Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scores In 2009: A Look Ahead

So, 2009 is well underway. We’re just about done with the studio dumpster section of the year where all the studios dump their “too much to drink, what was I thinking?” projects. With the summer, fall and winter ahead we have plenty of high profile movies to look forward to. With high profile movies come high profile scores and there are plenty of composers to watch out for the rest of the year as their sounds bring to life the movies we are all looking forward to.

I’ll start off with Michael Giacchino who is gonna have a pretty good year. You can currently hear him every Wednesday night on LOST as season 5 wraps up another amazing season for him on the show. Varese will release his Season 4 score in May so we have lots of LOST to sink our teeth into. Giacchino’s last film score was Speed Racer last year and while the score was fantastic the movie fell under the radar. This summer brings up 3 Giacchino scores that I cannot wait to hear: Star Trek, Land Of The Lost and Up. Star Trek reunites him with J.J. Abrams and is bound to be stellar. Giacchino said himself that he plans on overlooking Goldmsith’s work on the series and focus on Alexander Courage’s original thematic material.

Another big event will be Michael Mann’s Public Enemies which will feature a score from Elliot Goldenthal who has been rather absent from the world of film. His last score was 2007’s Across The Universe but let’s face it; the score wasn’t the focus there. This will be his second feature with Mann the other one being Heat in 1995.

We also have a Terrence Malick film to look forward to and Malick films usually mean musically driven images. Malick has never worked with the same composer more than once and I’m guessing it’s because he isn’t that easy to please. I’ve heard about stories of friction and arguing between him and his composers mainly from Hans Zimmer and James Horner. However, every Malick film has given us some of the greatest music in film so at least greatness comes from the creative fighting. Alexandre Desplat is doing the score for The Tree Of Life and it’s worthy to note on your radar.

Carter Burwell has another Coen Brothers film which is always something to take note of. He’ll also be co-composing Where The Wild Things Are which has Burwell written all over it.

Eyes are on Danny Elfman as he takes over The Terminator franchise. All I’m hoping for is not another mess of a score like The Kingdom if he decides to go in that direction. He’ll also be composing for the remake of The Wolf Man, which is just a tad ironic. It’s ironic because he stole the original Wolf Man theme and made it the Batman theme for his score to Burton’s 1989 film. So, will he keep that theme for the remake? If he does then The Wolf Man will be going around to Batman’s former theme and that would be kind of funny.

Okay, Hans and company. 2009 is Hans’ “take it easy” year. His only score is Angels & Demons. He did the music for The Burning Plain but that was last year and the film is only now getting distribution. Still waiting on his tour announcements so that should be exciting when it happens. Harry Gregson-Williams is doing Wolverine and apparently is going symphonic for it? Should be amazing. There’s also The Taking Of Pelham 123, and anytime Harry and Tony Scott get together it’s cause for rejoicing. Expect a synth heavy intensity that only Harry can deliver in this age of modern scoring. King of animation, John Powell will be doing Ice Age 3 and that should be tons of fun to hear. He’s also doing the Paul Greengrass/Matt Damon flick, Green Zone. I expect a Bourne type score which isn’t bad since I loved Powell’s Bourne scores. Steve Jablonsky is doing Transformers 2 so theaters will be able to give their sound systems a good workout with that score. Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood will give Marc Streitenfeld a test of his abilities, which I’m not worried about. Marc has been part of Zimmer’s team for a long time and is fully capable of keeping his personal style and adapting to the setting. It’s not like he’s going in with no experience.

Later this year we have a Scorsese film and it’s still unannounced if Howard Shore is going to score it, Avatar brings us our first James Horner score in quite some time, and actor Jason Schwartzman will enter the composing realm with his score for Funny People. 2009 looks to be a promising year of score driven films and hopefully will provide for a better selection at the Oscars next year. While I am sad there will be only 2 Hans scores this year I can’t wait for him to go on tour. So, here’s to some great music to come in the following months.

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