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Scores that surprise you.


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There are scores out there that you don't think will be that great or you don't know what to expect or you just have low expectations in general, but listening to a score may surprise or shock you in a good way. For me, some scores did that.

Speed 2 - Mark Mancina: I'm fairly impressed with how Mancina wrote out the themes for the score, mixed it all in the suspense/action/love moments and keep the score going through the 70 minute running length.

Tron: Legacy - Daft Punk: Nuff said, ridiculously entertaining = easily one of the best scores of 2010.

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A few days ago (before the news) I was listening to John Barry's The Day Of The Lost, and I was very surprised by the cue for the finale. One of John Barry's few ventures into atonality.

Apocalyptic is the best way to describe it - visions of hell. He combines traditional harmonies built on thirds with quartertone portamento wavering on the strings (reminds a bit of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS), shrills flutes and piccolo arpeggios (reminiscent of Williams), and some bizarre electronic rattling noise that reminds me of Edgard Varèse's Poème électronique - though in comparison to say the Barry's Kidnapped cue from CEOTTK, it's less terrifying, but much more craftily structured as a piece of music, as a whole. By that, I mean less Mickey Mousing and flourishes that go nowhere.

Very unexpected, and refreshing too.

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Mark Mancina's The Haunted Mansion. Terrible film based on a delightful Disneyland attraction with an equally delightful musical theme, "Grim Grinning Ghosts." Mancina adapted the theme for orchestra in some really nice ways, as well as wrote original material to complement it. The result isn't the most brilliant score ever written, but it's certainly enjoyable, and far better than the film deserved. It's also stylistically distinct from the other major orchestral adaptation of the same theme: John Debney's score for the Phantom Manor attraction at Disneyland Paris.

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Flesh+Blood is a recent one that I was really impressed by. I'm not a huge fan of Poledouris, and I just randomly listened to the samples from Intrada and was amazed.

The Fountain is another one, both film and score. I was bored and decided to watch it one night on TV, didn't catch the beginning, but watched most of it. Instantly bought the score and the movie on Blu after that night. It pretty much cemented my love for Mansell and Aronofsky.

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The Fountain is another one, both film and score. I was bored and decided to watch it one night on TV, didn't catch the beginning, but watched most of it. Instantly bought the score and the movie on Blu after that night. It pretty much cemented my love for Mansell and Aronofsky.

Eh, The Fountain came off to me as pretentious dribble so I never thought to check out the score. One of my friends told me the score was great, but I tend not to take recommendations from people unfamiliar with scores. So, those two things counting against it, I was extremely surprised when I checked it out. One of my all time favorites.

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After seeing Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves I went and picked up Kamen's Sax Concerto (the score album had not been released). And after seeing Alien 3, I went and picked up that score before going back to my car.

Those are the only two times I can think of where I left the theater wanting to get a copy of the score NOW!

I got Fellowship of the Ring before the movie opened and was impressed. With the titles I knew about in Shore's resume (The Fly, Big, and... and... well those were the only two scores to films that he did that I had seen) and knowing that he was the former band leader on Saturday Night Live, I didn't exactly have great expectations about him tackling that kind of score, but once I read a couple of reviews, I gave it a shot and glad I did. I probably wouldn't have seen the movie without having heard the score first.

But, like Mark O., I'm usually more surprised in a bad way. While watching The Peacemaker, I thought after the opening sequence that the movie and score had peaked too early and had nowhere to build to. It was not the last time I had such thoughts about the then emerging crop of directors and composers.

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But, like Mark O., I'm usually more surprised in a bad way. While watching The Peacemaker, I thought after the opening sequence that the movie and score had peaked too early and had nowhere to build to. It was not the last time I had such thoughts about the then emerging crop of directors and composers.

The music from that film was already a bore in the film, can't imagine it isolated.

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I just recently discovered Goldsmith's MULAN. Not expecting to like it because of the Disney affiliation, I was blown away by how majestic and dramatic it is. I shouldn't be surprised because it's Goldsmith, but to me it's like hearing a new Goldsmith score.

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I have no expectations, per se, of how a score is likely to sound, but, if I know a composer's C.V., and I know who will score a particular film that I am about to see, then it is liable that I will be biased either in favour of, or against, that film.

That being said, scores that REALLY made an immediate impression on me include:

"Alien 3",

"Grand Canyon" (JNH's best, without a single shadow of a doubt!),

"Dune",

"Blade Runner",

"Batman" (Elfman),

"Planet Of The Apes" (Goldsmith),

"Witness" (beautiful, beautiful, beautiful),

"GoldenEye" (yes, "GoldenEye"!!!),

"The Fifth Element",

"Traffic",

"Brainstorm" (still, after all these years, my favourite Horner score),

"Flash Gordon" (come on, guys; who could NOT like it?!),

"Runaway",

and "Highlander", both score and songs (the album "A Kind Of Magic" does justice to neither).

Of course, the greatest "first impression" on me of a score was "The Towering Inferno". I saw the film in 1975, heard the music (by someone called John Williams), and I was hooked. Thirty five years later, I am still hooked, and I fully expect to be hooked until my dying day.

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Star Wars - It was my first film score, or atleast, my first film score by John Williams so before that i had only been into mainstream music (rock, etc.) now i have basically given all that up for film/game scores

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Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I just heard some tracks on YouTube...

I lost my interest in David Arnold when he started composing for Bond. Has he been my second fav film composer only after JW, he's not even in my top-20 anymore for some time. However...this score sounds amazing!!! It's David Arnold's comeback, his best since ID4! This even convinced me David Arnold should have been composing a HP score!

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Andrew Lockington - Journey to the Center of the Earth

That one is mostly to Dodd's credit, I believe (admittedly judging from one single cue).

Judging a book by its cover? :lol:

Exactly. Do you have the actual soundtrack album?

Andrew Lockington - Journey to the Center of the Earth

That one is mostly to Dodd's credit, I believe (admittedly judging from one single cue).

Ilan Eshkeri - Stardust

Ack.

Why ack? Have you heard it actually?

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Andrew Lockington - Journey to the Center of the Earth

That one is mostly to Dodd's credit, I believe (admittedly judging from one single cue).

Judging a book by its cover? :lol:

Exactly. Do you have the actual soundtrack album?

No. I just heard one cue in the original mockup and then in the Dodd-orchestrated version.

Ilan Eshkeri - Stardust

Ack.

Why ack? Have you heard it actually?

Have it, love it.

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No. I just heard one cue in the original mockup and then in the Dodd-orchestrated version.

Give it another try...or watch the movie which is ok.

Ack.

Have it, love it.

Aha it seems I don't know what 'ack' means :lol:

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But, like Mark O., I'm usually more surprised in a bad way. While watching The Peacemaker, I thought after the opening sequence that the movie and score had peaked too early and had nowhere to build to. It was not the last time I had such thoughts about the then emerging crop of directors and composers.

The Peacemaker = Crimson Tide 2.0

There isn't anything in The Peacemaker that Crimson Tide didn't do better.

"Dune",

Wonderful score.

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Raiders: do I have to say anything?

You certainly don't have to, but a fresh perspective on the score might be worth reading.

I had not seen the film until recently

That's what I'm talking about: since you have come to this recently, you may have different thoughts on it than a long-time fan - which, I suspect, most posters on this site (including myself) are. Does it work? How does it "hold up" against newer action scores? How does the film compare with the ultra-fast, C.G.-driven films of today?

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I dont have any words to describe it its just so....awesome, it does get a bit "slow" in the middle section, and once "Desert Chase" finishes, its kind of hard to listen all of the way till "The Miracle of The Ark"but its a John Williams score and that spells epicness

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No love for the sub cue or Ark Trek? Those are two of my favorites.

I like them, don't get me wrong, but after Desert Chase.....

I can't think of any cue in Raiders I'd come close to calling "boring"

The Well of Souls cue, its not boring per-se, but just a feeling of "get on with it!"

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- Hook: Before I heard it, I remember reading a lot of praise for it everywhere. Then I gave it a listen, and was blown away. It even got me to see the film, which I really enjoyed. I know its a bad movie, but its one of those guilty pleasures that remind me of my childhood.

- The Legend of Zorro: A Horner gem.

- Mars Attacks: I really enjoy the Aliens March. And it's a fun bad movie too, like Hook. Great score, bad movie but still highly enjoyable it you accept for what it is.

- The Musketeer: The Superman/Star Wars fanfare and the Finale cue are very good. Haven't seen the film though.

- The Sea Hawk: What can I say? It's freakin' Korngold!

- Gabriel Yared's Troy: I love how old-fashioned it sounds. That's a high plus in my book. Don't know about Horner's one, never heard it outside a few cues.

- Sherlock Holmes (Zimmer) : Excellent effort by Zimmer. Much better than Inception in my opinion.

- The Prince of Egpyt: I mean... Damn...

- Happy Feet: The movie is weird, but the mix between the fantastic score and the songs is brilliant.

- Rat Race: If you love Danny Elfman on high speed and Carl Stalling on steroids, you'll love this.

- The Increibles: My first connection with the Barry brassy sound. And I loved every minute of it.

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- Hook: Before I heard it, I remember reading a lot of praise for it everywhere. Then I gave it a listen, and was blown away. It even got me to see the film, which I really enjoyed. I know its a bad movie, but its one of those guilty pleasures that remind me of my childhood.

Try watching Catthroat Island, you'll be enjoyed similarly.

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