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Cues that you consider unnecessary in movies


Edmilson
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Do you remember watching a movie and then suddenly a cue begins, but you think the scene would play better WITHOUT music?

 

It has happened with me a few times. For example, in Avengers: Endgame, when Thanos and his army begin to turn to dust, we can hear a Journey to the Line-style theme that was used in One Way Trip from the first Avengers. But I believe the scene would play better with no music at all. In Infinity War, when the heroes start to disappear, there's no score playing, so I think the lack of a music would be a nice way to connect these two moments (heroes and Thanos turning to dust).

 

 

Another scene that I think would've played better without music is after The Spark on TLJ, when the First Order starts to shoot Luke. I believe the scene would be much more powerful if the audience could only hear the sound of the weapons, then when Luke appeared intact the music would resume.

 

 

What about you, can you think a scene that you thinkt it'd play better with no music?

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There are quite a few sequences in RotK where I feel PJ went a bit too liberal with the scoring, but two in particular always stood out to me.

 

As much as this cue is nice on its own, I just think it's a little unnecessary in the scene.

 

 

The same also goes, to a bigger extent, for the scene immediately following the Sam vs Shelob sequence.

 

 

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Don't really know about individual cues, but there are many movies - especially in Hollywood - that are over-scored, wall-to-wall. Could do with a bit of breather. I also quite like films that have no non-diegetic score whatsoever -- whether it's Michael Haneke or a dogme film by Lars von Trier.

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Most tentpole movies are overscored, I think. All 3 LotR movies are overscored, Star Wars is overscored. I'd go as far as to suggest that if we, as score lovers, who pay an unusual amount of attention to music during a film, don't notice the music, then that music probably wasn't needed to such an extent.

 

There are quite a few movies around the mid to late 90s/early 00s which are 2 hours plus, but have scores that can fit on a CD - Dante's Peak, Volcano, to name two. When Varese did their Wild Wild West DE (let's put aside any expansion talk here :) ), I was very surprised at how short the score was for such a huge movie. Take out the source, and it's 55 minutes - that means that there are lots of sections with no score and it works well.

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2 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

I'd go as far as to suggest that if we, as score lovers, who pay an unusual amount of attention to music during a film, don't notice the music, then that music probably wasn't needed to such an extent.

 

Isn't the best film scoring meant to go unnoticed?

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By the general moviegoing public? Yes.

 

I don't think it's as simple as that for our community though. There are so many movies I've watched where I stopped it every 2 minutes to find the music I just heard.

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Can't agree on LOTR. Especially after reading Doug Adams' book on the music and knowing how much effort was made to basically create a complete opera in movie form.

 

Tbh there's not enough music in ROTK, I loved the reprisal of the "Dangerous Passes" theme that went unused in the movie, not to mention the entire Gollum opening that was half cut to shit, and Frodo's final seduction at the hands of the ring in Mount Doom. Both examples where they replace it with dull "creepy" sound design.

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6 hours ago, The Big Man said:

 

Isn't the best film scoring meant to go unnoticed?

 

It all depends on what you want to achieve. There are directors who use music to enhance or create harmony with the narrative or a character, but there are plenty of other examples where music and visuals take the centre stage, and where noticing is the point.

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3 hours ago, superultramegaa said:

Can't agree on LOTR. Especially after reading Doug Adams' book on the music and knowing how much effort was made to basically create a complete opera in movie form.

 

Tbh there's not enough music in ROTK, I loved the reprisal of the "Dangerous Passes" theme that went unused in the movie, not to mention the entire Gollum opening that was half cut to shit, and Frodo's final seduction at the hands of the ring in Mount Doom. Both examples where they replace it with dull "creepy" sound design.

Some of it might be true and I do love all this music, but, having seen live to projection concert some years with a lot of that material restored... it was just way too much. The music literally doesn't stop playing which lessens its impact.

 

Karol

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Yeah, PJ's instincts were mostly spot on when it came to LOTR.

 

With that said, Theoden's death is scored beautifully. And no, I don't think that scene would have been as poignant without the music at all.

 

The Shelob scene might make a better case for the argument.

 

7 hours ago, Richard Penna said:

There are quite a few movies around the mid to late 90s/early 00s which are 2 hours plus, but have scores that can fit on a CD - Dante's Peak, Volcano, to name two. When Varese did their Wild Wild West DE (let's put aside any expansion talk here :) ), I was very surprised at how short the score was for such a huge movie. Take out the source, and it's 55 minutes - that means that there are lots of sections with no score and it works well.

 

Fast forward 20 years, people are still watching, talking and raving about Star Wars and LOTR.

 

Nobody even knows what Dante's Peak or Volcano even is.

 

Some films need big scores. Just like they need big sets, and big action sequences. Some films are about creating the biggest kind of experience. The kind that lingers generations after. And music plays a big role in that.

 

Wall-to-wall scoring is just one approach...certainly doesn't work for most modern films. But sometimes it's what a massive spectacle needs.

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13 minutes ago, KK said:

Wall-to-wall scoring is just one approach...certainly doesn't work for most modern films. But sometimes it's what a massive spectacle needs.

How would we know, if most directors don't even bother trying anymore?

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HP1 is another movie where it might be a little overscored, and I'm glad the producers dropped some of Williams' cues.

 

For example, for the  first conversation between Harry and Hagrid, Williams wrote a cue named "You're a Wizard, Harry" which went almost unused in the final movie, which was a good decision in my opinion. 

 

Actually, most of the appearances of Hogwarts' theme were discarded, and I can't argue with that - I was never much of a fan of that theme (except when it becomes a fanfare during Quidditch).

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21 minutes ago, KK said:

Fast forward 20 years, people are still watching, talking and raving about Star Wars and LOTR.

 

Nobody even knows what Dante's Peak or Volcano even is.

 

Some films need big scores. Just like they need big sets, and big action sequences. Some films are about creating the biggest kind of experience. The kind that lingers generations after. And music plays a big role in that.

 

Wall-to-wall scoring is just one approach...certainly doesn't work for most modern films. But sometimes it's what a massive spectacle needs.

 

SW and LotR are big franchise films - they're made to be remembered for generations. The other films I mentioned aren't really - the fact that they were scored more sparsely is just an example of how it could be done.

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29 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

 

SW and LotR are big franchise films - they're made to be remembered for generations. The other films I mentioned aren't really - the fact that they were scored more sparsely is just an example of how it could be done.

 

Well, yes, obviously. I was just pulling your tail with that comparison ;)

 

But part of the reason these big franchise films have lasted as long as they have is because of the way their scores operate, hitting every character and narrative beat, "spelling out" the film's emotions and subtext so that the audience just gets to go for the ride. On the other extreme end of the spectrum, "mickey-mousing" wasn't always a bad thing you know? The reason those old cartoons worked as well as they did is because the music was doing most of the heavy-lifting.

 

And again, I don't think most contemporary films should be scored this way, but in those films, among some others, they work because of the consistent presence.

 

FOTR is a masterclass on where the score does so much of the mood-building and looming tension because of how the music constantly pulsates underneath.

 

36 minutes ago, superultramegaa said:

How would we know, if most directors don't even bother trying anymore?

 

I would argue that most Marvel/DC films are actually overscored. The Snyder Cut had wall-to-wall score, and I don't remember a single note of coming out of the film. Part of the reason it doesn't work as well in these films is because there's just so much going on, that the music just becomes a part of the anonymous sonic wallpaper of sound fx against an already oversaturated visual fx.

 

Nolan's last two films were also overscored imo. So I disagree with you, I think there are many directors who are throwing way too much score against the picture...but the craft around how specifically a score shapes a picture has certainly gone down a few pedigrees.

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14 minutes ago, KK said:

So I disagree with you, I think there are many directors who are throwing way too much score against the picture...but the craft around how specifically score shapes a picture has certainly gone down a few pedigrees.

Yeah, I probably should have specified good wall to wall scoring is almost never done anymore, because it doesn't work when the quality of the work itself is uninteresting.

 

Obviously I know the practice still exists, but it's so much more rare for a good example of it to exist nowadays. 

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48 minutes ago, KK said:

 

The reason those old cartoons worked as well as they did is because the music was doing most of the heavy-lifting.

 

 

Not according to Rozsa ;)

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I watched the FIRST HARRY POTTER film and the nonstop music drove me crazy!

Don't know if the sequels suffered that fate as I didnt watch them

 

EDIT: I see Edmilson agrees and points out there was even MORE underscore written than ended up in the film !!!!!

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8 hours ago, Richard Penna said:

There are quite a few sequences in RotK where I feel PJ went a bit too liberal with the scoring, but two in particular always stood out to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Shore fluffed almost the entirety of the Shelob's Lair underscore, it sucks. 

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