Tracksounds Rating = 9/10
Dream of a Score
by Christopher Coleman
October Sky is
one of those scores that, prior to seeing the film, can be extremely
disappointing, but given time and adequate opportunity, a very satisfying
score. Such was the case with
me. After seeing the
wonderful trailer filled with the epic Apollo 13 score by James
Horner, I had high hopes for Mark Isham’s effort.
The only thing that matched my anticipation for both film and score
was my initial disappointment with the score.
The film is a wonderful, heartfelt work by director Joe Johnston
and in the context of the film, Mark Isham’s score seems to be a perfect
match. Many fans do not
gravitate to the understated style of a Mark Isham, but sometimes
understated is just what the director ordered.
October Sky is a
very unimpressive score on the surface.
After listening to it just once, you may think it isn’t worth
your time or money. Sometimes;
however, scores like October Sky or A River Runs Through It
provide the longest lasting listening enjoyment.
Most of the humorous and upbeat moments of the film were left to
period rock and roll cuts, while Isham took on the most serious and
inspirational scenes. Such a
combination worked well for the film, but having Fats Domino or The
Coasters interject their little diddies after very melancholy pieces of
music really destroys the flow of the CD.
I have given each of the rock and roll tracks a star-rating of ***
just because they fit well in the film and because…well…they are
The simple courage and
determination of the film’s young “hero,” Homer Hickam, is stated
early and often throughout most of the score tracks released by Sony
track 1, musically tells the listener of the simple, little mining town of
Coalwood but it also tells of the heart of a young man who knows he is
destined for more than coal mining. Track
9, It’s a Thing of Glory, takes this main theme and really puts a
sunrise-sort of optimism to it, which really makes this a beautiful track.
Track 17, Splitting the Sky
is also a more positive version
of the Homer’s theme as the tempo is a bit faster and the string section
beams of hope and accomplishment as opposed to hopeless abandon. The latter half of track 5, The Search for Auk 13 and Range
and Altitude (track 20) share what is the most upbeat score of the CD
and provides some needed contrast within the score.
Track 2, Sputnik
and track 15, Cape Coalwood contains the best pieces of music of
Sony's release. They are very
short, soft pieces- very heavenly as strings, woodwinds, and an unearthly
harp communicate the awe of the earth’s first man-made satellite and the
very simple hopes of a few young men who want to build a rocket.
My only wish is that these two tracks were longer.
This score can seem a
bit depressing at times, for there is a sense of hopeless that permeates
the town of Coalwood- that things will always be the way they have been.
In addition there are some very sad moments in the film that Mark
Isham has little trouble communicating through his music.
The best examples of this can be heard in track 6, I Was Lucky
to Know Him, and track 16, Miss Riley.
The film’s conclusion
is recorded in tracks 22,This One’s Yours and 23.October Sky.
These two tracks compose the film’s emotional finale,
where there is a reuniting, a tribute, and the epilogue depicting real
footage of the story’s main characters. Here, Mark Isham is able
to bring a very triumphant ending to the film without abandoning the style
and feel to governs the entire score.
Not much has been made about this movie or its score, but I must give it an extremely high mark. While other directions might have been taken by other composers for this film, Mark Isham has hit the mark with one dream of a score.
The Rocket Book
|4||Ain't That A Shame by Fats Domino *||2:24||***|
The Search for Auk 13
I Was Lucky to Know Him
My Prayer by The Platters *
That'll be the Day by Buddy Holly *
It's a Thing of Glory
I Won't Shed a Tear
The Black Phone
|12||The Dreams of Boys||2:34||****|
Searchin' by The Coasters *
|14||Yakety Yak by The Coasters *||1:50||***|
|17||Splitting the Sky||1:21||****|
|18||Speedo by The Cadillac's *||2:19||***|
|19||I'll Be Gone Forever||0:57||***|
|20||Range and Altitude||1:38||****|
|22||This One's Yours||1:47||****|
|24||It's All in the Game by Tommy Edwards *||2:37||***|
|Total Playing Time||52:28|
* pop track
I thought that it was a very touching score and a very touching movie. I cried the 3 times I saw it. Mark Isham composed, what I think, is a highly underrated and ignored soundtrack. ****
The Special Feature: To Boldly Go!
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|All artwork from October Sky is exclusive property of Sony Classical (c) 1999. Its appearance is for informational purposes only.|
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