Author Archives: Tomtrek

Blah blah blah film music blah blah

Ffffffffff… FFFFFFFFFffff…. Arg. Bleg. Dust.

I’m blowing the dust of this blog because holy crap I actually have something I want to say? Amazing.

So look what just came out – the Oscar nominations. And skipping the big ones like “Best Nice Man” (Colin Firth  should get that one) and “Best Nice Lady” (Natalie, obviously) I go right to the really important category: Best original score.

So here’s what we got –

Music (Original Score)
• “How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
• “Inception” Hans Zimmer
• “The King’s Speech” Alexandre Desplat
• “127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
• “The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Before I discuss what did get nominated, I’ll go over two scores that didn’t. TRON: Legacy and Black Swan. Now Black Swan was not allowed to be nominated as it contains too much of Swan Lake to be considered a fully original score. Now I haven’t seen Black Swan yet so I can’t comment on if they skipped over the best score ever, but I can say that I’m a little miffed about it because I love Clint Mansell and if “The Last Man” from The Fountain soundtrack were a blanket I would cuddle it forever.
But then there’s TRON. A lot of people thought it would be a shoe-in for a nomination. The fantastic duo of Daft Punk writing music for a film? Amazing, fantastic, how unheard of, it must be nominated. But it wasn’t. And it shouldn’t have been.

This is not because it was a bad score. It wasn’t. It really wasn’t. The music Daft Punk wrote is excellent and I think some of their best work. But the problem is how it works with the film as an actual score. And that is to say, it doesn’t work as well as it should. Despite the high quality of the music, you do however get the feeling that instead of being written specifically for the scenes, the cues are just original Daft Punk songs that happen to fit the mood of the scene. And that doesn’t equal a proper score. But this is Daft Punk’s first real move into proper film scoring, so it’s only fair that they don’t get it exactly 100% right first time. As I said, the music is excellent and is amazing to listen to outside of the film. It just didn’t work as well inside of the film as I would have liked, which is probably why it is not in the list on nominations.

But onto the ones that did get nominated.

“How to Train your Dragon” and “127 Hours” I can’t comment on as I did not see the films and so did not hear the music in the film!

But that brings us on to Inception. I have this thing with Hans Zimmer. It’s just… he’s… he did Gladiator. And it was bad. It was synth-orchestra-Holst-stealing-boring-themes bad. But everyone loved it. I didn’t understand that. He gradually got better with the third Pirates of the Caribbean film, and pairing him with James Newton-Howard for the Batman films was a stroke of genius as it allowed Zimmer to do his “WHAM BAM BOOM LOUD NOISES” action cues while Newton-Howard did the more emotional cues. And it worked.

And then there’s Inception. The annoying thing about the Inception score is how good it is. Like, it’s actually very good. And it works really well in the film. And it’s not bad outside it. It’s the best thing Zimmer has done by far, but it’s still nowhere near the heights of Goldsmith or Williams or even Horner. And while it’s still WHAAAMMMMMMMMMMing Zimmer at times, he at least has found a way to make the WHAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMs interesting.

The King’s Speech. Interesting choice. Alexandre Desplat sort of came out of nowhere (to me, at least). His name pops up on The Golden Compass and suddenly he’s scoring Twilight (everyone needs a paycheque sometimes) and Harry Potter (that’s better). And then there’s The King’s Speech, which has seemingly been nominated for, well, everything. The music itself is a very good composition, with some great subtle writing, that works well as a background to the action on the screen. It never leaps out at you at any point to say “HEY HEY LOOK IT’S THE MUSIC I’M HERE TOO!!”, which is perfect for the film. I wasn’t excepting it to be here, but I can’t say I’m upset with it there.
But then, The Social Network. See, the problems with TRON: Legacy and it’s reasons for not being on this list are made even more apparent with this score, where it does walk the line very well between working as a synthy-technoy-Trent Reznor piece, and very well as an actual film score. Trent Reznor has basically got his style down to an art form now, and seeming has no problems adapting it into score for a film. It makes for an excellent addition to the film, never taking attention away in places it shouldn’t, and also works amazingly well on its own.

The Social Network should win.

But it is a shame we won’t get to see Daft Punk turn up in their robot heads.

Integrantes de Daft Punk, banda francesa de mú...

Image via Wikipedia

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December. Just “December”. That’s the whole title. This other bit isn’t the title. Ignore it.

A lot has happened in the last week. Leslie Nielsen died. Irvin Kershner died. I started watching the Star Wars: Droids cartoon (because Max Rebo is in it and I love Max Rebo). A super-awesome expanded Star Trek V Score was released. November 2010 faded into nothingness.

I wish I were Max Rebo.

So it’s now December, and that’s when we can all drop the pretences and say “Yeah, okay, fine, I guess it’s Christmas time now.”. Because it is. I mean there’s literally snow outside on the ground RIGHT NOW and if that’s not Christmassy I don’t know what is.

And December is cool. It’s a cool month. There’s great films coming out and Christmas specials and the gloom of November turns into the bizarre cheerfulness of Christmassy December (even for those who don’t even celebrate Christmas).

I’m not sure what my point is here except “Yay December”, BUT MAYBE THAT’S ENOUGH. DON’T JUDGE ME.

Of course the only problem with December is that right after it is the New Year, which is a time when we can look at how fat we all got and make promises of things we’ll do the next year that really wont happen. But hey, Christmas, hey!

As an additional, somehow Sarah Silverman is 40 today and still looks about 25, so that’s great!

So when is it exactly I’m supposed to grow up?

I am 24 years old. Twenty-four years old. I have, just today, not only expanded my collection of model Daleks to 18, but also just finished starting to play a new video game starring Mickey Mouse. I am 24 years old.

Is this bad? I mean, really, is it? Because it doesn’t feel bad. I’m in full time work (for now), I have a graduate degree, but yet I still don’t feel grown up, and I still end up spending money on things that, really, I should have grown out of by now. But I’m not, and I don’t think it’s just me. The market for so-called adults buying so-called children’s things seems to keep growing and growing, and my idea of what someone in their mid-twenties should be is not really happening. And I like it.

I’m fine with doing these things and buying these things, because I enjoy them. Because they make me happy. I’m sure buying a fantastical new car or an amazing set of frying pans that look like they were made in 12th Century China is what I’m supposed to be focusing my attention on right now, but really they’re just boring.

Am I wrong about this, though? Is this okay? IS IT JUST ME?


(the Daleks look cool, though)

I’d tell you the ending to this post but it was cancelled, sorry.

William Hartnell as the First Doctor

Image via Wikipedia

Today is a special day. Today marks the 47th Anniversary of Doctor Who. 47 years ago today William Hartnell abducted two schoolteachers in a time machine with his granddaughter to have a so-so adventure with cavemen before The Daleks aired and everything started to kick off (to be fair, the first episode of An Unearthly Child, i.e. the first episode ever, is a really good piece of science fiction that everyone should see. But just skip to The Daleks, really. The cavemen not so much. Apart from that one bit where The Doctor is about to smash this guys head in with a rock and Ian is like “What THE HELL, Doctor?”. That was awesome.).

 

 

Now 47 years is a long time. It’s older than me, probably you and Michelle Trachtenberg. It’s almost half a century long. Now this anniversary is made especially amazing due to the fact that it’s a mircle these days that most TV shows make it to one year, let alone 47.

I am referring to the recently cancelled Caprica. Caprica, a noirish cyber-punky family drama with hints of Blade Runner (that also happened to be a prequel to the amazing Battlestar Galactica), died before it had a chance to live, and is now being kicked and spat on as it lies on the ground, as SyFy (I hate that name) has decided to blow it’s load and air the remaining episodes one after another so they can replace it with Wrestlers Do The Funniest Things or something.

 

You see it was cancelled mid-season with five episodes left to air. Which they don’t want to air until January for literally no reason. Of course their plans are foiled by Canada who are airing these episodes right now which means that pretty much everyone will have seen them when SyFy throws them out in January. And the real sting in the tail? The remaining episodes have been really good. But according to SyFy the show hasn’t developed the viewership it wanted so they axed it before the good episodes aired (you know, the good episodes being the one that builds the viewership). Of course that also isn’t helped by the giant gaps SyFy would leave between episodes.

 

They release the pilot, it’s good! When’s the show start, SyFy? Not until next year? Oh forget it then!

 

The show starts, hey it’s still pretty good! Oh they’ve stopped it mid season. When does it start again? Several months? Oh, forget it then!

It’s like trying to read a book but when you’ve finished the first few chapters and really are getting into it someone runs up to you and says “AH HA NOW YOU CAN HAVE THIS BACK IN SIX MONTHS!” and you say “Why can’t I read it right now?” and they say “WE JUST DON’T KNOW! Try and remember literally everything that happened in the book in six months, though!”.

 

But of course this seems to be the trend nowdays. If a show isn’t a massive super-wow hit in the first five episodes, it’s gone. It’s dead. The obvious and most famous example is Firefly, which caused such a fan outcry that it made Fox keep Dollhouse on for a whole other season just so they could delay the fan backlash for another year (although I would’ve preferred another year of Firefly than another year of Dollhouse, thanks). But the trouble is, in most cases, a first season isn’t that great. The show needs time to work out exactly what it is, the actors and writers need to figure out the best way to write and portray the characters, and that takes time. Most of the great shows I watched around ten years ago had these bad starter seasons. Remember the first two seasons of Star Trek TNG? A couple of good episodes, mostly a bit bland and boring, but then it hit it’s stride with season 3. Nowadays it would be gone by Where No One Has Gone Before. Same with the so-so first seasons of Deep Space Nine before Ronald D. Moore came in and said “Hey here’s an idea: Make it awesome.” And of course if Buffy’s first season had been made today we never would have seen the amazing season 2 and the amazing show that followed it (and the amazing Michelle Trachtenberg).

 

This is all made the worse now that every show has to be a damn arc show. Thanks to Lost being successful every show needs an arc across the season or series where it turns out that the big CGI thing in the first episode was actually caused by renegade dolphins or something. And while in general this arc trend is good, encouraging character development and such, it does mean that you get a lot of shows that start to build to up things and then get cancelled before they can tell us the ending. If you want arcs, let the shows have the time to tell the story, please. It’s really frustrating.

 

 

So, in summary, happy birthday Doctor Who!

 

 

Oh and don’t even get me started on that Buffy reboot…