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The Importance of Film Scores & Composers

Good day to you ladies and gents, today I would like to share with you a topic of conversation I’ve wanted to cover on this blog for a number of years in the form of film scores and composers. Now if you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll be well aware of my love for films scores and when there is great music in the I always try to bring attention to it in my reviews, and so recently I made an episode about this topic on my podcast and wanted to share it with you. 😀

So what does this episode contain? Well here’s a little breakdown:

  • What Makes a Good Film Score & Why It Is Important
  • My Mountain Rushmore of Composers
  • Some of My Other Favourite Composers

There’s a lot more to the episode beyond those bullet points as I get descriptive with certain soundtracks, themes and composers as well. Covering films from Back to the Future to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and talking about composers like Danny Elfman, James Horner and Howard Shore, I do as much as I can to cover as many aspects of films scores and composers as possible without making the episode go on forever. Anyway check out the episode below:

I hope you enjoy the episode, this is a particular topic I’ve wanted to do on this blog for around 3 years. It was originally drafted as a blog post around 2 years ago and I added to it now and then until this year when I realised I wanted to change it into a podcast episode so I could properly communicate my feelings about the subject. It really is a passion project and while it didn’t turn out as perfectly as I had hoped, I feel like it is a good representation of my original vision.

So that’s me done. What do you think? Do you think that film scores are important to film or are you not fussed about it? And if you do like film scores and if so what are some of your favourite composers and soundtracks? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading and I’ll see ya in the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Films, Media, Music

 

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Superhero Themes in Film – Do They Still Matter?

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another superhero-related post. This is a subject matter I’ve wanted to talk about for almost two years now, With superheroes being one of the most popular genres of film in modern times, the topic of theme songs have come up in discussions in online videos and comment sections I’ve seen across several websites. And there have been discussions about which popular themes are the best or why newer films don’t try harder with to have more memorable main themes. So with all that in mind I wanted to focus on the subject of superhero themes are whether they still have relevance today.

With superheroes, in most adaptations they have a theme song (sometimes referred to as a main theme) which you associate with the hero as much as you do their name, costume or catchphrase. These themes will either play in the opening or ending credits of a film or TV show or will appear during the film in a heroic/iconic moment.

What Are The Popular Themes?

Batman-and-Superman

Its should come as no suprise that most notable themes come from the most popular superheroes of all time, Batman and Superman. Besides the fact that they’ll be sharing a film next year (which is still strange to wrap my head around), long before their epic meeting, they had separate films with quite iconic themes that can be recognised even by general film fans. The most famous of the two is the “Theme from Superman (Main Title)” from the godly John Williams and the “Batman Theme” from the amazing Danny Elfman. Just have a listen below:

With the Superman theme I think it transcends the film it is part of, this is honestly one of the most recognisable pieces of music in film and you don’t even need a visual aid to know what it is. I think that is the beauty of John Williams; the fact that he can craft such incredibly, uplifting, beastly and memorable music that can stand the test of time. I hate to gush on about this theme, but it honestly gives me goosebumps because it’s that badass.

When it comes to Batman’s theme, it feels approach for the Dark Knight. It is dark, mysterious, its loud and bombastic, yet soft, quiet and it swells and then explodes. I think the reason why this theme is so popular is because it just feels like it belong within the realm of Batman and has the right tone and gives you something fun, atmospheric and really cool. Elfman creates something so special that feels so perfect, but I think why I appreciate this theme so much is because it was the inspiration for the intro theme for Batman: The Animated Series which is still til this day, one of my all-time favourite themes to anything ever.

But the themes don’t end there. Have look below.

Main Theme From The Dark Knight Trilogy

We also have the main theme from The Dark Knight Trilogy too. Now while this film series doesn’t have an official track that says ‘Main Theme’, the song that’s pretty much the key theme throughout this film series is “Molossus” introduced in Batman Begins. That theme is dramatic, aggressive and so intimidating, its like the badass theme to end all badass themes, and Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard did such a good job.

Main Theme From Man of Steel

And then of course there’s the main theme from Man of Steel known as “What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?” This theme is pretty famous because it was in trailers and pretty much helped sell this new incarnation of Superman. I think it may be the most epic superhero theme in existence as its so quiet and calm, and yet it builds and builds and then explodes into this beastly theme that makes you shiver and get all giddy about the epicness you’re listening to. While I didn’t love Man of Steel, I cannot deny the badassery of this theme.

Ignored Main Themes

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Main Theme Spider-Man

Now some may wonder why I’ve put one of the most popular superhero themes in the ignored segment, and it is simple. This theme isn’t talked about or recognised nearly as much as the ones mentioned above. I think it is no mistake that Danny Elfman was brought on to do another superhero theme after what he did with Batman in the late 80’s, here he crafts a theme that is eery, mysterious, heroic and badass. This theme oozes of charisma, beauty and awesomeness in an indescribable manner, and while I prefer the instrumentation of the Spider-Man 2 version, there is no denying the epicness of this song.

Main Theme From The Avengers

Much like Spider-Man’s theme, this theme is pretty awesome and yet doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should. “The Avengers” by Alan Silvestri is the definition of a good theme song. It has a classic sound to it, and it’s so uplifting, magical and heroic, but it is towards the latter half around 1:05 into the song where it turns badass and grows into orchestrated awesomeness. When this theme comes into play in Avengers and the team are seen together for the fist time on-screen it is a special and epic moment and music just elevates it to another level. This track is short but it has a sense of epicness that cannot be denied.

Main Theme From X-Men

While this particular track is pretty long, it has the main theme right at the beginning and towards the very end of the track. John Ottman was the first composer to leave an impression on the X-Men films series and it wasn’t until Henry Jackman came around that I heard another soundtrack that stood out, that being said Ottman’s theme from X-Men 2 still kicks ass. It’s intense, dramatic and awesome, and this theme must be pretty notable as they brought it back for X-Men: Days of Future Past (which made me SO happy).

Main Theme From Iron Man 3

The Iron Man films up until this point hadn’t had an official main theme, but in 2013 we got given “Iron Man 3” by Brian Tyler. Now with Tyler his soundtracks tend to be a bit hit or miss, but this was definitely a hit as he finally gave Iron Man a theme that was dramatic, hard-hitting and epic. The inclusions of the angelic backing vocals and something that sounds like a hammer hitting metal, it is just so beastly. Make no mistake, Iron Man 3 as a film has its problems for sure, but this track really is something special. I will say that I prefer Can You Dig It as it is way more sassy, jazzy and feels like it belongs in a 1960’s spy show.

Main Theme From Ant-Man

Ant-Man may not be universally loved by fans, but I liked it and one of my favourite aspects of the film was the soundtrack by Christophe Beck and “Theme from Ant-Man” is just awesome. This theme is sassy, bombastic and it just has such a nice sense of style and identity. Beck is another one of those composers that’s a bit up and down with his soundtrack compositions but this theme is kick ass.

Main Theme From Batman Forever

I think I may lose a lot of people by including this track, but screw it! Batman Forever may be the starting point for the decline in quality for the Batman films in the 90’s, but Forever, I still kind of like it and the theme song is definitely a big part of that. “Main Titles & Fan Fare” by Elliot Goldenthal has such a sense dramatic flare, charisma, style and its over-the-top but because of the nature of Forever as a film, this theme sounds just right.

So Do Themes Matter?

So now for the big question; do superhero themes matter? I would say yes for sure. It’s always nice to have music to associate with your favourite superheroes and while that’s been available in cartoons and certain live-action shows for a while now, I think it is just as important in films so you have another key aspect that makes your protagonist more memorable. Now for current superhero films they aren’t a requirement as fans and critics aren’t that fussed and will give a pass to a superhero film if the story, characters and presentation are top-notch. That being said, it was around 2012 when some people started saying that the. With big films like Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War coming out next year there will need to be theme songs or key tracks in the soundtrack to enhance the action on-screen or I think some fans and critics will feel robbed. And then in the future we’ll see the like of Wonder Woman, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Justice League and Avengers Infinity War parts 1 & 2 and those will be films that will require themes and soundtracks that are interesting, dramatic and memorable or I believe it will be a wasted opportunity.

So that’s my feelings on this subject, hopefully you’ve found this informative and like what I’ve had to say and share. But now I pass it over to you, what do you think of superhero themes in film and do you think they’re still relevant? Please be sure to comment below and let me know. Until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Films, Media, Music

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: The Dark Knight Rises

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to another instalment of Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012. And today’s post will be on what could be described as the most anticipated film of not only the summer, but of the whole year; The Dark Knight Rises.

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Now is there really any need for me to talk about how big this film is? Do I really need to try and convince you as a person to see this film? Chances are you already know about The Dark Knight Rises and are ridiculously hyped for it. But there are a number of people in the world that aren’t that well-informed or in some strange cases may not even care about this upcoming Batman film, so for those people this blog post is gonna be about the info surrounding the film, why I’m hyped for it and why you should see it when it comes out in July.

Now TDKR is the third installment in the series of Batman films directed by the awesomeness that’s Christopher Nolan (director of Memento, The Prestige & Inception). First we had Batman Begins in 2005, which was the first Batman film since the disgusting piece of work that was Batman & Robin from 1997. Luckily Batman Begins was a solid film that was dark, gritty and make Batman seem pretty cool again. That film also introduced us to a more realistic take on the superhero genre, Nolan’s take on Batman was more like a realistic thriller with superhero elements attached to it in my opinion. While Batman Begins was good, it did have it’s fair share of problems like: Christian Bale’s raspy Batman voice, horribly messy fight scenes, the tumbler and the poor use of the villain Scarecrow. Overall though Batman Begins was very successful both financially and critically and the fans became obsessed and wanted another one…

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The film that started this crazy train of Batman madness. A good entry to this Batman trilogy.

So then wait three years down the line, it’s 2008 and we were given what many comic book fans and critics consider to be the best comic book film in existence, The Dark Knight. Before this film came out, the hype for TDK was insane. No seriously it was like the world was going to blow up. The stakes were higher, the scale was bigger and most importantly we had Batman’s best and most recognisable villain in there too, The Joker. The marketing for this film was very well crafted. The viral campaigns were so stylish and the trailers for the film looked insane and was so much deeper, creepier, darker and more realistic than ever. Unfortunately actor Heath Ledger who portrayed the Joker in the film died 6 months prior to the film’s release which shocked man people around the world, that in turn did make more people pay attention to the film due to the media’s coverage of Mr. Ledger’s death and how he was attached to TDK. So anyways The Dark Knight eventually came out in July 2008 and it blew up at the cinema. It was the hottest film of that summer and of that year. It was a hell of a lot better than Batman Begins, there was deeper character development, better fight scenes, wonderful cinematography, a fabulous soundtrack and an incredibly dense and interesting story. Though the best part of the film really was the Joker, he really just stole show in the film. Heath Ledger gave us a dark, twisted and chaotic version of the character who took inspiration from the comics while still offering up something new. Every scene he was in was incredible. It truly was Heath Ledger’s best performance in my opinion. The film blew up as the box office and broke so many damn records, some of which have yet to be broken to this day. For me TDK is a great film, though it’s a tad overhyped for my liking. Some things were still off for me like: Bale’s gruff and raspy Batman voice,  the film’s pace sort of dragged at times and the realistic setting as good as it was it started to feel less like a Batman film and more of a realistic thriller with Batman characters lurking around in it. And I also thought that TDK lacked a bit of the charm that came with Batman Begins too. But that’s just my opinion.

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The film that’s seen by many as the best superhero film in existence.

So after the success of The Dark Knight how do you follow that up? By being Christopher Nolan and busting out another film in 2012, that’s how! After TDK many fans of the film wondered how would one honestly follow-up a film like that when you’ve used the most iconic villain and put Bruce Wayne/Batman through a great deal of pain already. Well, somehow the production moved ahead, we found out that the two main new characters would be Bane and Catwoman and Chris Nolan teamed up with several of his previous collaborators in order to craft what would be his final Batman film.

Now I ain’t gonna lie ladies and gents, as much as I like Batman and have a great love for the many animated TV shows over the years, I can’t say that much of a big Batman fan overall. Technically speaking I’m a Marvel fan, more so than DC. So when it comes to big superhero films I know everything when it comes to Marvel and then casually look at DC-based stuff. So in turn that’s why I’ve been more interested in The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, and that’s also the reason why’s there’s much more information on those films then the amount of TDKR.

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Anyways now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what’s the story of this film gonna be? Well it apparently takes place 8 years after TDK and it seems like Gotham City has been in a state of peace for a while, that is until two new villains show up on the scene in the shape of Bane and Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman). Batman must then come back into action and save the city from being destroyed. To be honest from what’s been shown in the full-length trailers, this film looks like it’s going to be big and on a much bigger scale than the previous film. I thought that The Dark Knight was the height of epicness that could be reached in Nolan’s Batman films and yet here we see in this film that the stakes are higher, the level of destruction going on is insane and it seems like Batman might actually be defeated or even worse… Killed. I found it interesting back in the early casting days that a few members from Inception was gonna be joining the cast of TDKR in the form of Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And since we’re on the subject of casting I guess now would be as a good a time as any to talk about the cast of this film.

So let’s start with Tom Hardy as Bane because I’m always more interested in the villains then I am in Batman. Now I remembered when he was signed on to the big bad villain role and most of us who had watched either Inception or Bronson knew what the deal was with Hardy so we knew we had a good actor at the ready. Now when the first few pictures came out, a good number of fans were complaining that he was too small and that he needed to look more in-lin with the comic book material. Though you’d think a lot of them would have learned that Chris Nolan’s Batman world is much more realistic than those of the conventional comic book movies so there are bound to be liberties taken with character design. And let’s remember that a great deal of stuff from Nolan’s Batman films only bare small resemblance to their source material. But anyway moving on, I remember when the first trailer came out and Bane’s voice was soooooo muffled and I had to listen really carefully to understand him and that was a major factor with all the people who saw that 6-minute preview of the film back in December. Luckily by the time the latest trailer came out Bane was as clear as day and he looked and sounded like a badass. He just seems like a big badass man of destruction. Not only is he more than a match for Batman himself, but he also seems like a calculated man ready to bring a new type of chaos in a different way from the Joker.

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Now let’s take about Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Okay we’ve seen him in the previous two films and he’s a been through a lot, but in this film Bruce/Batman looks like he’ll be put through hell and back physically and mentally. I’m just curious to see what’s been going on in Bruce’s life in the 8 years between the last film and this one. And I also wanna see how the story develops his character too. Compared to a lot of other superhero films, Bale’s version of Bruce Wayne/Batman I’m not overally interested in, he’s alright and I’m sure there are people who love it but for me there’s never been a point where I’ve been attached to his character.

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Okay now let’s move onto Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. I think it’s fair to say that when Ms. Hathaway was cast as Catwoman a lot of people weren’t too keen on her. I mean she’s hot, that’s a fact. But outside of that not many of her films have ever been amazing and she’s not really the first actress you think of to take on the character as interesting and as complex as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. But most us trusted Chris Nolan’s judgment as he’s never made a film where the cast didn’t work in his favour. The first screenshots we got of her were interesting, but lacking the more ‘cat-like’ aspects of the costume which lead a lot of fans to go into frenzy about it, complaining in many of the forums I passed through. Other people just thought she looked hot in leather and never questioned anything else about her haha. Eventually we did see the full uniform and she indeed have the cat ears and to be honest that’s all I needed. In the trailers she seems very suspicious, provocative and acrobatic; all the key aspects hat Catwoman requires, so I am curious to see what Anne Hathaway does with the role and hopefully she’ll do her comic book character justice.

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Now I know that there are many other additional cast members that’ll be part of this film, but to be honest I’m only mainly interested in a few specific people outside of Batman, Bane and Catwoman. Like Alfred, I love Michael Caine in these Batman films and I believe him to be one of the key aspects of what makes Nolan’s films work, he is the reliable butler always supplying helpful information and supporting Bruce throughout all of his endeavours. I’m also curious to see what’s been going with Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and I also want to know what the significance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character as John Blake. Outside of characters I’m looking forward to some absurdly cool scenes of destruction and cool spectacle. I also am ready for another kick ass soundtrack from Hans Zimmer who I swear is a composer of music who can never do wrong! I’m also curious to see how the character dynamic will work between Batman and Catwoman. The key thing that has my interest in the fight between Batman and Bane, finally we’re going to get a big one-on-one fight with Batman and another enemy which is totally necessary in my opinion. I just want to see Bane break Batman! 😀 We haven’t seen a proper representation of all of Batman’s martial arts skills and how he’d use them along with his gadgets in a fight. Fights in Batman films seem to lack style, choreography and that ‘cool’ effect you’d get the X-Men or Spider-Man films which excel in their fight sequences (sure they have super powers but they are still done well and that’s what counts).

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In conclusion The Dark Knight Rises is looking like an epic conclusion to the Christopher Nolan Batman films. Its got action, drama, atmosphere and so much more. Any fan of Batman or Christopher Nolan shouldn’t miss out on this film. It really is one of the biggest films of 2012, people have been patiently waiting for the arrival of this film, but now that it’s so close fan are starting to blow up. This film along with The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Hobbit is in the list of the most anticipated film of the year. Now The Avengers already started off the summer film season with a bang and has proven to be a success with fans and critics. It has now set the standard for good films this year, it’s also broken loads of records financially and has now become the 5th highest grossing film of all time! So TDKR has some pretty big shoes to fill, however if history is anything to go by, then by the time we get to July 20th the Batman fans will come in great numbers and destroy Marvel like they did in 2008. However times are different and The Avengers is no simple comic book film, it is the definition of the ultimate comic film and has been anticipated for 4 years (even more for comic book fans of the older generation). Either way I know TDKR is gonna be a big deal this summer and I’ll be there to see what the deal is. 🙂

If you still need convincing of the awesomeness of this film watch this trailer:

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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