Sometimes lyric-less music can come in handy for all sorts of activities: work-outs, revision, travelling etc. Here are some of The Edge’s favourite film scores from the 2010s.
Pacific Rim (2013, Ramin Djawadi)
Since being released in 2013, Pacific Rim has garnered an average audience rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. As a movie known for its heavy-handed blending of concepts from the Transformers and Godzilla franchises, it has mostly received mixed reviews. The plot and action scenes are typically the most debated aspects of this film, but the most praiseworthy feature of Pacific Rim is the original score composed by Ramin Djawadi. In the opening scenes, main character Raleigh Beckett confidently declares that when ‘You see a hurricane coming… you have to get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, suddenly… you can fight the hurricane. You can win.’ The feeling of being unstoppable that Raleigh feels whilst piloting a Jaeger, is mirrored in how the soundtrack makes the listener feel. This is the perfect film soundtrack for anyone needing some motivation, whether it be for working out or studying. Listening to the Pacific Rim score will make you feel like you can win.
Tron: Legacy (2010, Daft Punk)
TRON: Legacy is not a very good film. The plot is nonsensical, the lore uninteresting, the acting wooden, the de-ageing horrendous… the list goes on. Its sleek electric visuals have rightly earned it production design kudos, though, and given it something of a life well past its 2010 debut. But the film’s brightest spot (neon blue, of course) is its original score, devised by French house legends Daft Punk. It is, to paraphrase Matt Singer, one of the best-sounding bad movies ever made.
Unless you count Interstella 5555 (essentially a visual album to 2001’s exceptional Discovery), Legacy marks the duo’s first and tragically last foray into film composition. The score fills in the sizeable cracks of the film’s world-building, ominous orchestras and muted percussion creating a great sense of tension, particularly in the first act. The arrival of the Recognizer and the light cycle fight come to mind as scenes made foreboding and tense respectively by dynamic music; scenes which would likely fall limp without. Other highlights include the score’s irresistible recurring melody (the synths that play it on The Grid never get old) and Derezzed, which just sounds like a great Daft Punk song. It may be wasted on its film, but TRON: Legacy’s score is a quick favourite.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010, John Powell)
2010’s Oscar race for Best Score was a tight one: The Social Network edged out Inception (another worthy winner) but the true champion in everyone’s hearts is John Powell’s wonderfully uplifting score for How to Train Your Dragon. Evoking fantasy and Scottish Viking culture (eh?!) whilst simultaneously crafting an album that works supremely well for studying, Powell consistently elevates the stunning animation flight sequences, the touching moments of character growth and the epic fight scenes. Track favourites include ‘Test Drive’ and ‘Romantic Flight’ for their sense of excitement and wonder, but ‘Forbidden Friendship’ is the real MVP. The corresponding film sequence is a wordless, four-minute plus interaction between Toothless the dragon and little Hiccup, with the curious music building to a powerful crescendo of friendship. Marvellous!