Monday, September 5, 2011

The Importance of Movie Music

How can you describe the importance of the music in a film?  Its something that I have been thinking about today, and I wanted to tell you why.

Last night, I rewatched 1986'a Highlander with Christopher Lambert.  For all the young people out there who may not have seen it (granted I was one when it came out) Its about Immortals who live amongst us in secret who are fighting each other to become the last one and receive "The Prize."  If the winner of the prize is good, they will help lead mankind into a new era, but if the immortal is evil, the world will be plunge the world into darkness for all eternity.  (Side Note, The immortals dont age and live forever, the only way they can die is by having their head cut off)

Well the music for Highlander was written and performed by Queen (the main theme song is called "Princes Of The Universe.  Totally badass song, check it out)  The music they wrote for the film is great, and helped move along the film. 

If you look back at some of the greatest films ever made.  They all just have really amazing music to complement the film.  Movies like Jaws that can set the ominous tone of the entire movie, Indiana Jones series which just screams that the movie is going to be a great adventure, and Star Wars which can only be described as epic. Even my personal favorite, 1978's Superman, which gives me goosebumps everytime I hear it (It should be noted that John Williams is music God), you can litteraly hear the name Superman in the song.

Even the best movies that have come out in the past decade have had fantastice soundtracks that enhanced the movie.  Movies like Inception, The Batman Series (Christopher Nolan Version), The Harry Potter series, Tron: Legacy, Lord Of the Rings Trilogy, Black Swan. 

The music doesnt even have to be orchestral music.  Some films do great with songs done by popular musicians.  A perfect example of that is the scene in Reservoir Dogs when "Stuck In The Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel (If you haven't seen this film, shame on you) or Rocky III when they play "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor (to be honest though, the orchestral in Rocky is just as important) just sets the tone and lets the audience know that there is no stopping Rocky.

On the flip side, putting the bad music in a movie can really take away from a film's viewing experience.  I can think of a lot of movies (specifically from the 80's and 90's...I'm you Vanilla Ice) that are good and/or decent and their soundtrack does nothing to enhance the movie and even makes the movie worse.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Two (I know its a guilty pleasure, but ninja rap is just bad) is a good example of a movie with bad music in it, and the Joel Schumacher Batman films were actually made worse by the music in the films.

My point is that the music of a movie is an important part of the film that can be easily overlooked.  Many movie goer's overlook just how important the soundtrack/score is to helping enrich a film.  They can even make a movie, dare i say it, Legen... wait...wait... dary.  Legendary (Thank you Barny Stinson)

and just so you know the song that started this whole entry. Enjoy

Here are a list of some of my favorite film scores/soundtracks

Indiana Jones
Batman/Batman Returns/Batman Begins/The Dark Knight
Star Wars
Tron: Legacy
The X-Men Series
The Spider-Man Series
The Sting
The Departed
Gangs Of New York
Out Cold (the soundtrack was great and fit perfectly)
The Matrix
Almost Famous
Dazed And Confused
Spinal Tap
The list goes on, There are alot of great soundtracks/scores out there

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