Audio Hopes and Aural Dreams

For those of you who happen to read my little musings here on this blog, you’ll have to forgive me — but I’m about to post something Power Rangers related. 🙂

Icon-mmpr

Well, not related so much as my hope for what one aspect of the reboot movie slated for early 2017 will include.

As some of you know who read this blog or who have been around me long enough to know I’m a cinematic music junkie. I love the orchestrated portion of a film more often than not the film itself. It’s the first thing I notice about a film and the one thing that sticks with me long after the film has left the theater and is relegated to the $5 dollar bin at your local store.

For me, the soundtrack and score can make or break a film – it either works or it doesn’t and what I find is truly interesting is that some times the music is the best part of a film or film franchise – Transformers and Battleship, I’m looking at you.

Steve Jablonsky did amazing work on these – don’t let the haters and critics of these films steer you away from his work.

My hope for the Power Rangers reboot is that they will take a page from the Marvel film making bible – and find a composer who gets what the film is about, understands that it needs to capture some of Ron Wasserman‘s energy and verve but also brings into the modern view of what superhero films can be these days. I hope that they find a composer that can fashion a score that lifts the film out of what could be a run-of-the-mill action-adventure-superhero film and elevates it to true block-buster status.

MMPR- The Movie 1995

MMPR- The Movie 1995

Maybe I’m partial to some aspects of what make a good soundtrack/score and what doesn’t – or maybe I’m just a geek who gets inspired by my perception of what I think a good score sounds like. I mean, I’m not so obsessed with them that I analyze every nuance and note of a score or am so obnoxious about it that I consider one composer better than any other… I’m just a guy who hears this type of music and finding inspiration and joy in it. Period.

That being said – if I’m sitting in a theater and the movie is playing and the music I’m hearing is too jarring or something that seems derivative – it lessens the experience for me.

Don’t get me started on John Barry – the man has crafted some excellent music – but I challenge you to put his score for Enigma on and then his score for High Road to China or Out of Africa and tell me they aren’t almost interchangeable. At the very least they are so stamped with his signature style that they blend easily one onto the other… and his score to The Black Hole is so distinctive and maddeningly repetitive as to make you go buggy listening to it.

Enigma

The Scores of John Barry

By the way, I own all of these scores by Mr. Barry and love them – even if they do sound amazingly similar in parts.

What I’m hoping from Lionsgate is that they pay as much attention to the scoring of the film as they do the casting and producing of it – if they can find the right composer, they will do the film justice – and make us cinematic score listeners very happy.

For my money I hope they can wrangle the talents of either Henry Jackman or Christophe Beck.

Henry Jackman has scored a number of big action-adventure/superhero films – Kick-Ass, Kingsmen: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Big Hero 6.

Christophe Beck has also score action-adventure/superhero themed projects: RED, Edge of Tomorrow, Elektra, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and most recently Marvel’s Ant-Man.

Both of these guys have the talent and the understanding of what a superhero movie needs in ordered to be scored so the action and story are highlighted and made thrilling for the audience.

Again – this is just my opinion – yours may vary and will be completely valid. And regardless of what you think of the films these gentlemen have worked on – I’m asking you to simply listen to the music and judge it by that context alone.

For example, most comic book fans feel Elektra was a sub-standard superhero movie. And it may very well be, but if you shut the images off and listen to the score… it captures the tone and feel (in my mind anyhow) of what a supernaturally trained superhero assassin needs. The driving percussion and Oriental influences give it a mystical and darkly urgent feel. It fits. It is one of those cases where the music surpasses the visuals in a very real sense.

You could take Beck’s score for Elektra and put it behind another film of the same type and it would work just as well.

On the other hand, Jackman’s score for Captain America: The Winter Soldier is so wonderfully matched to the visuals, its hard to think of the music fitting anywhere else.

Of course, there are other composers – other than Mr. Jackman and Mr. Beck – that are more than qualified to score the film: the aforementioned Steve Jablonsky has written some stunning action oriented scores. Ramin Djawadi‘s iconic Iron Man score is burned into every Marvel fan’s brain and he too could knock it out of the park. Nick Arundel‘s work on the Batman video game series also crafts some amazing soundscapes that would fit well with a modern Ranger movie.

And there are a number of others that could do excellent work

In the world of film scoring, it is kind of par for the course for the score to be one of the last things that gets done in the production process. It make sense for the composer to be able to see the semi-finished product so they can fit the music to what’s happening on screen. Unfortunately sometimes that can lead to it being rushed.

What I hope, is that Saban and Lionsgate secure the services of a composer that has the time to craft something worthy of bringing the Power Rangers to a new audience, while at the same time appealing to long-term fans of the franchise.

I also hope that the composer is able to work in Mr. Wasserman’s iconic theme – it just wouldn’t be Power Rangers with out it 🙂

Go Go Power Rangers!

Go Go Power Rangers!

 

 

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