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Pacific Rim
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:
Ramin Djawadi

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith
Jasper Randall

Orchestrated by:
Stephen Coleman
Tony Blondal
Andrew Kinney
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WaterTower Music
(June 18th, 2013)
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Regular U.S. release, primarily distributed via download but later also availabile through's "CDr on demand" service.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are able to accept that fact that not all scores for juvenile, blockbuster robot and/or monster movies are created equal, Ramin Djawadi providing far more intelligence for this entry than you hear in similarly conceived projects.

Avoid it... if the prejudices you hold towards rocking electric guitars, chanting male choruses, foghorn blasts, and mournful female vocals do not allow you to appreciate circumstances in which they are applied at their very best.
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WRITTEN 7/6/13
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Pacific Rim: (Ramin Djawadi) Thanks mostly to the imaginations of the Japanese, the "mecha" and "Kaiju" genres of films have flourished since the 1950's, delighting audiences with depictions of metropolitan destruction far more entertaining than the typical war story. Rarely in the mainstream have you seen the giant monsters of the Kaiju variety battling the massive human-driven robots of the "mecha" world, however, and the 2013 American movie Pacific Rim seeks to bring those concepts together. It postulates that in the future, alien-like monsters rise from the depths of the Pacific Ocean with the intent to haunt the nightmares of insurance company executives. As expected, they pillage, sack, and destroy with awesome visual methodology. But those pesky humans dedicate all their resources to creating big "mecha" robots that they climb into and utilize to wage war against the nasties, setting up a wet dream of a conflict between Godzilla and the Transformers, essentially. The story makes even Independence Day seem intelligent, testing the limits of juvenility and logic while appealing to the rampant testicular hyperactivity of its target demographic. Such a movie, with the blessing of modern rendering technologies, is perfect for a large-scale parody, pitting robots and creatures with faces molded after Gene Wilder and Kelsey Grammer against each other, both requiring anatomical correctness that allows them to use their male appendages as additional weapons or vulnerabilities. Now that would be worth watching. As for Pacific Rim, all hope rests upon director Guillermo del Toro to deliver more than simple metallic eye candy. He wanted to honor the "mecha" and "Kaiju" traditions without mocking them, and to that end he sought a more balanced musical identity in the film than what you heard from Steve Jablonsky for the Transformers franchise. Impressed with Ramin Djawadi's varied work for television and film (his music for the series "Game of Thrones" has garnered significant positive attention), del Toro hired the veteran of Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions to provide a truly hybrid orchestral and electronic score. In these circumstances, one would certainly have expected Djawadi to emulate the Jablonsky mould or simply rehash his stale, ineffective tone from the original Iron Man. After all, does Pacific Rim really require or deserve any better? Interestingly, the composer decided to step up his blobkbuster sound for the occasion, yielding a surprisingly complex and engaging score that steps beyond the label of "guilty pleasure" with which some will inevitably label it.

The ingredients that Djawadi calls upon for Pacific Rim are exactly as expected. An orchestra without a woodwind section (aside from a flute soloist), electric guitars played by Tom Morello and George Doerning, electronic sound design by a Remote Control veteran, a deep male chorus, enhanced bass region brass emphasis, a female vocal soloist for lamentation, an erhu soloist for an exotic touch, and many of Zimmer's usual crew are present. From this list, you'd expect Djawadi to lay waste to the soundscape with generic, occasionally insufferable noise. But he doesn't, and what Pacific Rim finally proves, along with a few other distinctive scores, is that the stereotypical ensemble collected for these occasions doesn't necessarily have to produce stereotypically asinine results. Djawadi has managed to take these elements and infuse them with a more expansive thematic tapestry, complex musical techniques (including counterpoint and quick, rhythmic variations, both shunned by Zimmer during this era), and, most importantly, a sense of style. This music is, quite frankly, what one could imagine Brian Tyler executing rather than anyone associated with Remote Control, and it's therefore a refreshing change of pace that manages to stir the loins using ultra-masculine force without completely sacrificing smart musical design. That said, is this composition anywhere close to matching those of modern day maestros? Of course not. But it achieves menace, awe, and coolness without bashing the listener over the head, and that victory alone warrants significant praise for Djawadi, as does the apparent fact that he didn't employ a dozen ghostwriters from the production house to flesh out the score, either. There may be criticism from some listeners regarding the somewhat retro style that the composer decided to employ with his primary theme for Pacific Rim. It has a distinctive 1960's television vibe going for it, thanks to the movements of its melody, and it therefore has hints of Lalo Schfrin in its demeanor. Why Djawadi decided upon this route is uncertain, though it remains applicable because of the straight forward rock aspects of the baseline and electric guitar performances under the brassy melody. The opening guitar riff in "Pacific Rim," followed by the underlying, nicely staggered rhythms and the main melody of that concert-like arrangement of the theme, will also recall portions of famous rock songs, though not to the detriment of this score's effectiveness. In some ways, the theme sounds like a harder offshoot of Alan Silvestri's 2012 score for The Avengers, and by association it makes one wonder if this theme for Pacific Rim wouldn't have been a good fit for Djawadi's Iron Man.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.15 Stars
***** 155 5 Stars
**** 166 4 Stars
*** 167 3 Stars
** 146 2 Stars
* 109 1 Stars
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Pacific Rim
Adam Chaytor - December 1, 2013, at 6:15 p.m.
1 comment  (1253 views)
Fantastic Score!
Zakblue - October 26, 2013, at 9:03 a.m.
1 comment  (1107 views)
Very Nicely Said
Brendan Cochran - August 14, 2013, at 7:59 p.m.
1 comment  (1214 views)
Missing cue/tracks?   Expand >>
Saiful - July 19, 2013, at 1:04 a.m.
2 comments  (2149 views)
Newest: July 21, 2013, at 8:40 a.m. by
Brendan Cochran
Capsule review at Movie Wave
Southall - July 13, 2013, at 11:29 a.m.
1 comment  (934 views)
Wait a minute....!   Expand >>
Edward - July 8, 2013, at 2:34 a.m.
12 comments  (4601 views)
Newest: July 18, 2013, at 4:27 p.m. by
Richard Kleiner

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 57:41
• 1. Pacific Rim (4:55)
• 2. Gipsy Danger (3:19)
• 3. Canceling the Apocalypse (3:39)
• 4. Just a Memory (2:08)
• 5. 2500 Tons of Awesome (1:05)
• 6. The Shatterdome (2:31)
• 7. Mako (4:24)
• 8. Call Me Newt (1:43)
• 9. Jaeger Tech (1:58)
• 10. To Fight Monsters, We Created Monsters (2:04)
• 11. Better Than New (1:41)
• 12. We Are the Resistance (1:49)
• 13. Double Event (2:28)
• 14. Striker Eureka (1:55)
• 15. Physical Compatibility (2:32)
• 16. Category 5 (2:17)
• 17. Pentecost (2:12)
• 18. Go Big or Go Extinct (2:25)
• 19. Hannibal Chau (1:34)
• 20. For My Family (1:58)
• 21. No Pulse (0:58)
• 22. Kaiju Groupie (1:15)
• 23. Deep Beneath the Pacific (1:55)
• 24. The Breach (3:15)
• 25. We Need a New Weapon (1:41)

Notes Icon
The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film. As in many of's "CDr on demand" products, the packaging smells incredibly foul when new.
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