Tag Archives: film music

Soundtrack Review: Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

There’s a part of me that still can’t believe that a live-action movie based on Dora the Explorer exists, and yet, there it is. I’ve largely felt ambivalent about Dora and the Lost City of Gold ever since it was announced, but that’s probably due in large part to the fact that I was far too old for the Dora cartoon when it first came out in 2000, so I don’t have that connection to it that younger adults (not to mention children) might have. That being said, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to check out the film’s soundtrack, which was co-composed by John Debney and Germaine Franco.

Debney is well known in the film music world, composing music for The Princess Diaries, Sin City, Liar Liar, Spy Kids, No Strings Attached, The Emperor’s New Groove, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Hocus Pocus, just to name a few. I admit that Germaine Franco is less well-know to me personally, but her resume is also impressive. She is the first female composer to be hired by DreamWorks Animation and Pixar and is a Sundance Music Sound Design Fellow. She previously scored the feature film Little for Universal Pictures with Tina Gordon Chism, which was released in theaters in April 2019, as well as working on Tag and Life-Size 2.

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As for the soundtrack itself, it’s pretty enjoyable to listen to for the most part. Any score that has John Debney involved is going to have some good music in it, and the soundtrack is full of a number of these, one of my favorites being “Camino Real de Parapata.” On the other hand, there are a few tracks that are clearly meant to pay homage to the music of the Dora the Explorer cartoons, and these, for me, clash terribly with the rest of the soundtrack. I understand wanting to pay homage, but those musical moments aren’t my favorite compared to the more orchestral segments.

As good as the music sounds (for the most part), this soundtrack didn’t really resonate with me the way others have. As mentioned earlier, I think that’s partially because I don’t have a prior connection to Dora the Explorer to help me connect to the music. I do appreciate the work that went into the orchestral segments. They do a good job of creating a feeling of action, that sense of a chase that helps the music and the film bind more closely together. My conclusion is this soundtrack is good, but not mind-blowing.

Let me know what you think about Dora and the Lost City of Gold (and the soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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David Buckley Talks Angel Has Fallen (2019)

The soundtrack for Angel Has Fallen is available as of August 23rd, and it was composed by David Buckley. He has previously worked on such projects as The Good Wife, Jason Bourne, and The Nice Guys. The soundtrack is available from Milan Records, an imprint of Sony Music Masterworks.

Angel Has Fallen is the follow up to Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016). When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the President. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm and save the country from imminent danger.

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Of the soundtrack, David Buckley had this to say:

When Ric (Director) and I first discussed the direction for this score, he was keen for the music to remain in a dark space as our hero becomes a fugitive. There is some light and shade as the drama enfolds, but for a lot of the film my job was to portray a man not only on the run, but one who is fast approaching mental and physical breaking point. But there is a theme that represents light and hope, for Mike Banning’s wife, for his child, for the President and for his country.

ANGEL HAS FALLEN (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)

TRACK LISTING –

1.       The Kill Zone

2.       Drone Attack

3.       Swallowed by Trees

4.       Home Life

5.       Fishing Trip

6.       Death Threats

7.       Semi Chase

8.       Deep Regrets

9.       Resurrection

10.    Into the Abyss

11.    Hospital Breach

12.    Accepting Betrayal

13.    Atrium Firefight

14.    Final Chess Match

15.    Coup de Grace

16.    No More Secrets

17.    Angel Has Fallen

Angel Has Fallen is directed by Ric Roman Waugh from a screenplay by Robert Mark Kamen and Matt Cook & Ric Roman Waugh, story by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt, and based on characters created by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt.

Let me know what you think about Angel Has Fallen (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

Marco Beltrami talks A Quiet Place (2018)

I have a mixture of thoughts about A Quiet Place, and its soundtrack. Regarding the movie itself, I’m slightly ashamed that I haven’t seen it yet (but most of you know my feelings on horror by now, and the entire premise of this film terrifies me). As for the soundtrack…believe it or not part of me finds it funny that the film has a soundtrack at all, as given the premise, it would almost be appropriate for the film to have no non-diegetic music at all. But have a soundtrack it does, and Marco Beltrami did the honors.

In this fantastic interview (full credit to Ashton Gleckman), Marco Beltrami discusses how he came to work on the score for this film, and talks about some of the things he did to give the film its unique sound.

(again, I give full credit to Ashton Gleckman, whose video this is, for this awesome interview with Marco Beltrami)

Having listened to the interview, I have to agree with Beltrami: having a film with almost no dialogue would be a golden opportunity for a film composer. Think about it, most of the time the film score is structured around dialogue, which means the music mostly stays in the background while characters are talking (this isn’t always true, but it usually is). However, in a film like A Quiet Place, with almost no talking, you basically have a blank slate to work with, and it sounds like Beltrami took full advantage.

Another detail I liked from this interview is when Beltrami talked about how he arranged parts of the music to reflect the terrifying world the family of A Quiet Place live in. It was something to the effect of “they’ve been living in silence so long that any sounds they do hear will sound wonky to them.” And that makes sense. If you get used to silence, sounds will start to sound abnormal. To that end, one thing Beltrami did was de-tune the black keys on a piano (to de-tune means to deliberately put something out of tune), which would automatically create a weird sound when you play the instrument.

I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of the interview, and I hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at how the score to A Quiet Place was created. Let me know what you think of  A Quiet Place (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Marco Beltrami talks Blade II (2002)

Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson talk Resident Evil (2002)

Marco Beltrami talks Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Marco Beltrami talks 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Marco Beltrami talks The Wolverine (2013)

Marco Beltrami talks World War Z (2013)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Brian Tyler scoring Constantine (2005)

I’m always on the lookout for good videos of film scoring sessions, and today I hit the jackpot (in a manner of speaking) with an excellent video showing Brian Tyler working on Constantine (2005) in the recording studio. Being a firm devotee of Matt Ryan’s portrayal of the iconic master of the dark arts, I’ve generally ignored this film’s existence. But now that I’ve heard some excerpts of the film’s score while watching this video, I’m wondering if I need to go back and re-evaluate my position on this film.

This particular video is especially good because it shows a great view of the entire studio, with the composer/conductor and the orchestra at one end, while the work-in-progress film is projected on the far wall. As I’ve mentioned before, seeing the film during the recording process is necessary (for most) because this helps the composer sync the music to the film in the best way possible. To help with this, I believe there is a timer (of sorts) projected onto the screen for the composer’s benefit (for example, at 1:30 see the “0278+8” in the bottom right of the screen, that looks like a timing tool I’ve heard of film composers using).

Another great thing about this video is that it shows several different recording sessions that focus on different scenes. My favorite example in the whole video is the sequence starting at 1:32 that zooms in close on the film being projected. Watching that and hearing the music shows how hard Tyler has to work to create music that matches up with the visuals. As the video also shows, the director can sit in on these sessions, that way if he/she sees something that doesn’t work for them, they can let the composer know so it can be fixed right away.

I really hope you enjoy this video of Brian Tyler working on scoring Constantine (this is also the earliest video of the composer at work that I’ve found to date). Let me know what you think about Constantine (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Brian Tyler scoring The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious is, as of 2017, the most recent film in the Fast & Furious franchise to be scored by Brian Tyler (there’s no word as yet as to whether he will score Fast & Furious 9). The Fate of the Furious continued the franchise trend of pushing the boundaries of storytelling, and the music gladly rises to the occasion.

The video I was able to find relating to this soundtrack shows segments of various scoring sessions, with the video quickly moving through several themes. Unlike the video clip for Furious 7, which focused a little more on the electronic and percussion aspects, this clip only shows the orchestra at work under Tyler’s direction. That’s fine by me, as I love watching Brian Tyler make unconventional sounds with a regular orchestra.

I apologize for the video being so short, but even though the video is only a minute long, it’s obvious just how powerful Brian Tyler’s music is. And as I say every time I cover this composer, it is so much fun to watch Tyler conduct the orchestra, he is clearly into the music, and I really do feel that this comes across in the final score as well.

Let me know what you think about this glimpse of Brian Tyler scoring the soundtrack of The Fate of the Furious in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Brian Tyler talks Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler scoring Furious 7 (2015)

My Thoughts on: Fast Five (2011)

My Thoughts on: Furious 7 (2015)

My Thoughts on: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Brian Tyler scoring Furious 7 (2015)

You might not have realized this, but Brian Tyler has been heavily involved in the Fast & Furious franchise for quite some time. His current scoring credits for the franchise include: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift; Fast & Furious; Fast Five; Furious 7; and The Fate of the Furious.

Tyler’s impressive composition abilities bring a high-octane feeling to every score he’s worked on (or at least the three I’ve listened to, I haven’t seen the 3rd and 4th films yet), and Furious 7 is no exception. The behind-the-scenes video I found for Furious 7 shows snippets of scoring sessions for the film, as well as a glimpse into the mixing process. As you might expect for a film like Furious 7, filled with fast cars and windows into the world of the super-rich, the music is full of electronic tweaks, with remixes, reverbs, and a lot of percussion (provided by Tyler himself no less).

The music of the Fast & Furious films occupies an interesting space in my head. Given how loud these films are (with all the cars and chases), it’s not uncommon to forget this film has music at all. And here’s the genius of that: the music fits into the film so neatly that you don’t notice it. However, I guarantee that if someone made an edit of the film that took the music away, it wouldn’t take you long to notice the difference. That’s one of the things I love about Brian Tyler’s music, it just fits into the film, and that’s not an easy thing to do.

I would literally give an arm and a leg to hear Brian Tyler’s thoughts about how he went and put this score together, especially since it’s the last film to feature Paul Walker (six years later and his loss still hurts). However, until such time as I can find some more footage to share, I hope you enjoy this peek into the scoring of Furious 7.

Let me know what you think about Furious 7 (and it’s soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler talks Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler scoring The Fate of the Furious (2017)

My Thoughts on: Furious 7 (2015)

My Thoughts on: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

James Newton Howard scoring King Kong (2005)

One movie and film score that I am slowly growing to appreciate is the 2005 remake of King Kong, which was scored by James Newton Howard. As much as I love the original King Kong (which everyone should see at least once), I have to admit this remake is better than most.

I found, some time ago, a wonderful video that gives some insight into how the score was put together, and it’s available here below.

Unlike some of the videos I’ve found, this video isn’t just a look into the recording studio, it also gives a brief overview of what has to be done to get the score made. James Newton Howard and those of his team essentially lay out the process from composing and blocking out the themes to getting it recorded, to having the sound mixed into a final arrangement.

I wish this video talked more about the score’s themes, but I did learn one cool thing from this video. At one point, during the recording process, the orchestra reached 100 decibels, that’s how loud they were playing. You also get a clear look at “the board” that most, if not all film composers, use during the recording process. This is a board that lists every single cue that appears in the score, and the marks next to it indicate where the cue is in the recording process, up until the cue has been finalized and approved. This is an easy way to look and see how much of the score remains to be worked on.

I hope you like watching this behind the scenes look at James Newton Howard working on King Kong. Let me know your thoughts on the film and its score in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

James Newton Howard talks Dinosaur (2000)

James Newton Howard talks Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

James Newton Howard talks Signs (2002)

James Newton Howard talks The Village (2004)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook