’s GLADIATOR score in it” and it turns out that Badelt is a student of Zimmer’s and Zimmer himself helped out along with other composers.
9. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE – John Williams
Iconic and powerful brass instruments are key to John Williams stuff normally, and this one is no exception. It’s funny but I don’t think you could make a Superman film (or TV show) without at least touching on Williams score now. It will forever be intrinsically tied to the character. Still, when this one comes on my iPod I always feel like I can fly ( < ---see what I did there?)
8. GLORY – James Horner
An incredibly MOVING piece of cinematic history, and a score to match it. Of all the Ed Zwick period films that came out in the 80’s and 90’s, only nothing stands higher than GLORY, and I think Horner’s score is partly responsible. It is equally triumphant and moving. I challenge anyone to watch the last 30 minutes of this film and not FEEL the score resonate in you.
7. RUN LOLA RUN (LOLA RENNT) – (The PALE 3) AKA Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil
A totally kintetic, time-based, repetition based film and an equally done score. The techno-nature of the soundtrack not only fits perfectly with the narrative and the cinematography…but makes for heady awesome listening on the best of days. An absolutely modern soundtrack executed with full attention to the film itself. I’m tempted to have put the score to DER KRIEGER UND DUE KAISERIN (THE PRINCESS & THE WARRIOR) instead as it is a superior film, but RLR just has the better soundtrack.
6. FIGHT CLUB – The Dust Brothers
Never has a soundtrack been the icing on the cake quite like this. At least not for me. Full of bass lines and snare drum riffs reorganized into synths and melodies, this soundtrack is exactly as bare bones type of simplistic, but chaotic soundtrack that could only go with this film. Every beat of this film is cadenced in the Dust Brothers work and Fincher ought to be very pleased he chose these guys to do this one. A stunning composite of everything the movie stands for.
5. THE DARK KNIGHT – Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
Amazing suite’s like WHY SO SERIOUS, AGGRESSIVE EXPANSION and THE DARK KNIGHT show why Zimmer is at the top of his game and why adding Howard to the mix just ups the ante. One of the most impressive, immersive, and thundering scores in film history this one goes above and beyond and transports the listener directly into the movie itself. For a film that is near perfect, the score joins those accolades and partly makes it what it is.
4. GLADIATOR – Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
Let’s face facts. Ridley’s GLADIATOR is an incredible piece of work (historical inaccuracies aside), and the score is no slouch either. But one thing makes it what it is. Vocalist Lisa Gerrard. Without her the score would NOT be what it is. She makes it. Her lilting, waling vocals add emotion to every scene they are used in, and I can’t picture the films iconic imagery now without hearing her voice in my head. That’s an achievement few scores can claim.
3. BLADE RUNNER – Vangelis
This is one of those that I can’t forget. The Vangelis score adds so much to BLADE RUNNER, as it actually feels like this haunting, futuristic version of music. Even all these years later it doesn’t feel dated and this early electronic score was likely my first taste of the electronic music fetish I ended up harboring later in life. A true classic.
2. LORD OF THE RINGS (trilogy) – Howard Shore
Middle Earth was never the same once Shore showed up and composed CONCERNING HOBBITS. The first film starts out with those shots of Hobbiton set to that iconic suite. The rest of the films scores fall into place behind it. Big and bold, quiet and reserved, clashing and soaring, the overall score to these films is everything you require and having all 3 on my iPod makes me happy as it’s hours of listening to one of the best assembled soundtracks of music in a film ever.
1. INCEPTION – Hans Zimmer
An odd choice for number one? Not really. Once you realize that the score is composed of stuff like the Edith Piaf music that the characters use as a signal to bring them up out of a layer of sleep slowed down to its grinding foghorn like pieces to make up the main musical theme then it takes on a whole other level. Seriously that iconic two-note piece plays over the logo before the movie even starts, signifying that we as the audience are already down a layer as the Piaf music is slowed down by those consecutive layers. A brilliant idea and an incredible execution make up the most consistent and wonderful scores I own.