Category Archives: Soundtracks

Soundtrack Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

*Spoilers for Infinity War below, don’t read if you haven’t seen the film yet*

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Alan Silvestri has so far worked on three films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011); The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (he will also be scoring the currently untitled Avengers 4). Before seeing Infinity War, I didn’t think anything could top the musical excellence that was The Avengers but now I know otherwise. Silvestri has truly outdone himself with his score for Infinity War.

The score contains callbacks to Silvestri’s previous entries in the MCU including a re-appearance of the original Captain America theme (which visibly excited the audience in the theater I sat in). There is also, naturally, several recurrences of the main “Avengers” theme that debuted (so far as I know) in the 2012 film of the same name. But the callbacks don’t stop with Silvestri’s material; there is also a reprise of Ludwig Göransson’s Black Panther theme when the film moves to Wakanda. Even the entrance of the Guardians of the Galaxy is in line with their previous films. While “Rubberband Man”  (performed by The Spinners) does not feature in Vol. 1 or 2 of Guardians of the Galaxy, it did come from a list of compiled songs that could be used in future GoTG entries. So musically the score ties back to the MCU’s past.

 

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As for the new music in Infinity War, I hate to do this but we need to talk about THAT scene on Vormir, because that is the section that drove me to the point of tears. It was all going normally enough until Thanos learned that he needed to sacrifice what he loved most to get the Soul Stone. In the moment when he grabbed Gamora’s arm, the music just exploded into this cacophony of pain and sorrow. I’ve mentioned before that this scene humanized Thanos for me; I should have said it was the music in this scene that did it. The music reflects the pain of Gamora (learning that after all these years Thanos really does love her and because of that she must die) and of Thanos (who must sacrifice the one person he does love in order for his goal to be achieved). This is the kind of music that pierces you like a knife, locking you into the moment so that you can’t look away even if you want to.

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And then there’s the ending scene, where everyone starts to disappear. In contrast to the scene on Vormir, here there is a distinct lack of music that I can remember. There may have been some in the background, but if there was, it wasn’t enough to draw my attention. In fact, right after Thanos vanished from Wakanda, it was so quiet I thought the people had already disappeared. I still can’t get the sounds of the ending scene out of my head. If you recall, many MCU films end with a reprise of the main theme, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much. But here, at the end of Infinity War, there’s no uplifting music to reassure us that all is right with the world again because everything is now very wrong. The music itself feels “shell-shocked” just like the surviving heroes who are realizing that (for the moment at least) they’ve lost.

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Honestly, I feel like my words are inadequate to describe how amazing the score for Avengers: Infinity War is, but I hope I did enough to give you a rough idea of how this score impacted me. Truthfully I could go on for several more paragraphs but really the best way to experience this score is to go watch the film as many times as possible and listen to the music. I know that can be hard with all the action on the screen but Silvestri does his best to bring the music to your attention.

Let me know what you thought of the music for Avengers: Infinity War in the comments below and have a great day 🙂

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

Avengers: Infinity War-Review (no spoilers)

My thoughts on: Avengers: Infinity War (spoilers!!)

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Alice in Wonderland “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (1951)

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Alice in Wonderland “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (1951)

When you break Alice in Wonderland down, it’s obvious that the film is really a series of isolated stories tied together by the narrative of Alice exploring Wonderland. One such story is “The Walrus and the Carpenter” as told to the wandering Alice by Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. I’ve been tempted several times to include this scene in my Disturbing Disney series because of one particular moment, but for now I’ll let you decide for yourselves if it’s disturbing or not.

As Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum narrate: A Walrus and a Carpenter are walking along a beach one day, which could be cleared of all its sand in half a year (the carpenter says) as long as you don’t mind the work involved that is.

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Work!!? (the Walrus is clearly averse to doing any work whatsoever) In fact, whenever the subject of work (or any kind of labor) is mentioned, the Walrus launches into this tune:

The time has come to talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings
Calloo-Callay
No work today!
We’re cabbages and kings

The carpenter then spots a bed of oysters in the ocean nearby, and being dreadfully hungry, points them out to the Walrus, who wants them as well. Thus, he marches into the ocean (while the carpenter builds a restaurant from scratch) and entices the oysters to follow him saying:

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Oh, uh, Oysters, come and walk with us
The day is warm and bright
A pleasant walk
A pleasant talk
Would be a sheer delight

Even though Mother Oyster advises all her oyster children to remain in their beds, the Walrus wins out by blustering on:

Yes, yes, of course, of course, but, uh, ha, ha!

The time has come, my little friends
To talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings, ha ha
Callo-Callay
Come, run away
With cabbages and kings!

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And so the oysters march off behind the Walrus and this is where it starts to get disturbing. For the oysters aren’t just oysters, they now run along the beach like little girls in dresses and bonnets (with happy smiling faces), which makes what happens next all the more menacing. The Walrus marches the oyster girls straight into the ready-made restaurant, and after sending the Carpenter away on a wild goose chase, draws the oyster girls in ever closer

Well, yes, yes, splendid idea, ha ha!
Very good, indeed
Now, if you’re ready, Oysters, dear
We can begin the feed

(Oysters): FEED??

Oh, yes…

The time has come, my little friends
To talk of food and things

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We don’t see what happens next but you know what’s going to happen. By the time the Carpenter comes back with the bread and sauce for the oysters, it’s too late, they’ve all been eaten by the Walrus!! This is too much for the Carpenter who chases the Walrus back down the beach in a rage over being swindled out of an oyster dinner. But what I’d like to get back to is this scene with the Walrus alone with the Oysters: it is downright menacing I think! Just go back and look at that picture of the Walrus with his evil grin as it dawns on the oysters what’s about to happen. I think it’s pretty disturbing, but what do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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See also:

Disney Soundtracks A-Z

Alice in Wonderland “In a World of My Own” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “All in the Golden Afternoon” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

Has Gladiator’s Music Score Been Unfairly Forgotten?

“Are you not entertained?” boomed Russell Crowe in Gladiator, a movie that hit the headlines again recently, 18 years after it first hit our screens. It was after Mr. Crowe decided that it was time to sell off some of his personal effects, including a jockstrap from one of his movies and a fake Roman chariot used in Gladiator. Well, to answer your question, Mr. Crowe, we were entertained (as you can see from our review), but while we remember the classic quotes from the movie and the stunning landscape that provided a backdrop to the action, one aspect has been lost slightly in any discussions about the movie which won the 73rd Academy Award for Best Picture. That aspect is the music for the movie, which was created by a legend in his industry: Hans Zimmer.

Do casino games represent a sign of the times?

Zimmer won awards at the Golden Globes, but the critical legacy seems to have revolved around the graphics used in the movie, with more awards for the likes of best costume design picked up by Gladiator than plaudits for the score. The visual effects and costumes at the time were stand-out, but looking back, they don’t seem like anything special, especially compared to costumes and backdrops from the stunning period dramas we’ve seen from the past decade (think Downton Abbey or Versailles for good examples of this).
The music, meanwhile, when you watch the movie again, hasn’t aged at all, despite the raft of technological changes which have emerged since the movie’s production. It is the look of the movie that has arguably had the biggest impact on pop culture as well; one look at the details about this fantastic game shows that there is far more of a focus on the aesthetics of the game rather than the music, which focuses primarily on sound effects like beeps and chimes.

 

This Platinum Play casino review shows that the Gladiator slot reached new heights of popularity, becoming one of the most popular games from that particular operator, highlighting how the music has become something of the forgotten element of the award-winning movie.

Not the only snub to Hans

For as much as it may seem unfair, Zimmer perhaps won’t have been overly surprised by his snub. After all, he has already seen his score for Hannibal be horribly underrated. With tracks like The Battle and Now We Are Free significant pieces of music, it is still a tragedy that the blood and guts is what sticks in the mind all these years later, and that the selling off of items by Russell Crowe can still be what grabs the headlines, rather than the inspirational work of a great movie soundtrack composer.

The CV and the awards that Hans Zimmer has earned throughout his career highlight that he is a man who has clearly earned appreciation in the world of music, even if he hasn’t been able to remain memorable in public consciousness. For the time being, if you want to enjoy Hans Zimmer, you just need to watch movies as diverse as The Lion King, Inception, and, of course, Gladiator, to hear him at his finest. 

See also:

My thoughts on: Gladiator (2000)

Film/TV Reviews

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The Wind in the Willows “The Merrily Song” (1949)

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The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) is one of those early Disney films that has sadly fallen by the wayside. It came about in the years immediately after World War II when Disney found themselves with a pile of animated segments that were too long to be theatrical shorts but too short to be full length features. As a result, Disney created a series of “package films,” films that consisted of two or more animated segments. Previous installments included: Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Melody Time (1948) and also The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977).

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The first segment in this package film adapts Kenneth Grahame’s classic story “The Wind in the Willows” and is narrated by Basil Rathbone. The story follows the misadventures of one J. Thaddeus Toad (Eric Blore), a country squire who is spending his fortune on every fad he comes across. When we first meet him, he’s engaged in his latest mania: driving a gypsy cart across the countryside with his new friend, a Cockney-speaking horse named Cyril Proudbottom (J. Pat O’Malley) and together they are singing the insane “Merrily Song.”

The Wind in the Willows “The Merrily Song” (1949)

Mr. Toad: Tally Ho! Tally Ho! Tally Ho!
Are we on our way to Nottingham, to Brittingham; to Buckingham
Or any hammy hamlet by the sea? NO!
Cyril: Are we on our way to Devonshire; to Lancashire or Worcestershire?
I’m not so sure, we’ll have to wait and see!
Mr. Toad: NO! Are we on our way to Dover or going merrily over
The jolly road that goes to Plymouth, ho!

Mr. Toad and Cyril: NO! We’re merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily on our way to nowhere in particular.
We’re merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily on our way where the roads are perpendicular.

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Cyril: We’re always in a hurry.
Mr. Toad: We have no time to stall.
Mr. Toad and Cyril: We’ve got to be there, we’ve got to be there,
but where we can’t recall.

Whoo! We’re merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily, merrily on our way, and we may
be going to Devonshire to Lancashire to Worcestershire.
We’re not so sure, but what do we care, we’re only sure we got to be THERE!
We’re merrily on our way to nowhere at all!

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Mr. Toad’s enthusiasm is infectious, or at least it is to me, because every time I watch this scene I’ve got a big grin on my face by the end. And it’s easy to understand why Mr. Toad is so happy: who wouldn’t be excited getting to ramble about the countryside in any direction they wished to go? Never mind all the chaos and destruction he’s leaving in his wake, Mr. Toad can’t help but pursue his mad adventures.

I hope you enjoyed reading about and listening to “The Merrily Song” from The Wind in the Willows. Let me know what you thought about this scene in the comments below and have a great day 🙂

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

See also: Disney Soundtracks A-Z

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

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An American Tail: Fievel Goes West “The Girl You Left Behind” (1991)

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An American Tail: Fievel Goes West “The Girl You Left Behind” (1991)

The first sequel to Don Bluth’s beloved-if-somewhat-disturbing An American Tail is an underrated gem of a story that follows Russian immigrant mouse Fievel Mouskewitz and his family as they immigrate to the wild West to make a better life than the one they have in New York City. Predictably, Fievel is separated from his family during the journey and he must race to catch up to their new home in Green River before the nefarious Cat R. Waul (John Cleese) fulfills his dream of turning all the mice into mouse burgers via a giant mouse trap.

One of my favorite sub-plots in this story is that of Tanya, Fievel’s older sister. With a gorgeous singing voice, Tanya is filled with dreams of becoming a great actress or a singer (or both) but her mother won’t hear of it. It’s not until Cat R. Waul happens to hear her singing to herself one day (“Dreams to Dream”) that Tanya is given a chance to realize her dream of becoming a performer. She’s taken to the local saloon and made up into a show girl by Miss Kitty (Tiger’s on-again off-again girlfriend) and is then thrust onto the stage where she has to perform for a saloon full of cats! Tanya’s nerves almost get the better of her, but with a little encouragement from Miss Kitty, she lets out a glass-breaking note that leaves the entire room staring at her in awe, and then the real fun begins!

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“The Girl You Left Behind” is one of my favorite animated songs that doesn’t come from a Disney film. It was created by the late James Horner and features the vocals of Cathy Cavadini (aka Blossom from The Powerpuff Girls). In this song, Tanya entertains the cats by singing about “the girl you left behind” and how they shouldn’t let her go.

Do you… do you ever miss…

Do you ever miss the girl…you left behind?

Is the girl you left behind out there tonight romancin’?

Makin’ eyes at someone else and singin’, is she dancin’?

Only the girl you left behind is real when you’re sleepin’

Puts the teardrops in your eyes from secrets she is keepin’

Happy just playin’ a tune and dance the whole night away

Hope the girl you left behind will be there for you someday

Lonely is the wind that blows, you know you’ll always miss her

Lonely is a lover’s heart, if only you could

Kiss her, kiss her, kiss her

Tanya’s debut takes place while Chula (Cat R. Waul’s tarantula henchman) is hunting Fievel to eliminate him as a loose end (he knows about the cats’ plan to kill all the mice). The poor mouse tries time and time again to get his sister’s attention but she’s so caught up in her performance that she doesn’t notice.

Chula is a sadistic tarantula with a high aversion to pain (just listen to his dialogue during the scene where he gets sprayed with Miss Kitty’s perfume). At one point, he corners Fievel and sings a demented version of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” that goes like this: The itsy bitsy spider caught a mouse in his web/The itsy bitsy spider BIT OFF THE MOUSE’S HEAD!

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All the girls you left behind could fill up California

Please don’t leave them too darn long, I think I oughta warn ya

Absence makes the heart go cold and makes a heart to wander

If you stay there by their sides, you’ll feel their hearts grow fonder

Cats:

Hope you see her someday

Hope I find my way

Back to the girl I left behind

Tanya:

So tell me you will never roam

Cats:

(We swear we won’t go roaming)

Tanya:

You’ll be by your fireside

Cats:

(We’ll all be home sweet home and kiss her, kiss her, kiss her)

Tanya:
So where’s the girl you left behind?

Cats:
She’s waitin’ for her sister

We won’t stop until we’re home we’ll hug and hug and kiss her

I’ll find the girl

I’ll find the girl

I’ll find the girl

I’ll find the girl

All:
You’ll (I’ll) find the girl

You’ll (I’ll) find the girl you (I) left behind

Tonight! Tonight! Tonight!

That’s right

Alright!

I can’t lie, as a little kid, I used to pretend I was Tanya putting on the performance of a lifetime. I wanted to put a big feather in my hair and dress up too (*sighs* good times…) What do you think of “The Girl You Left Behind”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day 🙂

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This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

See also: Disney Soundtracks A-Z

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Soundtrack Review: I Kill Giants (2018)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.
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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.
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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.
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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.

 

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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!
This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Soundtrack Review: Tomb Raider (2018)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

tomb-raider-2018

Tomb Raider is a 2018 action-adventure film directed by Roar Uthaug and is based on the 2013 video game of the same name. This film officially reboots the Tomb Raider film series and stars Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man from UNCLE) as Lara Croft while she journeys to the last-known location of her father, a mysterious island in the “devil’s sea.”

The score for Tomb Raider was composed by Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, who is a Grammy® nominated and multi-platinum producer, musician, and composer whose versatility puts him on the cutting edge of contemporary music, as well at the vanguard of exciting new film composers. His film scoring credits include Mad Max Fury Road, Deadpool, Black Mass, Divergent, Brimstone and The Dark Tower. Tom says about the soundtrack: “We spend a lot of time on the ‘island‘ in the movie. It is otherworldly and wild, and I wanted to get people out of their comfort zones with some eerie crescendo moments. I spent months having custom pacific drums built, which I played myself to create insane adrenaline inducing rhythms. I also distorted our orchestral recordings, which yielded some unsettling qualities within the score.

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The soundtrack is typical action-adventure fare, though this isn’t a bad thing as it makes for good listening. “Return to Croft Manor” is a traditional, orchestral introduction to the soundtrack with a repeating theme that overlaps and recurs throughout. The early pieces in the score are refined and somewhat elegant, rather fitting with the film’s opening set in London. Once the story moves to the island of Yamatai however, the music becomes very wild and unruly indeed.

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“The Devil’s Sea” perfectly encapsulates the nightmarish behavior of the waters surrounding Yamatai. The music twists, turns, and practically writhes in contortions of agony that keep you on the edge of your seat. This is by far my favorite piece in the soundtrack.

“What Lies Underneath Yamatai” has traces of mystery in it, but largely consists of synthesized tones (accented by strings) that rise and fall in the same way you’ve heard in a dozen action films when the hero/heroine gets close to their objective.

Lara-Croft-2018-ghost-in-the-woods

In conclusion, the soundtrack doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table, but it is good listening, which is never a bad thing.
What do you think of the soundtrack for Tomb Raider? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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