Saturday, June 03, 2006

Best soundtrack themes

The art of the "theme" is a music-wonder. Say 'Star Wars' and who doesn't immediately engender thoughts of the film's famous "Main Titles;" the glorious space epic theme. Likewise with Jaws (du-du. du-du. du-du-du-du.....anyone?). There are many other memorable themes in film music history, of course: Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator (two powerful themes), Lord of the Rings (which had so many themes it would be hard to distinguish the main one), E.T., Titanic, Forrest Gump, etc. Not every theme has to contain blistering bombasts, or the prettiest of melodies, of course. But a good theme should be impactful; able to lodge itself in the listeners head until just the first notes bring to mind the movie, itself.

Today, I have a special treat. One of my favorite themes ever, presented in its full track form:

Crimson Tide - theme

What makes this cue by Hans Zimmer so venerable is the way it sneaks up on you; like the movie's submarine--beginning with a simplistic french horn fanfare. A few seconds in, the cue adds Zimmer's famous synthesizers, and then the horns intensify (increasing in number, and intensity each time the 17-note motif is gloriously looped), blasting out the theme. A male chorus provides sturdy backing of the notes, and accentuates the "sweeping" quality of the music.

Hans Zimmer's score for Crimson Tide has been praised in most circles, and critisized in a few others. The main detriment to this (and many other of his) soundtracks has been said to be the use of synthesizers. However, if you side with the 85% of the movie music world, you'll love Crimson Tide's powerful themes. may be interested in a less-mature, but more energetic style of the theme--heard above. Zimmer's theme for The Rock has many similar elements, and often sounds like it is actually re-playing a few of the motifs that Crimson Tide made famous. Here is that soundtrack's most popular cue, in its entirity:

Navy Seals - theme

And that's all for now!
Best Wishes over the weekend!
-Sam Van Eerden


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