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Junkie XL's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2021)


Edmilson
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So I would have to give this score a rating of 3.5 stars and call it above average. Eventually a film-score's purpose it play well in the film. And that gentleman, is often the case with Junkie's score though not always. There are infact some transcendental moments of grace and genuine awe and emotion when the music syncs up perfectly with the visuals.

 

 

The impact of this cue in the film is undeniable. It is mixed loud and clear, it plays at probably THE climatic moment of the film and is undeniably memorable - something general audiences would remember if they saw the film.

 

There are surprisingly a few of these moments - I would say all perhaps involving Junkie's main theme.

 

The score is also multi-thematic and you can infact make of the themes. I could in the film easily make out the new batman theme, the new Aquaman theme, the new Wonder Woman/Amazon theme, the new main theme, the sound/textures of the villains. The only one that did not make any impact on me and I couldn't recollect it would be the Cyborg material. Then there are the returning wonder woman and man of steel themes.

 

But again, the best moments of the score are those associated with the main theme. 

 

I would have to deem this score a moderate success.

 

(Yes the drums are annoying, yes much of it is extremely crude and unsophisticated and repetitive, yes probably doesn't play well on album. But in the important moments in the film, it absolutely delivers.)

 

I would recommend people see the film to appreciate this score. I definitely think this is a good score. Dunno if Junkie's best. I liked his 300 Part 2 score as well. But this is definitely more memorable.

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That's a fair assessment. It's nothing one could consider great, but Junkie put so much more effort here than anything else I've heard from him so far (Alita and ME can change that) that I do ultimately have to applaud him for making me actually like a RCP Snyderverse score.

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Sounds like demo orchestra in this one. Same as with the Crew at Warpower episode.

 

Cool breakdown. Interesting seeing all the various drums he has laying around XD.

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Yeah, it became pretty much a meme. I've seen a lot of people on the internet making fun of WW's wailing woman theme. 

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Haven't heard the full OST but I figure there's tons of tracking. So not exactly Tom's call, more like Zack's call.

 

And it's not like she doesn't have other music that can't be used.

 

I wonder if there is some subtext to this.

 

Tom almost entirely abandons the Batman and WW themes from BvS and creates new themes for each which he relentlessly sticks to.

 

Was he trying to make some kind of a statement?

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5 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

I wonder if there is some subtext to this.

 

Tom almost entirely abandons the Batman and WW themes from BvS and creates new themes for each which he relentlessly sticks to.

 

Was he trying to make some kind of a statement?


There are these paraphrases from a Twitter thread that notes what Tom's intentions with these new identities are for:
 

Quote

Wonder Woman’s theme has been redone to represent more of Wonder Woman’s amazonian roots inspired by ancient instruments with more aggressive rifs and drums. The choir is sang by a Iranian singer who represents the inner voice and soul of Diana in her more emotional moments

 

Quote

Batman has a new theme to represent his arc. He is now no longer focused on his traumatic past but instead on bringing together the League. His bat-signal will also have its own theme. He also has a brand new guitar riff for anytime he does something cool and badass.


While I did theorize that the original WW theme was considered too restrictive to be used outside of action scenes, that idea gets thrown out the window now that I've actually gotten a taste for how heavily tracked the new theme is throughout the film with that compilation you posted. The way the intent has been described makes me think Tom didn't design the theme to be used the way it is in the film.

I suppose the real idea then is supposed to be that given we only really had a glimpse of Amazonian culture with BvS in the Snyderverse, the newer themes are supposed to better represent Diana and her people as a whole. Only resorting to using the previous theme for the big moments.

I definitely am happy there is a new Batman theme, given how much the BvS one elicits such mixed emotions in me. It's not great composition wise, but it has plenty of character in its sound design and arrangements that I end up liking it anyway.

 

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the WW theme usage is not the only time it seems like the movie deviates from the album presentation

Though I've heard it theorized that some parts of the movie were not scored in time and they just tracked music in to cover up for that (most noticably during the start of the final battle)

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"His bat signal has its own theme" is one of the most pretentious film scoring things I've ever heard. So basically every time someone is on screen, it's a "theme". 

A "theme" for this dork is apparently everything that isn't a rhythm. 

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That new Wonder Woman choir was the most pathetic theme I've ever heard in my life. I watched the Snyder Cut with my friends, and every time that theme came up instead of HZ's theme, we burst out laughing. We even began to reference Minnie the Moocher whenever we heard it.

 

0:49

 

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On 4/7/2021 at 3:24 AM, Jay said:

I just came across this recommended playlist in the FSM thread for this score    

 

1. The Crew at Warpower (Suite)
2. A Hunter Gathers
3. The Provenance of Something Gathered
4. No Dog, No Master
5. A Splinter From the Thorn that Pricked You
6. Superman Rising, Pt 1
7. Beyond Good and Evil
8. Flight is in Our Nature
9. Batman, an Invocation to Heal
10. And the Lion-Earth Did Roar, Pt 2
11. Superman Rising, Pt 2
12. At the Speed of Force
13. An Eternal Reoccurrence of Change
14. We Slay Ourselves
15. The Foundation Theme (Suite)

Time: 1 hour, 7 min

 

https://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=115650&forumID=1&archive=0

There's some great stuff in this score. Thanks for the playlist, I skimmed through a few weeks ago but a 4 hr score is way too intimidating. That Man of Steel theme still soars

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I did an experiment. 

Of 48 score cues, all of them except maybe 10 or 12 start with long, brooding, drawn out pads or other sounds. 

 

How do you listen to this without contracting narcolepsy? 

I've never skipped through an album this fast. 

If you don't grab my attention within 20 seconds, done. Next track. 

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Oh please. I highly doubt that every single film cue you like grabs your attention in the first 20 seconds. It's not a marketing piece. It's music. 

 

This isn't even about the Justice League score, just an in general thing. I agree that many of these cues are a bit boring, but I also think you're holding this to higher standards for no reason.

 

If you do hold every piece of music to that though then I don't know how you enjoy things.

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Also, there is such a thing as letting the music sit with you before you can really evaluate it. Lord knows how many scores I like that would've made little impression on the first listen. So if I find it just isn't grabbing me after a few tries, that's enough to tell me of the score's quality imo.

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17 minutes ago, HunterTech said:

Also, there is such a thing as letting the music sit with you before you can really evaluate it. Lord knows how many scores I like that would've made little impression on the first listen. So if I find it just isn't grabbing me after a few tries, that's enough to tell me of the score's quality imo.

 

For sure. There's plenty of scores that didn't quite grab me at first that I quite like now. Music is also such a subjective experience even day to day. I could very simply listen to the wrong cue or score at the wrong time and think I hated it, but revisit at a better time to find that I really liked it.

 

And then there's the really special things that transcend that time and place thing. But I think it's silly to expect every score to rise to that level 

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I prefer to spend my time and energy listening to and writing about scores I like, not scores I don't like. Maybe I'm wierd.

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On 3/23/2021 at 11:15 AM, Jay said:

Wowzers, I really don't like this wailing woman sound for Wonder Woman in this new film/score; Why change from the cool music she had in her first 4 films?

 

 

 

Oh God. I remember that. Never mind the outdated wailing...why did it sound like he just pasted the same wail every time she appeared?

 

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1 hour ago, Jay said:

I prefer to spend my time and energy listening to and writing about scores I like, not scores I don't like. Maybe I'm wierd.

I get that, and I don't like to waste my time on scores I don't like, so I do the same.

 

But how can you know if you like a score if you only listen to the first 20 seconds of one track? I think some scores need a couple of listens before you really start liking it.

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3 hours ago, KK said:

 

Oh God. I remember that. Never mind the outdated wailing...why did it sound like he just pasted the same wail every time she appeared.

 

 

Probably because half of those were literally pasted into the movie by editors after the music was already done. I think all the actual OST instances are unique in their own right.

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2 hours ago, Knight of Ren said:

I get that, and I don't like to waste my time on scores I don't like, so I do the same.

 

But how can you know if you like a score if you only listen to the first 20 seconds of one track? I think some scores need a couple of listens before you really start liking it.

 

Precisely.

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Besides, I'm sure there exists plenty of cues where it starts off interesting, before it proceeds to be plodding and dull for the rest of its duration. So really, you have to take each score by its own terms before deciding to apply some arbitrary criteria (that quite frankly makes me wonder how you even got this far to begin with).

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Well, after hearing the score in the movie, it's not good, and I don't blame anyone for skipping through it. It's just Man of Steel and BvS again. Loud, pounding drums, simplistic action writing, dull motifs classified as themes, and occasional emotional cues that are written well enough, but sound like they could come from any movie. 

 

I will say that I hated the Superman theme in Man of Steel, but in the Snyder Cut of JL, I did find it to be surprisingly touching at times, and somewhat epic when he saves Cyclops. Part of that was the fact that it was actually used in different ways and different key signatures, whereas I can't remember a single time in Man of Steel where the theme had any power and I wasn't just rolling my eyes at how derivative and dull it was. 

 

Of course this is all rendered moot by the awful Wonder Woman wailing which undercuts many scenes that could have been epic or emotional. 

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1 hour ago, gkgyver said:

Are they taking the piss at this point, making everything about superheroes colorless, preferably just black? 

 

Nah. It's simply the marketing direction of Snyder's Justice League specifically. All the early photos shared by Snyder were black and white, his rough draft cut was in black and white, the press photos were in black and white, the posters were in black and white. So... naturally the soundtrack release will have the same color toning as will the upcoming Blu-Ray release I'm sure. It's a gimmick to appeal to those who followed Snyder through this crazy journey.

 

Not all the DC films look like Snyder's films and not all of the Marvel films are colorless either so I don't know where the generalization is coming from that everything about Superheroes are colorless. Even Snyder's films are not devoid of color as much as I hate to admit that, with the exception of Justice Is Gray of course.

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For real. I mean if there is a market for a fucking 4 hour release of a Junkie XL score for a niche superhero film.

 

Surely, surely, surely, there is a market for 4 hour releases of a John Williams score a property as broadly popular as Star Wars.

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Kids these days don't even know who JW is unless they're trying to be ironic hipsters and reject their generation's music. Who needs this Billy Eyelash, Taylor Swift and "Insert Mumble Hip Hop Artist" when I got the Snow Battle and Main Title over here!

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5 hours ago, crumbs said:

It would be nice if anyone, literally anyone with half a brain at Disney Records was paying attention to specialty releases like this and thinking, "hmm, I wonder if there's anything in our catalog we could give similar treatment..."

 

You seriously wonder if the penny will ever drop.

I can agree with that.

Even though if the releases would be similar, they'd still find a way to miss some tracks on this hypothetical 4hour JW release.

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Just downloaded from.HOOPLA.

Doubt I'll ever listen.to it.

No.time.

4 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

 

Surely, surely, surely, there is a market for 4 hour releases of a John Williams score a property as broadly popular as Star Wars.

JWFAN.COM does not constitute a " market".

More like a mob. 😎

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  • 4 weeks later...

I figured if I ever actually listened to this in one sitting, I'd likely be exhausted. The fact I have only ever heard the album through individual chunks in the day has probably helped form the positive impression that I have of it.

My effort to make a playlist hasn't gone too great, given that I still got about 2 hours of material so far. It doesn't help that the suites alone are already decent representations of most of the score, so I wanted to mostly stick with the main score cues (plus emphasize the new stuff over the reprises). I'll see if I can figure something out in my free time.

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18 hours ago, mstrox said:

I bought this and have listened through it and this is a real slog, but there’s a decent hourlong album in there I think (one that uses the suites at the end as its bones).

 

On 4/6/2021 at 1:24 PM, Jay said:

I just came across this recommended playlist in the FSM thread for this score    

 

1. The Crew at Warpower (Suite)
2. A Hunter Gathers
3. The Provenance of Something Gathered
4. No Dog, No Master
5. A Splinter From the Thorn that Pricked You
6. Superman Rising, Pt 1
7. Beyond Good and Evil
8. Flight is in Our Nature
9. Batman, an Invocation to Heal
10. And the Lion-Earth Did Roar, Pt 2
11. Superman Rising, Pt 2
12. At the Speed of Force
13. An Eternal Reoccurrence of Change
14. We Slay Ourselves
15. The Foundation Theme (Suite)

Time: 1 hour, 7 min

 

https://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=115650&forumID=1&archive=0

 

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That's not too dissimilar from what I tried doing, but there's a few score cues that I have a hard time getting rid of. I'm much more forgiving of the noisier sections, also.

Here's my initial crack at what a condensed set looks like:
The Crew at Warpower
No Paradise, No Fall
Wonder Woman Defending / And What Rough Beast
The Provenance of Something Gathered
Cyborg Becoming / Human All Too Human
The Path Chooses You
Aquaman Returning / Carry Your Own Water
The Will to Power
I Teach You, the Overman
Batman, an Invocation to Heal / To Be Seen
Underworld
Superman Rising, Pt. 1 / A Book of Hours
Monument Builder
Monument Destroyer
Earthling
Flight Is Our Nature
Indivisible
And the Lion-Earth Did Roar, Pt. 1
And the Lion-Earth Did Roar, Pt. 2
Superman Rising, Pt. 2 / Immovable
At the Speed of Force
We Slay Ourselves
Flash, the Space to Win / Our Legacy Is Now

My current reservation with it is that the Batman suite track isn't in a particularly good spot, given it'd probably work nicer in an even shorter set without much narrative. Kind of interrupts the flow as is. It could be mitigated by replacing it with the snippet of it that appears in the main score (Things Fall Apart), plus getting rid of the other two suites for further time efficiency (replacing the opening track with A Hunter Gathers). Also, the main theme doesn't quite have the amount of play that I think it should with this configuration. I'll just have to see where I go from here.

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If you want to follow the narrative you could just place the batman suite in front of the LionEarth Did Roar (Like Jay did), since thats where a lot of it gets used in the movie anyway.

I am terrible at cutting playlists myself, but I do feel any list should at least have cyborgs theme and wonderwomans theme on there.

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I didn't make that list, I just copy and pasted it from an FSM post

 

I haven't heard this score (or seen this movie)

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I haven't seen the Snyder Cut, but I did listen to the hour playlist compilation someone recommended (I can't listen to a full 4 hour score) -- it's definitely an improvement over Man of Steel and BvS. Holkenborg actually reworks and plays around with the Superman theme. There's genuine emotion throughout but like other XL and Zimmer scores it drones on and starts wearing out its welcome even in the pared-down playlist.

 

Elfman's Josstice score was much better in comparison.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's certainly a much more technically well written piece, but boy am I hard pressed to remember too many moments outside of the opening, the 89 Bat quote, the Superman statement in the shortened version, and the title theme at the end. For as much as Holkenborg's effort can get noisy, it at least has more solidly defined ideas to its core that gets fair playtime. Elfman falls short of making something that at least can entertain me in its stylings for much of its runtime (and I don't even think the music is bad, mind you).

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