Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Again... This time without feeling!

The orchestra takes its time, creeping ever closer to what the patient audience assumes will be a powerful melody. The drums build. The strings ramp up. And then! … Nothing.

If you’ve managed to make it to the movie theater lately (a ritual becoming less common by the year), you’ve no doubt left humming the pleasantly infectious theme of… well, no you haven’t. Because the vast majority of films made in the last decade have bad or no melodies to their themes.

I distinctly recall getting the themes to movies like Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Batman (No, new ones don’t count), Beetlejuice, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park stuck in my head. Maybe this is just old fogey syndrome setting in early, but when was the last time you left the theater thinking, “I’ve gotta pick that soundtrack up?”

But wait, there is hope! A few films (and composers) stand out in the sea of uninspired orchestration. John Williams, of course, continues to make fine music. Harry Potter is infinitely hummable almost to the point of irritation. But then again, he is responsible for half the themes on my list of old favorites anyway. It’s unfortunate that Danny Elfman hasn’t been able to keep up. Can you hum the Spiderman theme?

Clint Mansell blew me away with the Pi soundtrack years ago, and The Fountain really shows what he is capable of. He did the Doom soundtrack, too, but I forgive him... cause the Requiem for A Dream Soundtrack rocks.

Javier Navarrete, with some guidance from Guillermo del Toro, managed a pretty amazing theme for Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth.

And the award for most memorable theme of the decade goes to... drum roll... Pirates of the Caribbean.

My first post has indiscreetly digressed from the local music scene, as I'm sure most of my future posts will.

Forgive my indigression!

(Speaking of made up words, my other favorites are "examplify" and "prevenge.")


Femme Fatale said...

I would say that Requiem for a Dream was definitely the last film I left humming the melody. That movie is one of those rare ones where the music and the visuals are both striking -- and haunting.

Then again, I don't go to too many movies these days. Oh! I did forget the Scanner Darkly soundtrack, but that doesn't count as an original theme. (Or did Yorke do an original score? I am too lazy to look it up right now.)

Hackworth Artifex said...

I'm not sure if A Scanner Darkly was an original score or not. I figured Thom just let them take music off Eraser before it came out, but I dunno.

I was kinda tryin to focus on orchestral themes, but as far as lyrical music in movies, I'm a fan of Moby in the Bourne movies. :-)

Girlfriend said...

Aren't we all forgetting the little known wonder that is The Lion King? Now that's a soundtrack worth singing!