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Re: Zimmer, team, alums rundown Pt 5 - RC intro + 2005-07: (B)atmosphere Man Begins (
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• Posted by: Riley KZ
• Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 6:56 a.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Zimmer, team, alums rundown Pt 5 - RC intro + ... (JBlough)

> This is part of a series. Part 5f is here:

> ———————-

> Flyboys (2006) - ****
> Trevor Rabin; add’l music by Dave Metzger; orchestrated by Metzger
> & Tom Calderaro;
> produced by Rabin & Paul Linford; conducted by Don Harper

> RC discovery #21.

> Flyboys, a Dean Devlin production dramatizing Americans who joined
> France’s air force before the U.S. had entered World War I, was harangued
> by critics for its factual errors, dialogue, and poor visual effects, and
> it made less than a third of its budget back in theaters. Trevor Rabin had
> written a stirring war score for the film The Great Raid a year
> prior, meaning he had the misfortune of having his first two works in the
> genre both be attached to gargantuan financial turkeys. Womp womp.

> “I had wanted to do an epic with an emphasis on character. Dean Devlin
> was a joy to work with. [Director] Tony Bill was very generous with me. I
> would play him a theme on the piano, and he would say, ‘I like the idea,
> but keep in mind the subtext of what the character is thinking and saying.
> There should be a yearning that’s underneath it all.’ Now, that sounds a
> little ‘Oh, come on. Speak English, you know?’ But he’s so poignant and on
> the money, and everything he said was so relevant and made such sense. It
> really made a difference in the sensitivity of how I went about my
> job.”

> Some of the John Williams-adjacent war film tendencies exhibited in The
> Great Raid
carry over, but here we also find Rabin at times channeling
> the mournful sense of brotherhood from James Horner’s music from
> Glory, as well as the rousing, martial resilience of Williams’
> The Patriot and David Arnold’s Independence Day (the latter
> two influences no surprise as they came from movies Devlin produced).
> Somewhat like Mark Mancina’s music for The Haunted Mansion, this is
> a work that effectively synthesizes its myriad influences without dwelling
> on any one for too long, though those obvious influences might hold the
> work back from greatness for some listeners. Parts of it sound almost
> Irish, which is probably just coincidence. On the whole, it’s proof that
> the former Yes guitarist was really good at writing in a symphonic idiom
> when given the chance. Heck, Heroes practically flies (sorry) into
> Ron Goodwin territory. But Rabin unfortunately wouldn’t get the
> opportunity to write something like this or The Great Raid again,
> due perhaps to studios not tending to make mid-budget war films anymore.

> “Once again, this is a score that we did all at once in London. Any
> MIDI that was attached was added at the end, just to do a bit of this or
> that. It was a purely orchestral score all along – that was always the
> idea.”

Yessssssss! Agreed completely, it’s lovely. Glad you dug it.


> Gridiron Gang (2006) - ***½
> Trevor Rabin; add’l music by Paul Linford; orchestrated by Rabin, Steve
> Kofsky & Gary May; produced by Rabin & Linford

> RC discovery #22.

> “To be honest, I would love more people to actively listen to the score
> work, although Varèse [has] done a great job doing the score albums.”

> Made by producer Neal H. Moritz when he was perhaps still better known for
> the XXX movies than the Fast & Furious franchise,
> Gridiron Gang dramatized the true story of a successful football
> team at a juvenile detention camp. Like the earlier film The
> Rundown
that I covered in this (sorry) rundown, this was an early
> starring vehicle for the wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson, though this
> one would seem to be his first leap into more family-friendly territory.
> It was unsurprising that Trevor Rabin got the composing gig given his
> prior work in the inspirational sports film genre (Remember the
> Titans
and Coach Carter, plus Glory Road earlier in the
> same year).

> The sound stays very much within Rabin’s wheelhouse for the time - a mix
> of orchestra, guitar, and synths - though some of the instrumental detail
> and grandeur of the prior year’s Great Raid carries over (the
> various sensitive woodwind parts are a nice touch). A good portion of the
> first half of the album plays like nondescript dramatic filler, though the
> album seems to wake up at its midpoint during the rousing Celebration
> Epilogue
(unsurprising for a track with that name). Some of the more
> action-packed subsequent tracks have those National Treasure-style
> energetic strings that sound half-acoustic and half-sampled, though the
> brass sounds completely real and is often a triumphant delight.

> It largely plays to expectations, and there’s nothing here that approaches
> the awesome gospel finale of Glory Road, but it continued to show
> how Rabin wasn’t just an action writer and in fact had evolved into a
> pretty good orchestral composer.

> Apparently this is similar to Rabin’s Remember The Titans score,
> but I skipped that during the Media Ventures part of the rundown since it
> wasn’t released. Something to fix later.

> Amazingly, of Rabin’s four sports movie scores up to this point this was
> the only one to receive a standalone album release.

Yup, agreed again. All of his sports scores are in the category for me “easy listening when I don’t know what else to listen to”. Titans is probably the best though.


> The Guardian (2006) - **
> Trevor Rabin; add’l music by Paul Linford, Don Harper & David
> Reynolds; orchestrations by Rabin,
> Gordon Goodwin, Tom Calderaro & Frank Macchia; conducted by Gordon
> Goowdin; ‘Never Let Go’
> written by Bryan Adams, Eliot Kennedy & Trevor Rabin with arrangements
> by Trevor Rabin & Jennifer Hammond

> RC discovery #23.

> The Guardian, the last film directed by The Fugitive helmer
> Andrew Davis, was considered by critics to be a dutiful story about U.S.
> Coast Guard rescuers (the filmmakers even included actual servicemembers
> in the supporting cast) but also one terribly derivative of other military
> movies, and it only did marginal business over summer 2006. Trevor Rabin’s
> score serves its film well enough, but as a standalone listening
> experience it’s surprisingly dull. Lots of stretches are very understated
> or feature basically sufficient meandering dramatic material. The opening
> track is pretty cool, “Southern elements” for the scenes in New
> Orleans are present in a few tracks, and the climactic action material
> does feature a slightly more active orchestral presence, but it’s all in
> the service of something that’s shockingly anonymous (save maybe for the
> vocals by Liz Constantine). It’s nothing you haven’t heard Rabin do before
> - and for the most part it lacks the cheap thrills of Japanese composer
> Naoki Sato’s music for the 2004 film Umizaru (which was supposedly
> an inspiration for this film).

> Only seven minutes of Rabin’s score made the song-heavy commercial album
> (along with a Bryan Adams song he helped write); the full 90+ minutes
> eventually leaked out as a bootleg.

Funny, I started listening to this one again last night, wondering why it was one of the few big Rabin scores I never liked that much. And I think you hit the nail on the head, it’s all serviceable but also quite anonymous. Just lacks a big thematic personality which didn’t usually happen with him.


> Happy Feet (2006) - ****½
> John Powell; additional arranging & programming by John Ashton
> Thomas & James McKee Smith;
> orchestrated by John Ashton Thomas, Jessica Wells, James K Lee & Kevin
> Kliesch;
> additional music preparation Germaine Franco; orchestra conducted by David
> Stanhope & Brett Weymark;
> choir conducted by Brett Weymark; songs produced by John Powell, Gavin
> Greenaway & Butch Walker;
> ‘Adelie Rap’ written by Edgar Garcia p/k/a Paco, Germaine Franco, Daniel
> Lerner and John Powell;
> ‘My Way’ Spanish translation by Germaine Franco & Daniel Lerner

> John Powell: ”I think Happy Feet was a dream project.”

> A jukebox musical about singing and dancing penguins dealing with climate
> change, directed by the guy who gave us the Mad Max franchise,
> seems like something someone dreamed up on an acid trip. But the
> delightful execution, impressive animation, and catchy soundtrack overcame
> the strangeness of the concept to make George Miller’s film a worldwide
> hit. Even my grandfather seemed to adore the movie, which was a huge
> surprise. The film was in development for a long time, with composer John
> Powell joining in early 2003.

> ”I spent a day with George, and he asked me to do Mad Max 4 (didn't
> happen) and Happy Feet. The music is suggested in the script, but not
> specifically in any way. So we'd start with an idea, I'd do something,
> then he'd react, and so on and so forth for four years. Even if it wasn't
> my idea for a song, I had to make it work. If the lyrics were good, but
> the song sounded (in its original form) opposite to what we wanted, I
> [tried] to turn it into something different. We tried it with a lot of
> numbers. Every experiment was useful. Some things ended up in the bin,
> which is a shame, but if it didn't have a dramatic reason to be in the
> film, it wasn't just going to be in there. Pretty much everything that we
> got [with] artists made it to the soundtrack album. Some things made it to
> the end title when they had been part of an earlier version of the
> film.”

> The trial-and-error process of experimenting with different songs resulted
> in over six hours of demo arrangements and recordings with actual artists,
> even though only about 25 minutes of songs ended up in the final film.
> Even the famous singer-songwriter Prince would submit a song at the last
> minute. Powell would refer to the challenge of pulling off all this AND an
> hour of score as “a four-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.” Regardless,
> the song selections and arrangements work like gangbusters.

> “[I’d] realize I need to get from one song to another [with] a bridge
> section. So then I'd start working on the score, just as a placeholder
> sometimes. There were cases where the score had to be written earlier than
> normal [to prove] the value of the songs around it and [make] the whole
> section work. Then later on I started properly on the score and created
> the major themes.”

> There’s so much different stuff going on with this score that trying to
> come up with some succinct summary statement is likely folly - but gosh,
> check out all those highlights! Powell’s first track of full score remains
> a marvelously imposing work, The Huddle bellowing harsh choral
> takes on a resilient melody. The first 30 seconds of Wives Ho drops
> in some electric guitar coolness amidst a female choir singing the same
> theme. A lot of the action material plays like a natural extension of his
> action tracks from the earlier Ice Age sequel, maybe with 10% of
> the barnstorming ruckus of X-Men thrown in. Powell had a 600-piece
> choir in some cases, which lends a magnificent scope to the aforementioned
> Huddle and tracks involving humanity like Finding Aliens and
> Helicopter. And there really isn’t anything else in film music
> history quite like the climactic dance music scene - the choir and the
> tap-dancing all integrating into one bizarre, fascinating collision of
> sounds.

> Powell’s Latin bent in other scores might strike folks as anachronistic,
> but here it actually makes sense, at least as far as Adélie penguins
> speaking in Robin Williams’ Spanish accent makes sense. Tracks like the
> bouncy Adelieland and the mariachi-inflected Bob’s LED are
> delightful, though if you add up those, some other gospel moments, and the
> many other stylistic influences you get a wildly divergent listening
> experience that might push the work short of greatness for some listeners.
> But there’s a difference between having a lot of stylistic influences and
> toggling between them every 30 seconds; the score stays in each mode for a
> decent while, and it shouldn’t give most people whiplash.

> Working with entirely Australian performers (mainly the Sydney Symphony)
> for the score did create some logistical challenges. “There’s not a
> huge range of films being made down there that they can just drop
> everything and work on a film for a week. So you have to work around their
> schedule. We could only get them for one or two sessions a day perhaps.
> The rest of the day they might be rehearsing or playing a concert. So one
> day I might just have the percussion section while the rest of the
> orchestra were rehearsing Mozart. We did a lot of brass on Sundays.”

> Powell’s score was released separately from nearly all of the songs, and
> while this likely made sense from a marketing perspective there are subtle
> things you only notice when the whole thing is sequenced together - for
> example, the first fifteen seconds of Fish are taken up by a
> woodwind arrangement of the preceding Beach Boys song Do It Again.
> And something like Boogie Wonderland is almost half-score anyway.
> You really don’t absorb the full value of the songs and the score unless
> they’re together (whether on film or as a standalone listen). That’s worth
> another half-star in my book. Not released anywhere - the opening medley
> which mashes up several songs and includes some unreleased score material
> in the background.

> “For four years I [did] Happy Feet on and off [while] working on other
> films – I think I [did] twelve films in the meantime. Every score I did
> while I was working with George got better. For me it was like getting a
> Master’s degree. He has an incredibly honest and clear way of explaining
> what he’s trying to do. I’d say United 93 was definitely better because I
> did this film. Even though I sometimes call it my ‘hobby film’ because I
> was paid very little money in the first place and then [did] it for four
> years – I think we worked it out to be $6 an hour.”

To be honest…this one never really clicked with me. I also think the movie was super overrated - at the time it was just the weird and unsatisfying last act that bugged me, but rewatching it last year with the wife, we were both surprised how little we enjoyed it. The story is just a mess and doesn’t seem to know where to go or what to focus on.


> A Good Year (2006) - ***
> Marc Streitenfeld; orchestrated by Bruce Fowler; conducted by Nick
> Ingman

> “I worked for Hans for three and a half years, and then I pretty much
> had enough from film music. I was just wiped out. I needed a break and I
> was running away from film music by then. But I recovered and found
> interest again.”

> RC discovery #24.

> Ridley Scott would seem an odd match to direct a romantic comedy, though
> the original impetus for the film had less to do with the genre and more
> to do with him wanting to make a film near his house in France. Critics
> soundly dismissed the movie as an odd fit for both Scott and lead actor
> Russell Crowe, and it did only margin business in theaters. Today it’s
> perhaps most notable for being the debut score for longtime
> behind-the-scenes contributor at MV / RC Marc Streitenfeld. “I never
> worked as a composer when I was [at Media Ventures in the early days]. It
> was really just Hans, myself and an engineer, and that was pretty much it.
> So it was a much smaller team than the thing it is now. I worked with
> Ridley on many films before as a music editor and music supervisor and he
> just asked me one day, ‘Have you ever thought of writing music?’ He
> encouraged me to give it a go for A Good Year and that’s how it started.
> That was the first score that I ever wrote. That’s a funny start, doing
> [my] first score right for Ridley Scott.”

> Three suites of Streitenfeld’s music would make the song-heavy CD release.
> The pervasive sound throughout the score is a kind of laid back guitar
> cool. There’s an occasional lounge feel and whimsy not dissimilar to what
> we heard a few years earlier in Matchstick Men. Some tapping
> percussion, acoustic guitar strumming, and accordion are scattered
> throughout. A small string orchestra appears at times. Some of this stuff
> wouldn’t have been out of place in the later music for The Holiday
> by Zimmer & team. Probably the most interesting part of the music is
> when wordless vocals start supporting an easygoing string melody in the
> middle of Wisdom. It’s simple music on the whole, but it’s
> functional and occasionally quite charming.

> “Comedy -- not just in terms of music, but I think in terms of pacing
> and filmmaking -- it’s very fragile and there’s a lot of fine tuning
> involved, very tricky to get the right balance, the right pacing.”

> The relationship would pay dividends for Streitenfeld - he would score
> Scott’s next four films plus a later TV series Scott produced.

Streitenfeld is one of those rare composers who has disappointed me every single time at bat. Even his best, like Robin Hood, I’m left thinking how much better it would’ve been with someone else composing.


> Click (2006) - Not heard
> Rupert Gregson-Williams; add’l music by Clay Duncan & Tony Clarke;
> orchestrated by Rick Giovinazzo; conducted by Blake Neely

> “If I score the comedy [of the scene] too much, Adam will say, ‘you
> know I hate that.’”

> This, Rupert’s first collaboration with Adam Sandler, would be enormously
> consequential for his career. He would score I Now Pronounce You Chuck
> & Larry
with Sandler and Kevin James the following year, and has
> since provided music for another eighteen films starring Sandler and/or
> James. Amazingly, only one of those (Bedtime Stories) appears to
> have received a score album release - going off of Rupert’s Spotify
> profile, you’d almost think he didn’t do anything in the seven years
> between Bee Movie and Winter’s Tale!

> Déjà Vu (2006) - ***
> Harry Gregson-Williams; add’l music by Toby Chu; featured vocalist Macy
> Gray;
> music programmers Nick Glennie-Smith, Hybrid, Stephen Barton & Clay
> Duncan;
> orchestrations by Ladd McIntosh & Bruce Fowler; conducted by Harry
> Gregson-Williams;
> ‘Chase Prodigy Remix #1’ and ‘Chase Prodigy Remix #2’ by Hybrid

> RC discovery #25.

> “Tony camps out at my studio for the last six weeks of post-production
> and we’re working together right through the bitter end.”

> This time-traveling investigative love story starring Denzel Washington
> and Paula Patton in her earliest substantial role made decent money and
> got decent reviews, though it seems most notable today for the quite
> aggressive comments its screenwriters made about how they felt director
> Tony Scott had bastardized their script. The film would also reunite Scott
> and composer Harry Gregon-Williams with the composer’s (least) favorite
> torture master: producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “We came a little bit full
> circle. We hadn’t worked together for him since Enemy of the State. Jerry
> was mostly concerned with the love story.”
A New York Times profile of
> Bruckheimer released before the film detailed some of their interactions -
> one in which Jerry asked for the theme for Denzel’s character to appear
> during a loud chase scene so the audience didn’t ”zone out” and
> another where Jerry got on Harry for ending a melody early (“you didn’t
> finish it and if you did, I’d be happy”
). Readers will note that this
> was the second time this decade Bruckheimer would place paramount
> importance on the love story in his movie, Pearl Harbor being the
> first.

> “The first scene I really had to nail was the second time Denzel [is]
> kind of spying on the girl, and he really starts being floored by her
> beauty. It’s a strange sensation. Writing for Tony’s movies, it’s always
> subtext. There’s always something else going on beyond what you’re just
> looking at, and when I first wrote that theme I was surprised that Tony
> pulled me back from some of the sonically interesting things I was doing
> that surrounded the theme—it was necessary for me to be much clearer and
> more straightforward than perhaps I had been on any of Tony’s other
> scores.”

> Scott/HGW collaborations are usually an acquired taste to listen to on
> their albums, though this one is decidedly less experimental than the
> earlier Man on Fire and Domino and thus much easier to
> appreciate as a standalone listen. You never get the sense that they’re
> trying to jump to a different idea every 10 seconds or cram 50 different
> musical genres into an hour. It’s still very heavily weighted towards
> electronics and synths and loops, so if you’re more of a “traditional”
> orchestral film score fan this will likely not be for you. But it manages
> to maintain a nice groove throughout, the atmospheric passages have enough
> activity going on that I didn’t get bored, and there’s ever so often a
> jazzy noir hint in the background to suggest the New Orleans location
> (muted trumpets, Macy Gray’s voice, etc.). There’s a soothing love theme
> played every so often and between that and some other dramatic material
> you get something that plays like 75% a typical Tony Scott score, 15% an
> understated version of the mannerisms Harry developed on Kingdom of
> Heaven
and Narnia a year prior, and 10% noir mystery.

> If there’s a frustration, it’s that the music doesn’t do more to
> suggest moving forward and backward in time. Harry would reverse the sound
> of a piano theme at the start of the movie, but it doesn’t seem to inform
> a ton of the rest of the score (at least not explicitly). Gregson-Williams
> would concede there were limits to what he could do - “I couldn’t use a
> theremin there because someone would have set fire to my studio.”

> Also - yup, there’s another album-ending remix here.

> Need for Speed: Carbon (2006) - **½
> Trevor Morris; add’l music by T.J. Lindgren & Todd Haberman

> RC discovery #26.

> First the game industry tried to get Hans Zimmer. Then they got Harry
> Gregson-Williams. Then they got Harry’s brother Rupert, Jim Dooley, and
> Paul Linford. Now, for the tenth iteration of the Need for Speed
> franchise, the game industry would grab Trevor Morris - giving him his
> first prominent lead gig. You have to wonder if the producers had the
> prior year’s Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift on their minds,
> because a good chunk of this plays like the music Brian Tyler would write
> for that franchise - the electronic grooves, the bombastic instrumental
> hits on repeated notes, the banging percussion. But here you also get
> plenty of moments that recall Trevor Rabin’s Media Ventures heyday
> (similar to what Paul Linford did a year earlier on the last Need for
> Speed
game), as well as early Mark Mancina action works like
> Speed and Bad Boys, as well as a few moments where Morris
> carries over specialty instruments from The Last Samurai. The end
> result is nearly 40 minutes of anonymous cool that sounds almost entirely
> sampled but is rarely obnoxious, though one moment of chopped-up vocals in
> the third canyon race might bother some folks.

> “The process is very complex because you have to think non-linearly. TV
> and movies have a start and an end. Video-games are chopped down in pieces
> and then you move around like in a Rubik’s cube and different music has to
> appear. So the approach is to make sure you understand how the music is
> going to be used, and sometimes, to see if it loops smoothly and can be
> put in little boxes. It’s a complicated process, and now that I know how
> to do it it’s ok…but at first, it was very tricky! I credit the great gang
> at EA for being patient with me as I ‘learned’ how to write for
> games.”

I bought both this and the Linford one back in the day, cause I’m high school electronic action music was my jam. Haven’t heard either in many years.

> Not to be confused with a separate album of songs released by house artist
> Ekstrak.

> —------------------------------------

> Next time: “You’ll fit in right with the rest of the Eurotrash down
> there.”

Love it bud! Been way more Rabin than I was expecting after constantly skipping him in the beginning haha.

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