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Accord64

When the Film Score Outshines the Movie

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I enjoy listening to movie soundtracks (film scores). They often provide me with much needed writing inspiration. Among my favorite composers are John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer. These four alone have scored numerous memorable movies with some incredible music.

 

But what about those movies that don't do very well, but their scores often outshine the box office?

 

Here are a couple of examples:

 

Wing Commander (1999) was a sci-fi dud, but David Arnold's theme sounds like it should've been in a Marvel movie:

 

 

Backdraft (1991) was a so-so movie, but Hans Zimmer's score is the best part. Like Wing Commander, it sounds like it should accompany a superhero movie. But aren't firefighters the closest thing we have to superheroes?

 

 

Bonus: A Beautiful Mind. (2001) Okay, this was a good movie, and I think James Horner was a big part of its success. His score is memorizing, and this is only a small sample:

 

 

 

 

 

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This is an interesting observation. While I'm only guessing here, I think I can see why this pairing you've pointed out might happen regularly.

 

Making a good movie is hard. There are so many things that have to happen on top of a good story. Casting, acting, cinematography, editing, and these are just the really obvious ones. It's a vast, vast team effort, and if enough people don't perform really well, lots and lots of good work will go unnoticed, and the movie is forgotten.

 

While I'd guess that making a good score is also hard, they are largely independent from the story, and a producer may have a vast number of choices to initially select from, all competing to be the one. While there will also be a team involved in producing the score, it will be a much smaller team, and even after a basic score is selected, it can be done over and over again in minor variations, independent of the rest of the movie. 

 

By the time the real editing is done, and the final version of the score is inserted, it will have been polished to a level of detail that probably couldn't have been done to the entire movie.

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I enjoy both the soundtrack and the acting in movies such as Chariots of Fire and Glory:

 

 

 

When I first watched Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, i burst out laughing at the modern-sounding jingles, as these seemed to clash with Western-style action   But after a bit, I was hooked:

 

 

Edited by Ragamuffin_John
complete my thoughts
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The Backdraft soundtrack was beautiful! Thanks for sharing that, @Accord64.

 

For me, the one movie where the soundtrack was say better than the story was Lone Ranger. Especially the part where John gallops over the rooftops with an excerpt of the WIlliam Tell overture: 

Best part of the entire movie, in my opinion. And its because of the soundtrack.

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The soundtracks for the Transformers films (especially the 1st) are outstanding in my opinion. The movies, however... 😬

 

 

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On 9/7/2019 at 9:16 AM, Ragamuffin_John said:

I enjoy both the soundtrack and the acting in movies such as Chariots of Fire and Glory:

 

Oh, yes! Glory in particular was another gem by James Horner. "Charging Fort Wagner" is by itself an intense choral masterpiece:

 

 

 

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Well, when you can make a franchise blockbuster movie series out of an animatronic amusement park ride, then having a score that brings my cycling cadence up to 100 beats per minute is like putting a fresh head on my root beer!

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