By Jake Myers
So, I saw “Blade Runner 2049” on opening day in XD (extreme digital) at Valley View Theaters and I was blown away by the epic sound. It was the perfect film to enjoy in XD and I loved everything about 2049, although not just the music.
In my opinion, to quote Mary Poppins, “It was practically perfect in every way.” I have always had an appreciation for film music. I believe it all started with “The Lion King” when I was probably two years old. I watched it over and over and my parents bought me the soundtrack. I would have to say that it is my favorite Disney movie of all time.
While some may take film music for granted, I’m pretty sure the average movie goer would recognize the following:
Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum!
You don’t even have to hear the notes to figure out that the above represents the theme from “Jaws,” which was scored by John Williams. Film music can either make or break a movie.
Some iconic film music that comes to my mind as well: “Jurassic Park” (1993), by John Williams, “Back to the Future” (1985), by Alan Silvestri, “Star Wars” (1977), by John Williams, “The Lion King” (1994), by Hans Zimmer, “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (1966), by Vic Mizzy, “Dances With Wolves” (1990), by John Barry, “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), by Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones, “Twister” (1996), by Mark Mancina and “Silverado” (1990), by Bruce Broughton.
I feel like the aforementioned films can be recognized by their music alone. Play the soundtrack and you can visualize the movie. What you may or may not know is that the above representation of the theme from “Jaws” is known as a leitmotif. Those ten notes represent the shark and are heard to signify the shark’s presence throughout the film.
One of the most iconic leitmotifs is from “Star Wars.” Darth Vader’s theme starts with nine notes. Can you hear it in your head now? It goes nine notes, nine notes and then 24 notes to round it off.
“The Imperial March” was written and composed by John Williams. If this fascinates you as it does me, then you should consider signing up for Film Music MUHL2617 with Assistant Professor Daniel Keown. Tell him Jake sent you. I really enjoyed this class. I would have to say it is one of my favorites. You do not have to be a music major as I am not, but it helps to be a film geek.
Of the major films released this year, I feel that “Wonder Woman” by Rupert Gregson-Williams, “War for the Planet of the Apes” by Michael Giacchino, and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson are the most likely to resonate with viewers and perhaps reach iconic status.
“Blade Runner 2049,” for me, is an atmospheric soundtrack. It is all synthesized. It sets the mood and propels the film forward, which may help explain why it didn’t seem like a 2 hour and 45 minute film. In XD, your chest and recliner vibrate with the pounding pulse of the music.
That being said, I was cognizant of leitmotifs in “2049,” but I was so enthralled by the visuals and the storyline that I would have to see it again to fully analyze the music. I will mention one leitmotif – listen for the “Tears and the Rain” theme in “2049,” which was significant in the original film.
Incidentally, the original “Blade Runner” (1982), was scored by Vangelis. “Blade Runner 2049” was supposed to be scored by three composers: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hans Zimmer, and Benjamin Wallfisch. Jóhannsson dropped out of the film because of creative differences. Director Denis Villeneuve wanted something closer to the original score.
Geek alert: If you own an Amazon Echo or Dot, you can ask Alexa to play any soundtrack and/or composer. Geek it out!
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