If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day Twenty Eight: Favourite Movie Soundtrack?
I’ll concede when I discussed favourite game soundtrack I was perhaps a little overtly critical in my answer, though I still contend as with the original post music for the most part plays a secondary function in games to the interactive experience around you. As such, it can often be reduced to background noise and taken out of context of the experience isn’t that memorable or special. We all can pick numerous critical moments in gaming, crossing into Mexico in Red Dead Redemption, the opening moments in Ocarina of Time, the facility music in Goldeneye to name but a few. But taken in its entirety, most game soundtracks have at best a memorable track, the greats a few but in their entirety? I would argue they miss the bar frequently. In contrast movie soundtracks and scores can set the tone and emotive stance of the film in question. As to their availability, some of my favourites have unfortunately been reduced or severely curtailed over the years to the point tracking down the full score is almost impossible through legal channels. Anything really before the turn of the millenium tend to be highlights of scores though of course there are always exceptions. To name but a few that I enjoy, Clear and Present Danger, Air Force One, Ghostbusters and Commando, all with either severely reduced scores or albums available for purchase.
Clear and Present Danger is one of my favourite films of all time, it has a great score by James Horner, a more bombastic and patriotic soundtrack in contrast to the more isolated and rustic approach with Patriot Games. That said, its official soundtrack release comes in at just shy of 50 minutes. With a duration of two hours it’s frustrating so much of the music was cut from release with only the select highlights. And this practise was repeated throughout this period, only on certain releases a limited run full score being made available which quickly sold out. One of my favourite soundtracks is the score to Under Siege 2, the questionable unneeded sequel to the first film, inferior in many ways but containing a memorable and in my opinion awesome soundtrack by Basil Poledouris. Unfortunately today through legal channels only the reduced ‘highlights’ package is available for purchase. I can imagine the extended full soundtrack would be great to own with multiple variations of certain tunes, other tracks cut and omitted from the soundtrack. I would ‘imagine’ that could be my favourite soundtrack but on the basis its impossible to buy or find, I do feel I have to disqualify that from consideration. If I ‘can’t have it’ it’s not fair for me to wax lyrically about something others cannot have. So instead, I’m going to talk about something a little different that is available for all, the extended version of The Fellowship of the Rings soundtrack
I will admit when the soundtracks were first released I rushed out to buy the standard retail release, I wanted to relive the musical score in my head, they are a legitimately great soundtrack in their own rights but sadly, curtailed of what was available. Then, in a similar fashion to the release of the extended movie cuts they begun to release the extended full scores to the movies including tracks and moments featured in the long form of the movies. For me, Fellowship was always my personal favourite and as such when the opportunity arose to own the full extended score, it was an absolute necessity. Here’s my subjective take, a great many shortened scores, lets take Clear and Present Danger as the obvious example use specific and memorable tracks on their soundtracks, the ambush of the convoy, the opening theme, the rescue sequence. All great isolated tracks but due to the fragmented nature of the tracks and relatively short run time so much is missing if you are a fan it can feel disjointed. Here, nearly every track due to the length of the run time flows into each other, capturing almost flawlessly the narrative tone and structure of the film. You can easily listen to this soundtrack in its entirety and go through as much of an emotional journey as sitting down to watch it. That, for me, is a sign of a great soundtrack.
Perhaps the main issue of contention is a sense nearly everything has been included and as such the argument could be made if you are going to listen to the album in its entirety why not just watch the film. It’s a weak argument, and quite honestly the best I can derive because its a really strong, memorable soundtrack, one of my personal favourites and who doesn’t like the choice to own this in this format. It is an expensive indulgence, equally the standard retail version is still readily available for a great price and includes many of the highlights, but for the simple fact this album is legal to buy makes it my commercially viable personal favourite soundtrack. Equal mention to the extended soundtracks for The Two Towers and Return of the King. As well as being a fantastic soundtrack in its own right. Amon Hen is such a memorable track of many highs and lows it can be listened to in isolation with your eyes closed following the beats of the drama. Sound the Horn of Gondor and make it a priority to listen today.
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