Hugo (Howard Shore)

Final Musings: Howard Shore delivers a magical score that is infused in French culture. The abundance of charming themes and the wealth of magical material puts this as arguably one of the best fantasy scores of the year. This is no Lord of the Rings, but it is a touching score with heart and soul in its innocence and childish whimsy. The heavy French elements may be deterring to some, but bear in mind that this is a score that requires time to appreciate. In the end, Howard Shore once again masterfully proves the extent of his versatility.

Brian Selznick’s 2008 historical fiction novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret may seem intimidating in its size, but it is really more pictures than words. Regardless, the novel’s touching story of a young boy who tries to understand his purpose in the world while wandering as an orphan in Paris’ infamous Gare Montparnasse has gained great levels of popularity amongst mainstream audiences. Inspired by the works and life events of early film pioneer Georges Méliès, the novel creatively portrays the narrative against a beautiful Parisian backdrop. Martin Scorcese’s 2011 film adaption of the novel would be his first 3D venture. Considering Scorcese had rarely done a family film (if ever) of such vibrant tone and childish whimsy, audiences took the 3D and the overbearingly buoyant nature of trailer as a sign dictating that the legendary director had finally sold out. However, Scorcese ended up proving that even when out of his comfort zone, he continues to maintain his excellent standards in filmmaking. This of course meant that critics loved it and by no means did the 3D hinder the great experience (unfortunately the same cannot be said of the majority of films these days). Arguably Scorcese’s most colourful film, the movie is a touching piece that is immersed in the man’s own childhood and premature fondness for films. Accompanying the film musically is the Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore who has emerged from the recurring collaboration between Scorcese and himself. Read the rest of this entry »


The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams)

Final Musings: A classic Williams adventure score with great intellectual depth. It may not have the concert arrangements we expect of the maestro, but this is one of the legend’s best scores in recent years. Williams is clearly still at the top of his game and he once again shows his competition how film scoring is really done.

When I got the CD, I thought to myself “Its finally here”! It’s been a while since we’ve seen the maestro be an active player in the industry. Having only composed a single score in the last 5 years, the film score world suffered from a drought. Being an ardent devotee of John Williams, you can imagine the terrible agony I had endured during those dark times. Although we did have Indiana Jones 4 to satisfy our thirst for some time, 3 years went by without the maestro in the film score world. So the question is…was it worth the wait? YES! And no doubt about it!

I’ve been looking forward to the film for quite a long time as well. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson being amongst my favourite directors, I was quite excited to see what they would come up with. But let me say it here and now that I know almost next to nothing about Belgian comics by Herge. I’ve heard about them and even once skimmed over the one about Congo in French, but I honestly don’t know much about the comics, so forgive any inaccuracies in my analysis in accordance with context. Read the rest of this entry »

Game of Thrones (Ramin Djawadi)

Final Musings: A weak and even dull score but a rather surprisingly effective effort by Djawadi with some good highlights. It may be an unpleasant experience for fans of fantasy music, but its Djawadi’s best and leaves solid potential for a sequel.

George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones was first published on August 6, 1996. Since then, the series has garnered an enormous fanbase. The reception to this hit series has been enormously positive with some critics even daring to hail him as the “American Tolkien”. I myself have onlyrecently been exposed to this literature and boy was I blown away. It was certainly not up there with Lord of the Rings (then again, nothing really has reached that high for me) but it was definitely one of the most original and enticing fantasy works I’ve been exposed too.

A Game of Thrones isn’t your typical fantasy. It’s an intricate tapestry of multiple sub-plots and storylines all weaving together for a larger purpose. You don’t get your share of optimism and wonder (instead you get a bunch of plot twists). No. George R.R. Martin provides a deep sense of realism and paints the brutal nature of the realistic Middle Ages. It is a dark story about the struggle for power, and the corruption of the mortal world. You don’t get your share of noble and honest characters. But that’s one of the things that makes A Song of Ice and Fire such a great masterpiece. Instead of elaborating more on it however, I suggest you go read it yourselves (for those who haven’t got the opportunity to do so). Read the rest of this entry »