I figured something out the other day concerning films and soundtracks and myself. If a movie does not have a decent soundtrack, I won't like it. End of discussion. But those movies that have awesome soundtracks become my favorite friends.
I didn't realize this before, oddly enough. I would come out of a theatre with this curious sort of buzzing sparkly excited sensation, and the unshakable desire to watch the feature again. The other day I finally noticed the relationship between that and the sensation I get from a superior musical performance*. I've compiled (and discussed, somewhat) four of my exceptional favorites in no particular order. There will be more later. Enjoy!
Pride & Prejudice (2003)
Composer: Dario Marianelli
Watching this film the first time was not a wonderful experience. I was talked at the entire time, added to the fact I was in a room of young teenage girls who would not shut up**. I could barely understand the plot line, but I knew as soon as it was over I needed to see it again. Why? A very tasteful combination of piano and orchestral timbres, that's why. Mr. Marianelli's piano pieces are fresh, with undertones of some of the romantic period's best sounds. Those parts not including a piano are still strong(I really love the dance piece Meryton Townhall, because it demands a reaction). An album with a particularly classical/romantic feel.
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Composer: Basil Poledouris
I grew up on this movie. John Wayne might have been the first cowboy, but I believe Tom Selleck was a better one, even though the background music probably helped this bias***. This soundtrack is built on a swaggering-feel orchestra, a sleepy-sounding clarinet, and the twang and jig of a traditional banjo. And the bassline is to die for. It sounds and feels similar to typical country, old-time Western music without making a full commitment to the stereotype of old-time country.
Star Trek (2009)
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Of the tracks that make this list, this is possibly my least favorite because it leans very heavily intense, anxious-feeling conflicted tones and my neurons start firing ::Get rid of the stress, and NOW or I will make you cry:: in fairly short order. Don't get me wrong--there is a delightful variety in the tonal content. The overall emotion is conflict, though, and I am (for the most part) something of a spineless wimp who cannot handle conflict. Excepting a few rock-n'-roll songs not included on the track, this orchestral album has strong classical themes with modern overtones incorporated gracefully into the original Star Trek theme.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Tee hee. This soundtrack is composed for a cousin twice removed from an orchestra. The typical instruments all put in an appearance--but the star of the show is a hammered dulcimer for crying out loud. Not to mention they hauled in a shitty piano and some electric guitars. These combinations do a brilliant job showing the convoluted rabbit trail that is Holme's brain. They also sound amazing and adventurous. This track has recollections of old-time music coupled with forcefully modern twists, and the combination makes it quite enjoyable.
This was entirely enjoyable for me, interestingly enough. I hope it was for anyone who read it, either. I think I shall make a habit of watching films for their soundtracks now, though.
*They're the same. Go figure.
**I've always had a hard time finding friends as easily spellbound by book and film as I. This was probably a great cause of conflict.
***Still. Quigley would have made John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn cry like a baby. A hungry, angry baby.