Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Soundtracks: 2012 Review (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall, Dark Knight Rises...)

There are many things that make a movie what it is. It all starts with a story (according to what every How-To book on screenwriting tells us), there is the director and his crew, there are the actors, who bust their asses to bring a vision to life. Then comes the wonderful world of post-production. What is one result of that? The music. Soundtracks enhance the movie going experience. They can make us cry, they can pump us up, they can make us remember the 80's. Whether it be a musical band or a composer, soundtracks help our favorite movies stay etched in our mind forever. If you ask me, 2012 was a damn good year for film. When I look at the lineup, and especially the selections that I've made for this article...it was the year of the geek-out. We got the conclusion of Nolan's amazing Batman trilogy, we got Peter Jackson returning to the Shire and beyond. We were treated to a fanboys wet dream in finally seeing The Avengers on the big screen, and another long awaited Bond film. To compliment all these films, were scores that did exactly what they were meant to do in making love to our ears. Words can't describe the emotions that the Cloud Atlas theme brought out, and there is no possible verbalization that will justify the happiness of being treated to Tarantino's musical sensibilities to close out the year. Happy Holidays, indeed!


Not only did I find Cloud Atlas a knock out of the park from a visual standpoint, but for me it hit all the right emotional notes as well. Now in hindsight it’s weird to think about the fact that the theme was rocking it throughout the whole film, but it was during its run in the credits that I didn’t want to leave. The films co-director Tom Tykwer brought his team together to conduct a score that some critics have compared to the works of John Williams, hell of a comparison. I’d have to say this is my favorite score of the year for this one track, and I personally hope it walks away with the Golden Globe. Purchase the soundtrack here


The film has not even been released yet, but we recently were treated with the whole shebang in the form of stream and I must say it did not disappoint. We get the classic tracks that capture the spaghetti western theme courtesy of Luis Bacalov and the legendary Ennio Morricone. Also in true Tarantino form he utilizes modern artists like only he can with folks like Rick Ross, Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, James Brown, and 2pac. Tarantino’s films have been known for brilliant use of his chosen music to enhance already entertaining scenes, and I expect no less from this love letter…perhaps even more so. Purchase the soundtrack here


If Bane’s central theme for this film doesn’t make you want to mark into battle I just, I don’t know about ya. The obvious standout track here is “Deshi Basara”, which features a Moroccan chant that translates into “rise up”. Obviously we all see the connection there. When it comes to the film, I’m mixed on how I feel about it…but I can’t deny there are moments of the film that carried the desired emotional weight. It’s a testament to the talent of Hans Zimmer that he once again managed to capture this. James Newton Howard almost returned to contribute, but felt his services weren’t required after hearing the gem that was the Inception soundtrack. I like ya James, but Dark Knight Rises was in good hands. Purchase the soundtrack here


Thomas Newman is a frequent collaborator with Sam Mendes, my favorite of which being his work on American Beauty…I am pleased to say he hit another homerun here, folks! While Adele’s contribution to the long list of Bond themes doesn’t strike me as the most impressive, it definitely got the job done. The real Skyfall soundtrack treat is the sprinkles of the classic Bond theme sprinkled throughout, nostalgia ensues if only for brief moments. Although not featured on the album, previous Bond composer David Arnold’s version of the classic theme is featured on the films closing credits. Purchase the soundtrack here


It seems wrong not to include a John Williams piece, when once again he delivers. In his work on Spielberg’s latest outing I see shades of his work on films like Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot. On these films, he captures the patriotic feel of the age to the point where you can’t help but get swept up in it. On this effort, Williams employed the help of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and their talents are put to good use in several scenes. John cemented his status as a legend of the art form a long time ago, and his score for Lincoln only keeps that hot streak going. This whole thing had God Bless America written all over it. Purchase the soundtrack here


The journey back to Middle Earth has been anticipated by many for a long while, the production was plagued with early problems but all the pieces fell where they were supposed to. The pressure was on for all, including composer Howard Shore…and did he deliver? Does an Ork piss where he pleases? We get the old familiar themes from the old Lord of the Rings trilogy and Shore plays around to satisfy this sense of a whole different adventure that we are about to embark on. It was a real treat to here this score blare through big screen speakers again, bring on the next two. Purchase the soundtrack here

Extra Tidbit: These selections are based on the films that I've seen, please let me know of any scores that have fallen under my radar this year that have stuck you. PS, another honorable mention here is the soundtrack to Amazing Spider-Man via James Horner.
Source: JoBlo



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