Most Memorable Theme
I stand by my review of “Transformers”,
Jablonsky’s music, while bearing many of the Media Ventures (or
whatever they’re calling themselves these days) thumbprints, is
still legendary. It’s thrilling to hear that surge with Peter
Cullen’s narration, and to see the Autobots roll up in the
film—that’s memorable. I do enjoy “Pirates of the Caribbean” and
the music matures nicely in the third installment, and “Amazing
Grace” is likely the “adult” choice, here…but who says enjoying
film music is all about being an adult?
Best Cue (on album)
“Transformers”, man! Can I praise it too
much? I suppose I can. Still, I love the jaunty “Up is Down” piece
from “World’s End”. “Beowulf” theme is a little Ladyhawke-ish (and
that’s not necessarily a bad thing), and I enjoy hearing that real
“ass-kicking” heave-ho music.
Surprise of the Year
I think I’d seen the DVD for “George and the
Dragon” in the deep-discount used bin at Blockbuster, so I could
only figure that the quality of the film left something to be
desired. (It’s sad that the actors get enough money out of doing
such projects that they could pay off my student loan, twice.) But,
even second rate direct-to-video films can still shine in the score
department (even Horner got a breakthrough doing Roger Corman
flicks!) Stardust was a more maineam picture, and being a
huge lover of the book, I was really looking forward to the score.
While Eshkeri’s score does seem like it borrows from “Dragonheart”
to “Lord of the Rings” to “Chronicles of Narnia”, he still manages
to get something unique out of the effort. I loved hearing
Patrick Doyle do Action-Fantasy again.
Disappointment of the Year
Spider-Man 3 should have had a score
release, which is disappointing in itself, but even seeing the
picture, could not discern that the film itself really broke new
thematic ground. There was a moment towards the end of the film
that I really became aware of the score, but where was it during
the rest of the film? Same ‘ol Spidey-Theme. S’all right, but…not
enough. “Last Mimzy” was disappointing in that folks wanted to hear
something especially akin to “Lord of the Rings” again, and didn’t
get it for this sci-fi/fantasy mix-up.
Best Score Missed by Oscar
I’m not wholly sure by what standards a
score is nominated for Best Score, and whether when the actual
nominating procedure is in process whether they cut the initial
nominations off at 5, (e.g., “That’s enough, this’ll be it folks!
We can’t listen to scores all day to find the perfect five
nominations!”)….and also, why lately they seem to often pick the
driest films….I suppose they can’t all be leitmotif and orchestral
flourishes (nor would I expect them to be—3:10 to Yuma is quite
good in its sparseness, though contrarywise, so is Ratatouille in
its grand comic elegance.) Though, I do like to see something
memorable win, and I think all of the choices here offer something
Best Score as Heard in Film
I didn’t see “I Am Legend”, so I couldn’t
vouch for that, but all of these films are fun and the music stands
out in them.
Best Score as Heard on Album
“Pirates” really makes for a great full-album
experience, from “Hoist the Colors” to “Drink up me Hearties”, it’s
a real rousing adventurous listen. “Stardust” is much the same way.
Best Score for Television
“Tin Man” had the luxury of being a very
self-contained experience, so it has a good listening arc that
doesn’t stretch over 13-20 episodes. “Battlestar Galactica” did
retread some ground in the third season, but the climactic episode
features a fantastic score which builds up to a powerful climax.
Best Score for Animated Film
The academy was on to something when they
nominated Giacchino’s score for “Ratatouille”—it’s a score with
heart. French heart (coeur), but heart none the less. The
Direct-to-Video “Superman Doomsday” scored by former
“Buffy”/”Angel” composer, Robert Kral, was an exciting score for a
particularly dark storyline in the Superman mythos.
Best Dramatic Score
Hey, if Harry Potter’s getting more dramatic,
I’m all for where this music is going. John Williams may have
gotten the ball rolling on this franchise, but the development on
this series gets better and better.
Best Action Score
Transformers had terrific action music, and
John Powell’s continuation of the “Bourne” series retreads familiar
ground, but maintains the excitement.
Best Cover Art
While not wholly practical for storing on the
shelf, you have to be wholly amused at the Simpson’s whimsical
doughnut packaging on its’ special edition. Win! I’ve bought
too many Star Wars albums…The Corellian Edition might be a really
cool name for CD, and may have even been a good purchase for those
who haven’t bought many/any Star Wars albums in the past, but yet
one more Darth Vader cover? Ehh. Still, the Star Wars fan in me
still kind of geeks out a bit, seeing it.
John Williams, though his massive output the
year before certainly earns him a rest, especially with the new
Indiana Jones score for 2008…!
Nicholas Hooper, for certain, since he came
out of pure obscurity and delivered something magical. (Dunno how
Mark McKenzie got there…he’s been around for a while, now.)
James Newton-Howard maintains a
near-superhuman output of quality scores, so he certainly ranks
above all, but the others here are always, always welcome, and have
made outstanding and notable efforts this year in their own right
this year, and hopefully will continue into 2008 doing more of the
Steve Townsley is a contributor at Tracksounds and also has his own
online comic: Caribbean