In the last twenty years, the computer-animated film genre has grown exponentially. Toy Story started things off nicely in 1995 and since then, the movie business has benefited from a bevy of charming tales and brilliant art. The latest computer-animated adventure Minions is taking the world by storm and not only is it a cute film but it features a rather fun soundtrack that, like the film itself, is perfect for both children and adults. Hans Zimmer-student Heitor Pereira is responsible for the film’s score and there are also a couple of popular songs that comprise the vibrant album.
22 years ago, Jurassic Park forever changed the way audiences saw movies. It was a monumental film and a crowning achievement due mostly to its groundbreaking visual effects and universal sense of wonder and fun. It was a sci-fi adventure film through and through and was one of visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light and Magic’s (ILM) absolute best films. Jurassic Park broke box office records and spawned three sequels, the most recent of which is Jurassic World and its soundtrack, the focus of this review. Michael Giacchino took John Williams’ original formula and added his own style to the proceedings, making for not only a fitting tribute to Mr. Williams’ sound but introduced a new style which combined both old and new. The results are a fresh score that balances action and childlike wonder, something Williams did and continues to do time and time again, especially with his many collaborations with director Steven Spielberg.
In 1982, the horror film genre was given a fresh and original entry in its then already impressive list of pictures. Under the production of Steven Spielberg and the direction of horror genre pioneer Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), a new film and type of fright was created. That film of course is Poltergeist, the insanely creepy and heart-pumping horror/thriller that inspired many an audience to watch scary movies with the lights turned on. The film was a huge success at the time, spawning two sequels, a TV series spinoff and for purposes of this review, a lackluster reboot and subsequent soundtrack album. Both the film and score aren’t exactly works of art but they accomplish the goals they were originally made to do: to entertain.
Prior to 2012, the art form known as “a cappella” wasn’t featured in movies too often. Singing without the aid of instrumental accompaniment is tough and in many instances, quite beautiful. The offbeat comedy Pitch Perfect took a cappella and shone a bright light on it, making it really quite popular. The film was a smash hit, catapulting young actresses Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow into superstardom. A sequel was inevitable and more songs were covered and audiences were in for not only a musical treat but a humorous adventure as well.
Nostalgia is alive and well in the year 2015. There are numerous film franchises from yesteryear getting the reboot/sequel treatment and this year is seeing this “phenomenon” more than ever before. One such franchise that has recently had new life injected into it is the Australian dystopian adventure film Mad Max. The series began in 1979 with a young Mel Gibson in the lead role and there were two sequels (1981 and 1985). These films saw some very gritty and some very raw action storytelling. Director George Miller has now returned 30 years later to continue the story with Mad Max: Fury Road, a high octane, no holds barred thrill ride that not only has great action and direction but a killer musical score courtesy of Mr. Tom Holkenborg (a.k.a.. Junkie XL).
In the modern digital world we all live in today, one can argue that “print is dead”. To read a book may seem like an activity not many engage in and this is true in some capacity. However books like E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey get made and usher in a new “era” of the printed word being consumed by the masses. Grey is a highly popular series of novels and with a provocative plot and steamy moments which has become a worldwide phenomenon. Obviously a feature film was destined to be made and a corresponding soundtrack was also released. Fans of Grey can now listen to the songs on the album which are almost as sexy and seductive as the book itself.
In the past two decades, the name Hans Zimmer has been synonymous will the blockbuster film. His music manages to capture the very essence and absolute beauty of almost every project he touches and his unique style has served as the backbone for many action and adventure franchises. From his Oscar-winning score to The Lion King to Pearl Harbor to The Dark Knight Trilogy to Pirates of the Caribbean, not to mention a plethora of other notable films, Zimmer is the industry standard for powerful film music. In fact, one can even go so far as to call him the new John Williams. His latest work is featured in the quirky sci-fi actioner Chappie and while it isn’t the man’s best score, it does give a nice wink at synth-heavy soundtracks of yesteryear, most notably Vangelis’ 1982 score for Blade Runner, a film with many similarities to Chappie.