October is apparently the month for award winners so far. All Is Lost by Alexander Ebert just won Golden Globe for Best Score and I can’t think of any reason why. Actually I can. It’s just further proof that they’re clueless and only goes for movies that they enjoy the most. They probably never heard the actual score. I did, and it was the worst of the nominees this year. Well enough of that and onto better things like Curse Of Chucky by Joseph LoDuca which definitely makes October a better month overall. It is the Halloween month so horror scores are to be expected, but I never expect great scores but if it happens like it did, then thumbs up from me! Christopher Drake did a Zimmer and delivered a powerful score, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns which is rather excellent. Romeo & Juliet by Abel Korzeniowski had to be good and it was. I wasn’t over the moon with it, but it had some amazing music on it. I also enjoyed Captain Phillips by Henry Jackman more than I thought I would. He effectively did a John Powell for some of the action sequences and it worked well. More October-ish horror with Carrie by Marco Beltrami which I thought nailed it. This is the best score of the year for Beltrami who had like 6 or 7 out in 2013. A bombshell of a surprise of a score was Dead In Tombstone by Hybrid. I was shocked. Still am. Steve Jablonsky did his duties and gave us a pretty good score for Ender’s Game, but this was supposed to be James Horner’s month… honestly. It’s been a hit and miss year for documentary scores, but Eric Neveux’s Il Etait Une Foret (Once Upon A Forest) I thought was rather brilliant. A score no one has heard of, but definitely should listen to is Free Birds by Dominic Lewis. Wonderfully dramatic and powerful. Brian Tyler did not disappoint with Thor: The Dark World, rather the opposite. He actually managed to wow me. I thought that he had topped it with Iron Man 3, but this one eclipsed it all. The best Marvel score of all time? Probably. Marvel needed this after being beaten by DC again and again. Horror fans got one more positive surprise with Lost Place by Adrian Siebner. Finally a very positive surprise by the end with The Butterfly’s Dream by Rahman Altin. Wonderful score. Trailer fans got Dawning Promises by ICON and it was pretty damn great. There were quite a lot of really good TV and video game scores this month. Doctor Who: The Snowmen / The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe by Murray Gold delivered yet again. Does he ever fail us? Grimm Season 1 & 2 was much better than I thought and Richard Marvis has redeemed himself after the disappointing In Treatment. An unexpected surprise was The Patriot Yue Fei by Nathan Wang, a wonderful epic and strong television score that I will enjoy for a very long time. We also had extreme weirdness with Utopia by Crtistobal Tapia De Veer. Definitely getting the weirdness award of 2013. There were a few game scores this month, two of which were excellent. First up was Beyond: Two Souls by Lorne Balfe who finally delivered with some amazing themes. Then there were Batman: Arkham Origins by Christopher Drake who once again rocked it with a Batman score.
Of course, disappointing was the Golden Globe winner for best score All Is Lost by Alexander Ebert, but that was just the start. Generation Iron by Jeff Rona disappointed me after getting my hopes up for reading a couple of reviews. Michael Giacchino’s Toy Story Of Terror! wasn’t really good and I don’t know how that happened. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was The Epic Of Everest by Simon Fisher Turner which is already on a lot of people’s Best Of lists. I tried to like this, I really did, but it is absolutely terrible. Easily amongs the worst scores of 2013. La Mula by Oscar Navarro was also very disappointing because again, my hopes were high after checking out what a few reviewers said about it. It didn’t live up to the hype. Quai d’Orsay by Philippe Sarde was a disaster. The Last Days on Mars by Max Richter was unusually bad and Alexandre Desplat disappointed yet again with Philomena.
There weren’t as many positive surprises as negative ones, but there were perhaps more than a normal month. I was very positively surprised by both Christopher Drake Batman scores. I did not expect the way those scores turned out. I was positively surprised by Carrie from Marco Beltrami. He has had so many opportunities in 2013, but he finally got it right. Dead In Tombstone by Hybrid was a total shocker for me. I was expecting mediocrity at best, not because Hybrid is bad, quite the opposite, but a western? Well I don’t know how it works in the film, but the electronic score was fantastic. Grimm Season 1 & 2 by Richard Marvin was a very welcome surprise and I didn’t expect so many great cues. The Patriot Yue Fei by Nathan Wang was really great and I was underestimating Nathan Wang. Well I won’t next time, so be warned. Free Birds from Dominic Lewis came out of nowhere and impressed the hell out of me. Finally Lost Place by Adrian Siebner was unexpectedly great.
Cue Of The Month: Thor, Son Of Odin (Thor: The Dark World
Number Of Soundtracks Listened To: 40
October Soundtrack Reviews:
Curse Of Chucky by Joseph LoDuca
Runner Runner by Christophe Beck
Utopia by Cristobal Tapia De Veer
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns [Deluxe Edition] by Christopher Drake
Dawning Promises by ICON
Erased by Jeff Danna
Romeo & Juliet by Abel Korzeniowski
Beyond: Two Souls by Lorne Balfe
Captain Philips by Henry Jackman
Dead In Tombstone by Hybrid
Fifth Estate, The by Carter Burwell
Batman: Arkham Origins by Christopher Drake
Fruitvale Station by Ludwig Goransson
Thor: The Dark World by Brian Tyler
As we’re getting close to 2014, the score releases seems to be less, but it’s not about the quantity, and all about the quality. However there wasn’t enough quality releases in November for my liking. You And The Night by M83 was a very good experience for me, even though it was so short. It was completely different from Oblivion, but it had some wonderful themes. I also enjoyed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but it wasn’t great either. It was however, a lot better than the previous Hunger Games score. From Kronos Records came The Little Wizard by Marc Timon Barcelo & Miguel Cordeiro which was a very unexpected and pleasant surprise. Froze by Christophe Beck was good, but it never reached its potential. I also enjoyed Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom by Alex Heffes, but it didn’t live up to the hype. Trailer fans got another great Audiomachine album called Existence, which was bloody great. Only a couple of TV scores worth mentioning and those were JFK by Joel Goodman and Arrested Development by David Schwartz. Neither were great, but they had their moments. Video game scores became this months big winner. First up was Call Of Duty: Ghosts by David Buckley who packed more than a few punches. It was really great, a modern action score that didn’t hold back, possibly the best in all the Call Of Duty series of scores. World Of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria Vol. 2 contained more of the great music from the WoW expansion. The best video game score came from Oscar Araujo with the amazing Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow – Mirror Of Fate who would have beat Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow (Ultimate Edition) from earlier in 2013 if it hadn’t been for the length.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of 2013 was The Book Thief by John Williams. When you go almost a year waiting for that score that you expect to be great and it is not great in any way or form, it almost makes you want to cry. Don’t know what happened there, but it’s a bitter disappointment.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a positive surprise for me. I was dreading that score after being disappointed by the first Hunger Games score. Luckily this was a lot better. The Little Wizard by Marc Timon Barcelo & Miguel Cordeiro came out of the blue and impressed me. Well done.
Cue Of The Month: Holograms (You And The Night)
Number Of Soundtracks Listened To: 16
November Soundtrack Reviews:
Call Of Duty: Ghosts by David Buckley
Book Thief, The by John Williams
Hunger Games, The: Catching Fire by James Newton Howard
Frozen (Deluxe Edition) by Christophe Beck
Exploding Sun, The by James Gelfand
Christmas is upon us, but no Christmas album release as far as I know, but there were a few talking points in December. We can start with the biggest release of the year, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug by Howard Shore. I was expecting it to be great like last year’s score, but to be honest, the score from 2012 failed to impress me, specially when compared to the Lord Of The Rings scores. This year, Shore absolutely killed it in every department. It’s pretty much the perfect score and holds up when compared to any of the LOTR scores. Release of the year for me. From Thomas Newman we got Saving Mr. Banks and what fun it was. It was old Thomas Newman and new Thomas Newman fused together in a score that entertained all the way. I also need to mention Big Bad Wolves by Frank Ilfman that thingled the horror bone quite a bit while The Thirteenth Tale by Benjamin Wallfisch was another really good score. Finally there was 47 Ronin by Ilan Eshkeri and that score really was amazing, I loved pretty much all of it, from the Chinese influences to the all-absorbing action and it features some amazing cues and themes. Legends Of Chima by Anthony Lledo was a fantastic television score with big, bold, beautiful and epic themes. El Tiempo Entre Costuras by Cesar Benito wasn’t quite as good as Legends Of Chima, but it held it’s own quite well. We got another Brian Tyler video game score in the Assassin’s Creed series called Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. It was pirate-y and fun for the most part, although I wish it had a bit more pirate feel to it.
Not really any negative surprises this month.
I’m very glad that Thomas Newman didn’t disappoint with Saving Mr. Banks. I was also very positively surprised by 47 Ronin by Ilan Eshkeri and also Big Bad Wolves by Frank Ilfman.
Cue Of The Month: Lone Survivor (Lone Survivor)
Number Of Soundtracks Listened To: 19
December Soundtrack Reviews:
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag by Brian Tyler
Hobbit, The: The Desolation Of Smaug (Special Edition) by Howard Shore
Saving Mr. Banks (Deluxe Edition) by Thomas Newman
Big Bad Wolves by Frank Ilfman
Well that’s it. The whole year covered, but there’s more! Oh yes, in the next part which will probably be the final part it’s all about lists. I love making them and I hope you enjoy reading them.