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You really misunderstood this score
• Posted by: Vincent   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, August 27, 2015, at 2:27 p.m.
• IP Address:

I'm surprised you say that the score lacks identity. For me, the trio's theme has always been its very clear identity, or perhaps even the annoying synth pulse that made my housemates wonder what the hell was going on in my room.

If the studio really wanted continuity in sound, they did a very poor job indeed. They could have asked Doyle to use more Williams and refused Hooper altogether. I still find it heartbreaking that Hooper was asked to do something he obviously couldn't, twice. But then again, I still don't understand what's appealing about David Yates's style either...

The revelation that Doyle was forced to use Williams's theme is intrigueing. I always found that Doyle nailed Goblet of Fire and can see why he wouldn't have wanted to use it. It keeps reminding me of the happy-go-lucky Harry Potter that we lost in film 3. Hedwig's Theme sounds out-of-place in GOF to me. Hooper handled Hedwig's Theme rather well in Phoenix, but its placement in the Burrow scene in Half-Blood Prince remains mind-boggling.

Here's my personal problem, though: Is Hedwig's Theme really THE overarching identity of the franchise? It certainly is an identity, but has Harry Potter any overarching idenitities? Williams overused it in 1, used it quite well in 2, dropped most of his themes for 3, then Doyle only associated it with owls (which was rather logical) and Hooper used it in (il)logical ways. The theme has been forced into subsequent films by the studio, so not everyone found it so important.

Comparing this score to RCP isn't ironic at all. As irritating as it may sound to you, we do have a very annoying synth pulse that pounds away happily in lots of cues, and as you say yourself, the lower regions and/or strings are emphasised. Luckily, it's not all in D minor. And the pulse is indeed very, very annoying if you have good speakers.

You are absolutely right about the score being unmemorable, but I think you're also forgetting one very important thing. Yates is obsessed by turning the story into dark or political thrillers. More proof he doesn't understand Harry Potter, but anyway, my point is, do political thrillers come with memorable themes? We are expecting (memorable) themes, but perhaps Yates didn't want them. There are lots of themes in this score, though, and the asssumption that they won't work in concert suites is wrong. Ron Leaves went unused and provides very nice renditions of the trio's theme: you've got your suite right there. It really does stand out as the main theme, and Desplat adapts it very cleverly: compare Ron's Speech to Ron Leaves! The trio's theme also figures prominently in The Will, Death Eaters and Ron's Speech.

About emotional environments, don't forget Yates prefers having emotional moments unscored in these films, God knows why.

The mystery theme is different from the Daethly Hallows theme. I think you're confusing themes here, because it doesn't appear in Rescuing Hermione at all, that's the villain's theme. The locket theme is actually a Horcrux theme for Part 1 and 2. Can you believe Hooper didn't create a Horcrux theme? Ron's Speech is just the trio's theme again, Godric's Hollow hints at the Deathly Hallows, and Farewell to Dobby has no theme at all. Hermione's Parents, again, contains the trio's theme. And allow me to repeat this: Williams wrote children's scores, and Doyle... well, Doyle is just Doyle, so emotion is a given. Yates doesn't want (melo)drama. I can tell he made Desplat write brooding material instead of emotional cues. I agree that Bathilda Bagshot lacks development, but in Desplat's defence, Yates messed up the woman as well (that came out the wrong way, I know). Seeing as the connection between Bathilda and Dumbledore is only mentioned very, very briefly, is it up to Desplat to save the day? The Elder Wand is not annonymous, it opens with The Dumbledore theme, a theme you never mention. Look for it there and in Detonators or obviously The Dumbledores and Grimmauld Place. A note on its usage in Grimmauld Place, obviously it makes no sense in the film anymore because Yates removed Kloves's scene where Lily's letter on Dumbledore is found. I also agree on the score lacking a definitive structure. As for Williams's themes, though, it remains a mystery to me why everyone always obsesses over Hedwig's Theme while he wrote plenty of other themes. Also where would Doyle's themes have come in? It sounds like something Yates wouldn't want, and thinking about it now, I think it wouldn't have been possible to place any Doyle theme in this score. I don't hear Hedwig's Theme in Ron Leaves, and I think it was also dialed out in The Will.

And here we are: 'the majority won't pick up on them anyway', so, why bother? The musical continuity was doomed when Azkaban came out, so why should Desplat be the one to set things right?

Then, the narrative. You will notice that the Deathly Hallows are actually a marginalised side-show in the films. The main plot line is destroying the Horcruxes (though that plotline has also been dumbed down dramatically). In Part 2, Desplat cleverly adapts the Horcrux theme, so do we need more? The Deathly Hallows are what the prophecy was in Phoenix, a very important plot point mishandled by Yates, so if you just look at the films, there's no tightly-woven story at all (and yes, it's Yates's fault.) Also, who are you - or anyone else - to judge 'the assignment'? We don't really know what his assignment was, do we?

Why does Desplat have to establish a Harry Potter identity? What was Goblet of FIre's main identity? I can't answer that, though I love the score to bits and Voldemort's theme could probably be its identity. Let's not wonder what Hooper's identities are. What was Chamber's identity? Again, continuity vanished with Azkaban, why is it suddenly important now? You blamed Doyle for changing a moving train's direction, but that's exactly what Williams dit. You say he dismissed 'some' themes, so which ones did he keep except for Hedwig's Theme and a very brief flying theme appearance? Azkaban sounds COMPLETELY different from Stone and Chamber.

You're talking as if you know what's going on in the production process. What if all those composers were ASKED to use their own styles? Granted, I can't imagine who would want Hooper's style after four massive scores, but what if? The bit about composers having to dazzle us because they're paid is rather arrogant as well. I challenge you to sit down and make Hedwig's Theme emotional. You are absolutely right about themes having to grow up, but in that same sentence, you say it could also be the lazy director's fault. I really urge you to look at DAvid Yates's films again. Read the books and experience how he dumbed everything down. Why can't he have mishandled the music too? And some themes just can't grow up. For me, Hedwig's Theme remains an 'oh my God it's magic!' theme.

As for continuity in general, spells sounded like explosions in 1 and 2, like wind in 3, again like explosions in 4, and from 5 onwards a pleasant mixture of sounds. Harris was (obviously) replaced, Voldemort started out as a compelling evil bipolar character and became a one-dimensional shouting demented madman. There's your continuity.

Where did Depslat record 100 minutes? The sessions run over three hours. And which of the limited tracks aren't incorporated in the film? Voldemort is used, Grimmauld Place is partially used, The Dumbledores isn't cut, The Tale of the Three Brothers is a mixture of Hermione's first attempt to read the story and the 'we ought to see Lovegood' scene. Bellatrix is partially used, the beginning being unused music for Lovegood's house being blown up, and My Love Is Always There was partially used too, though admittedly, it's mixed so terribly softly into the film that you hardly hear it. I agree that Voldemort lacks suspense. Also, Hermione has her own theme in The Dumbledores and Hermione's Parents. You just confirmed that all of these cues made the film to some extent, so that contradicts your earlier statement, and come on, why should a carol contain themes or fit within the score? Really? Desplat also recorded a Silent Night version with the choir, so you might find some Muggle theme there. The carol shouldn't fit around any music! Did A Winter's Spell do that?

The 5.1 mix is the same as in the film, and I thought Obliviate really sounded much, much better. The centre channel isn't that prominent either. The box set is indeed rubbish, but for me it just added to my disgust for WB. Why ** for the albums?! That's irrational and you know it.

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