Soundtrack Review: I Kill Giants (2018)

I Kill Giants is a 2017 fantasy thriller film directed by Anders Walter based on the graphic novel of the same name written by Kelly and Ken Nimura. The film follows young Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) as she escapes into a fantasy world to fight giants in order to avoid her problems in the real world.
The soundtrack for I Kill Giants was composed by Laurent Perez del Mar. He is critically acclaimed for his work on the score for the Academy Award®-nominated feature film The Red Turtle, produced by the famous studios Ghibli. His score has earned numerous accolades, including an award from the prestigious International Films Music Critics Association in 2017, and nominations by the Annie Awards and from the Prix Lumières in the best music category. He became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in 2017.
Perez del Mar is as comfortable composing for animated films (he wrote scores for Zarafa, nominated for the César in 2012 and Wolfy, The Incredible Secret which won the César in 2014), as he is for feature films (My Son by Christian Carion, featuring Guillaume Canet and Melanie Laurent, Antigang featuring Jean Reno, Carole Matthieu featuring Isabelle Adjani, and Mrs. Mills by Sophie Marceau).
This score is full of some beautiful moments. As you might expect in a fantasy film, there are elements of mystery and whimsy as well as suspense (because Barbara is killing giants after all). Parts of the score, particularly “I Kill Giants” and “Giants” reminded me of elements from the score for Ex Machina and The Machine. Especially in the former piece, there’s an almost music box quality to the melody that is loosely similar to Ava’s theme in Ex Machina.
One of my favorite parts of the soundtrack is “Gift of Gold.” I’m not sure where it falls in the story but the melody is absolutely gorgeous. It starts out relatively innocent, a warm, quick-paced melody that slowly turns dark as minor-keyed notes begin to slip in. It’s like when someone is presenting a happy front to the world but the sad reality slips out over time (which is really similar to what Barbara is doing, though her front isn’t really a “happy” one).

The tracks that make reference to the titular giants surprised me. Given the trailer I saw, I thought the music that involved or referenced the giants would be a lot scarier or more intense. But “Another Giant is Coming,” “Giants,” “I Kill Giants,” and even “Fight the Forest Giant” were more sad in tone than anything else. This could *spoiler alert* be attributed (at least in part) to the giants being symbolic of Death and Barbara’s desire to keep Death away. “Fight the Forest Giant” is a minor exception as it devolves somewhat into the expected “scary fight music” towards the middle of the piece.

I Kill Giants has one of the best scores I’ve heard this year so far (and only Red Sparrow and Annihilation rank higher at the moment) and I highly recommend you go listen to it as soon as possible. Let me know what you thought of I Kill Giants and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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