The Geekstalkers are back!!

Welcome to another article from the Geekstalker Community. I feel obliged to issue a warning here….what follows is a whole bunch of AWESOMENESS! The Geekstalkers are an amazing group of geeks, nerds, podcasters and brilliant people who just like talking about anything and everything. A while ago we decided to share some of these conversations with the wider world.

You can check out our previous articles below.

Geekstalkers #1 – Favourite Film

Geekstalkers #2 – Favourite Comic

This month’s topic was our Best/Favourite Film Score, the only rule was the song/theme/music had to be original, written for a particular film, other than that…….There are no rules!!! Enjoy!

Ben from SuperNerds UK – @HailLeviation, @SuperNerdsUK

Music is a big thing to me, I grew up listening to a lot of varied things from an early age and played bass or guitar in various bands from my late teens to mid-twenties, even touring the country and playing Slam Dunk festival in 2009.
So favourite film score is a tough one, there’s hundreds that I love.
However, I immediately thought of Angelo Badalamenti’s The Beach. I know it’s not everyone’s favourite film,  but the music is sublime. Echoing his Twin Peaks work in a way, it’s ethereal and warm at the same time. It adds a level of emotional depth otherwise missing from the film.
The Beach
Waves of synth and electronic wash over you in the main theme, a huge sounding epic piece, which, when contrasted with the lush acoustic guitars of Starry Night, shows Badalamenti’s versatility.
Best of all, the main theme was remixed into a great dance track by Orbital!
All of Danny Boyle’s other films have great music, especially Sunshine which was also a close contender.
Listen to an example here: https://youtu.be/Op2G_FTy6TY

Markus – @TheMarckoguy

What makes a movie good? Is it the story? Is it the performances? Is it the directing? I’d argue that all of these things are important aspects of a movie. But one that often gets overlooked is the music, or more specifically, the score. For me, the score can actually affect the quality of a movie depending on how good or bad it is. I want the score to help set the mood of the movie and also help make certain scenes better than they already were. I watch a lot of movies, and I’ve heard a lot of scores. But none have stuck out (in a good way) as much as Ennio Morricone’s score for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Good Bad Ugly

The movie, as most people should know, is about three men (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef) searching for a treasure during the American civil war. So what we have is a big and epic western, and for that we would need score that reflects that. And Morricone provides! His score perfectly reflects the big adventure that the characters are on. Making big and bombastic themes for the big and badass set pieces. Tracks like The Ecstasy of Gold or Il Triello are perfect for making some of these fairly big moments incredibly memorable and epic. But Morricone also made some pretty incredible tracks for the smaller scenes.

A good example of this is the track Sentenza which is a very haunting tracks that sounds like it came straight out of a horror movie. Morricone also gave us my favorite movie theme tune of all time when he composed the score for this movie. And sure, a bunch of the tracks in the score sound like slightly remixed versions of the theme tune. But I don’t mind because they sound unique enough that it never gets annoying. Plus, I just adore that theme so god damn much!

So in conclusion: Ennio Morricone’s score for Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is absolutely fantastic!

Dan from Nerdifi – @Nerdifi_MCR

There are many wonderful film scores that will be forever emblazoned on my psyche. John Williams alone has etched the themes for Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Superman indelibly on the pop culture landscape. Speaking from a place of personal bias there’s no score I’ll ever love more than Danny Elfman’s iconic score for Tim Burton’s Batman… But if pressed to pick the best score I know it would have to be Hanz Zimmer’s score for Man of Steel. Zimmer’s score should go down in history as accomplishing the impossible; creating an iconic Superman score in the wake of John Williams’ 1978 masterpiece.
Man of Steel
Knowing full well that you can’t out John Williams John Williams, Zimmer smartly elected not to even try and took a very different approach. In stark contrast to Williams’ lyrical use of horns and strings, Zimmer uses a percussion heavy sound to convey the Man of Steel’s power and fortitude. Gone are the sweeping flourishes of the 1978 Superman score, in their place is a lyrical yet understated piano phrase that’s thematically linked to the ethos of the film.
Richard Donner’s Superman was the presentation of an American icon. Snyder’s film was a deconstruction of the icon and an exploration of the man beneath it. However bombastic the score (and the film) can get in the action scenes those haunting piano notes always ground us emotionally, particularly as the character becomes more introspective and morally uncertain in the follow up Batman V Superman. It’s also interesting to note that the tune was inverted to create Lex Luthor’s theme in BvS. Although Zimmer has purportedly turned his back on the business of Superhero film scores, I sincerely hope that his soulful yet understated leitmotif for the Man of Steel will last for as long as the DCEU.
Listen to an example here: https://youtu.be/pX3coWDnTrU

Seb Reeves – @TheRealMrSeb

As with the first question set for the regarding our favourite movie, I struggled to think of a favourite film score. For me the music that is written specifically for a movie can be the making or breaking of the entire experience. If penned well, the composer can have you humming their tunes for the entire week; after watching a film and make you smile as you recall the scenes that match the piece. I was not sure if I should pick and his enchanting electronic theme to my favourite film ‘Blade runner’, or to go with and his epic score for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. In the end I decided to go with one that is even more of an ear worm than these great pieces. My choice for favourite film score is ‘Once upon a time in the West’ by . Although he went on to create scores for a wide variety of movie genre, Morricone started with the Western where he regularly collaborated with master film maker . The two worked on greats such as ‘A fist full of dollars’, and ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’, but for me the ultimate power of the so called ‘Spaghetti Western’ is ‘Once upon a time in the west’, otherwise known as ‘C’era una volta il West’.
Once Upon A Time
The film has two themes running throughout, a conflict over land ownership and a mission of vengeance. The soundtrack features ‘leitmotifs’ relating to each of the main characters in the movie (each has their own theme music). There is a mixture of classical western sounds, with orchestral crescendos and wordless vocals. It is pretty much ‘Western Opera’. Apparently it was Leone’s desire to have the music available and played during filming. Leone had Morricone compose the score before shooting started and would play the music in the background whilst the actors were on set. My favourite piece has to be ‘Man with a Harmonica’ a piece that has been used many times since, in movies such as ‘The Burbs’ and televisions ‘Top Gear’.
The music centres around two of the main characters ‘Frank’ (Henry Fonda) and ‘Harmonica’ (Charles Bronson). It is from the revenge aspect of the movie. Frank had been responsible for the brutal murder of Harmonica’s older brother, as shown in a flash back during the scene he forces a young Harmonica to bear the weight of his brother on his shoulders, whilst his brothers neck is placed in a noose. Frank then places a mouth organ in to Harmonica’s mouth and tells him to play, in anger his brother kicks off from his shoulders to end the torture, killing himself and saving his brother further pain. The music is played for nearly four minutes as the scene plays out, then Harmonica draws first and shoots Frank. As he lies dying, Frank again asks who his opponent is, and Harmonica stuffs the harmonica into Frank’s mouth, like Frank did to him when he was a child. Frank suddenly remembers Harmonica as a boy and collapses to the ground. It is really emotive music that fists the scene perfectly.
Listen to an example here: https://youtu.be/6MZw_Iv0wdU

Sasha aka Chewbasha – @Bash2110

When I think about my favourite film scores, there can be only one for me. It will be of little surprise to many: Star Wars. If you’re going to make me choose just one, then it would be The Empire Strikes Back.

John Williams’ film scores are practically unrivalled – many honourable mentions can be made to his other film scores like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark (and all the Indiana Jones films), E.T., and Superman. His compositions are synonymous with these properties. They seamlessly blend into the films, both beautifully cinematic and whimsically expressive.

Empire Strikes Back

Considering Star Wars in particular, even people who haven’t seen any of the Star Wars franchise will recognise Darth Vader’s Imperial March or the opening Main Theme. For me, I find the music tells the story just as well as what you see on screen. I can close my eyes and know exactly what is happening, and not just because I am a huge Star Wars fan, who has seen the original trilogy more times than I care to count!

This is in part due to Williams’ use of the leitmotif, a recurring melody associated with a character, place, or emotion. The key characters each have their own theme which can be rearranged, or tempo changed, but always the same melody. It is also down to Williams’ use of emotive arrangements – a hark back to silent movies that relied on their music to express the emotion.

It’s epic. It’s beautiful. It’s iconic. The Star Wars score gets the nod of approval from this wookie.

Dave from Jack and the Geekstalk – @Crutchy, @JackGeekstalk

If I was to pick the best score from my favourite film then the answer would without any doubt be John Williams entire original Star Wars Trilogy. Every song perfectly fits its respective scene and gives weight to the galaxy spanning high stakes throughout the saga. I’ll also give an honourable mention to Duel of the Fates from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I know, there isn’t a lot to like about that film but the contrast between a 3-way lightsaber duel and the high rising choral tones being heard is astounding. Fast paced, intense and engaging, at the same time familiar and yet other-wordly. Williams is a genius. However, in my opinion the best score doesn’t come from my favourite film. I have chosen Brad Fiedel’s Terminator Theme from, you guest it, 1984’s Terminator or more specifically the Terminator 2 :Judgement Day, Re-mixed version.
Terminator 2
The gospel that is Wikipedia says that Fiedel described the theme as ‘a mechanical man and his heartbeat’, this is literally a perfect description. It combines long synthesized tones with the raw, mechanical sound of something almost like a iron mongers workshop. It is both ancient and futuristic, gentle yet harsh. If you close your eyes you can be taken along by the meandering melody only to be shocked out of the flow by the harsh and building drum beats, signally impending doom.
Whenever I listen to the theme I feel sadness, it is the end of things. It honestly feels like something is coming for you, never stopping, inevitable, whether that be a ‘mechanical man’ or the end of the world, what can you do but accept it? But even as despair crashes over you, hope starts to rise, as the crescendo builds, the feeling of defiance surges forward and you feel empowered. I think this is a perfect representation of the battle humanity faces in the Terminator franchise, the world has effectively ended, they face an unstoppable foe but humanity will not die, it will not be extinguished. The theme is perfect for the story, oh and the first two films are pretty darn good too!
Listen to the main theme here: https://youtu.be/XcNXq5DUZnk

Lou from Jack and the Geekstalk – @Lola_Flump, @JackGeekstalk

I guess I can’t just say ‘John Williams’ although I feel at this point he is just one long film score – his life and the progression of film clearly documented through his work. Even when the films are sub-par, his music is always worthy of admiration and capable of sending a rush of feelings through you. Harry Potter is my favourite book series by far (which is fairly well documented on the blog) and the musical score he composed for the film adaptations, to me, is an exact interpretation of how I feel when I read those books.
Harry Potter
To illustrate this, here is my notes whilst listening to this piece;
Light. Something new and intriguing is happening, something bigger than me. The magic is beginning. This is a lullaby, I’m being welcomed home. A flurry of excitement, we’re heading for something important and grand with an anticipation of the adventures that lay in wait. The castle comes into view, a hitch of breath, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Hustle and bustle permeates. The grand hall and its feasts calls to me, warms me – I can smell the pumpkin pasties and treacle tart, I can hear the chatter of students. What awaits us? This is home, but there are mysteries to be uncovered, discoveries to be made. I want to explore. Amongst all these new surroundings, how to know what is normal? Something is coming this way. There’s a need to act, an urge to discover. Then the realisation. Danger approaches, with it comes exhilaration too – we’re flying and as we come back to ground the real threat has arrived. It is time to stand our ground. Time to make myself count- we’re rushing in headfirst. Now the challenge is relentless, the threat keeps coming and is underhanded until the end. The danger doesn’t stop and nor can I.
Listening to that piece of music, I relieve the feeling of every word and every chapter. The piece perfectly reflects the balance of each book and film, as well as the series as a whole. It takes me to Hogwarts, to Olivanders, to the Forbidden Forest, into quidditch, into feasts where I eat until I can’t move, into duels to the death and through every ounce of pain and joy. What more can I say?!
Listen to the theme here: https://youtu.be/Htaj3o3JD8I

Claudia of GeekyNerd – @1GeekyNerd

Choosing a best music score and/or soundtrack can be a bit of a tricky affair. Sometimes they seem amazing while watching the movie but when you listen to them at home or at the music store they simply don’t grab you anymore. One could say that doesn’t matter, since the purpose of the music is to enhance the movie experience. In that regard, I suppose music that goes amazingly well during the action has achieved its purpose beautifully even if they don’t hold well on their own. And that’s ok.
I, however, think that for a music score to be truly a winner, it must have that quality which makes you want to keep listening to it through the years.
Such is the case for the scores of Mary Poppins and The Fiddler On The Roof.  They both have a special place in my life. Not only I have both soundtracks, which I regularly play, but I also randomly burst into singing their songs out loud, both in Spanish and English. Because every life deserves a soundtrack, right? Right! I still don’t understand why mine doesn’t have one. Why are people not breaking into song and dance with every step I take is something that still baffles me to this day.
That said, when I learned the subject of this month’s community post, I didn’t have to think hard for my choice. Perhaps because the movie was still fresh in my mind, as was the sense of awe at the music while watching it. But I am sure ten years for now, I will still want to listen to it. For me, it has already transcended time.
great-wall - soundtrack cover
The Great Wall’s score is every bit as beautiful as the movie is visually striking. Composed by Ramin Djawadi, of Iron Man, Game of Thrones & Westworld fame, it will take you through an amazing journey across a magical land. A land of fierce warriors, blood-curling monsters and breath-taking landscapes. A land outside time, where only courage and loyalty matter.
Interesting trivia bit. According to Kim Renfro, Djawadi “has the sensory condition known as synesthesia whereby he may “associate colors with music, or music with colors”, and it allows him to visualize music”.
I imagine this is why his score for The Great Wall is so accurately and intrinsically intertwined with the movie, which relies heavily in the use of colour, making Djawadi the perfect – and obvious- choice as the composer for it.
Needless to say I’m listening to his music as I write this piece. But I also listen to it regularly, especially when I need some uplifting. Or when I’m happy. Or when I feel contemplative. Or when I just need to get goosebumps for no reason at all.
So there you have it. I give this original music score two thumbs up. Because I only have two thumbs.
Listen to a sample here: https://youtu.be/8YQovRYFn-g

Ben from #nerdschatting – ben@nerdschatting, @nerdschatting

Anyone for Wildfire?

OK I wasn’t going to give a review for best score. It was too hard and I couldn’t pick one film score from another.

So I’m not, I’m going to cheat and do a TV score…!

I love Game of Thrones. I’ve read almost all of the books (they’re VERY long, give me a break) and I’ve been on board since I was convalescing from an operation for two weeks in the summer of 2011. A kind chap called Nathan let me borrow his copy of the first episode of season 1 and, well the rest is history.

I won’t go into the show much more, suffice to say that I believe a part of what makes it great is the incredible score by Ramin Djawadi. From the moment the titles come on, you’re immediately thrown into a feudal world of warring houses, politics, intrigue and a greater darker, colder threat, as yet unseen by most. It’s truly some of the best TV I’ve EVER seen.

Game of Thrones

Anyway, my favourite piece of musical score from the show, isn’t the main title, or the eerie chords we get whenever the others/white walkers stir in the far, frozen north, or the “something wicked this way comes” of the Lannisters Rains of Castamere, or some of the lighter music that shows the heart of the show like the scene when Jon and Sansa embrace at Castle Black after 6 long years apart.

Nope, none of that. That is all incredible musical scoring that lifts the show to heights that make your heart beat faster, skip a beat, or stop totally.

No, my favourite musical score from Game of Thrones is “Light of the Seven” – here’s a link so you can hear what I mean – https://youtu.be/pS-gbqbVd8c

This music played at the beginning of season 6’s final episode, The Winds of Winter. GoT has a habit of pouring everything the season has been building to in its 9th episode. Baelor of season 1, Blackwater from season 2, The Rains of Castamere for season 3 and so on. Season 6 was no exception as it gave us the Battle of the Bastards. What an episode that was!

Anyway, episode 10 opened with this stirring, almost operatic music that intercut characters getting ready and starting their day, other characters being sentenced to grim or to live seemingly mundane lives. Then it kicks up a gear, and you witness the characters each in their own way discover that something else is at play in all of this madness, all the time the music builds the tension to almost unbearable levels.

It’s almost too much of a crescendo of hauntingly beautiful tension; you almost want to rip your own skin off – and then you witness the event unravel, and everything seems to slow down whilst the utter carnage explodes across the screen. Then you notice that the music has stopped. No spoilers however those who have seen the episode will know what I’m talking about.

What you see and hear in this scene is pitched so perfectly together, it’s easy to understand how the show won another Emmy award for Outstanding Drama at the 2016 awards show.

Oh and, did I mention that that’s merely the opening 15 minutes of that episode…! There’s still 45 minutes of GoT goodness to wade through..

Thanks for reading. I know I cheated, however I feel that Game of Thrones has the same, if not better production values than most movies!

Sammi from Jack and the Geekstalk – @Sammo94jo, @JackGeekstalk

The theme from Jurassic Park has to be one of the best pieces of movie music ever created, unsurprisingly composed by the legend that is John Williams. The scene revealing the park to Dr Grant and Ellie is accompanied by a powerful score that makes you feel just how big of a moment it is for the characters.

Jurassic Park

The piece of music can only be described as nostalgic for me, the minute I hear those opening notes I am transported back to seeing those big wooden gates opening to a world unknown. I even found that the use of the music in an almost lullaby manner in the recent Jurassic World film has me thrown back to feeling every emotion I felt the very first time I experienced those man made monsters from a time before man.

Jason Kerrin @jasonsmovieblog

In the cinematic world of movies, the film’s score is instrumental and a powerful tool that adds layers towards the feature’s contexts. It can invoke a strong sense of emotion (i.e. laughter, joy, sadness, suspense, etc.) as well as carry scenes that are more visual without the need of a single line of spoken character dialogue. So, what’s my favorite…. that’s a hard decision to make. While I do have a lot of favorite film scores (yes, I do buy the soundtrack if the score is really good), I would have to say that one of my favorites is The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore.

the-lord-of-the-rings-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-553a85e212bd4

What can I say, I love Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and (by extension) his Hobbit trilogy. Furthermore, I’m a huge fan of anything fantasy, so I knew that I was going to love these movies. While Jackson’s films are made of high quality (production, costume, and overall scope) in recreating Tolkien’s beloved world of Middle-Earth on the big screen, all of these films had beautiful music that aided to powerful dynamics to each film. Composed by music composer Howard Shore, The Fellowship of the Ring introduces us (the viewers) to some of the franchise’s signature melodies, including the happy and light “The Shire / Hobbit” theme, the rousing melody of “The Fellowship”, the dark and ominous themes of “Sauron” and “Sauruman (Isengard), the haunting chorus of the “Ringwraith / Nazgul”, the somber (yet mystifying) piece to “Galadriel” and the one single piece of a solo French Horn melody of “Gondor”, which would become fully realized (more orchestral) in future installments.  All of these pieces (plus many more) help add weight to the film’s prolithic power and grandeur, immersing a viewer into the world of Jackson’s vision of Middle-Earth.

Perhaps my favorite example of Howard Shore’s music can be found in this clip below…..

Now imagine this scene without music and how much different it would’ve been without it. Think it about…while this scene from Fellowship works and is impressive (especially with the film’s visuals and the talented actors in it, the powerful and emotion musical melodies help resonate a sense of fear, dramatic tension and sadness. And that’s just a four and half minute scene from the movie.

Now, while Howard Shore has composed the other entries in Peter’s Jackson Middle-Earth sagas, including the other two Lord of Rings films (The Two Towers and The Return of the King) and The Hobbit trilogy (An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies), his score for The Fellowship of the Ring was essential (and probably my favorite) because it set the overall “musical tone” for the rest of the franchise. Yes, Howard Shore did create new melodies and song pieces to be added to his composition of Jackson’s cinematic fantasy franchise, but a lot of the melodies and songs in Fellowship became signature pieces that carried over into the other sequential installments. It is for that reason why I would say that Howard Shore’s score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite film score.

Ian from SuperNerds UK – @ianyoungkop, @SuperNerds_UK

My favourite score is a strange one but hopefully you’ll understand why I’ve chosen it! Gremlins for me perfectly catches the essence of the movie, sometimes terrifying other times almost taken from a slapstick comedy! The movie and the soundtrack are an absolute match made in heaven! The Gremlins Rag ( The theme tune is one of my favourite themes and I get a smile on my face every time I hear it! Jerry Goldsmith here delivers a masterpiece of genius quality!

 

Once again I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this article, it wouldn’t be much of a community without these guys and gals. We are known as the  Geekstalkers and love to talk about anything so if you want to get involved yourself just contact us on any of the links below!

You can find a huge amount of awesome content from all of our contributors below, so many websites, blogs and podcasts and the social media interaction is second to none. Come join the Geekstalker community, anyone and everyone is welcome. Until next time!

Ben from #nerdschatting Podcast @nerdschatting, @ben_nerdchat
Dan from Nerdifi @Nerdifi_MCR
Claudia @1GeekyNerd
Sasha aka Chewbasha @Bash2110
Ian from SuperNerds UK Podcast @ianyoungkop, @SuperNerds_UK
Dave from Jack and the Geekstalk @Crutchy, @JackGeekstalk
Lou from Jack and the Geekstalk @Lola_Flump, @JackGeekstalk
Sammi from Jack and the Geekstalk @Sammo94jo, @JackGeekstalk
Check out the #nerdschatting, Supernerds UK, We Have a Hulk and Nerdifi Podcasts!
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And as always check out us on Twitter, Instagram and subscribe to our Podcast on ITunes and Podbean.com, Jack and The Geeks Talk.
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9 thoughts on “Geekstalkers #3 Best Film Score

      1. As forceful and muscular as the “Vampire Hunters” theme is, the “Love Remembered” piece, on the other end of the spectrum, is delicate and tender. I write a lot of my fiction to that soundtrack.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m with Basha – empire soundtrack is epic and typical of John Williams Genius. I would love to put another recent in the mix – Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a beautiful surprise and the selection of tracks from musics past was inspired. I love pina colada 😉 & keep hooked on the feeling – Geek out 👍🏻🤓

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed – John Williams has influenced so much and film scores are so much better for that influence. Understand about the originality of scores, GOTG was a wish. If the music had been original it would of been Einstein Level Genius 😉👍🏻. As always great article btw 👍🏻 Geek out🤓

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Summer Solstice Musings and commented:
    The Geekstalkers are back!!
    Welcome to another article from the Geekstalker Community. I feel obliged to issue a warning here….what follows is a whole bunch of AWESOMENESS! The Geekstalkers are an amazing group of geeks, nerds, podcasters and brilliant people who just like talking about anything and everything. A while ago we decided to share some of these conversations with the wider world.

    Liked by 1 person

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