Let me go on the record as saying that I love music. All sorts of music catches my attention, and if it’s catchy enough, it works its way into my ever-growing musical rotation. That rotation is so vast that I can literally go from classical to rock to jazz to hip hop to R & B to gospel and back again. This isn’t an exaggeration, mind you; this is legit. I bounce around all of those genres and maybe a few more here and there, and that’s because either the beat was catchy, I liked the lyrics or I was just plain-old goofy.
Of course, nothing holds a candle to the music of the movies for me. I can go to a movie and get lost in the score, forgetting that there is actually action on the screen. Those times are honestly remote, because a good composer makes music that fits what’s happening on the screen. Not only that, a great composer can make music that fits what’s happening on the screen even if there’s NOTHING THERE. With everything, I have my favorites, and here are the top five in my humble opinion that make music for the silver screen stand out and demand to be recognized.
His music has been timeless in cinema. You name a big event movie, you’ll hear his influence. He helped to make Star Wars into an epic series thanks to his rousing themes, he fleshed out Indiana Jones’ moods just as well as Harrison Ford, he captivated an audience with the same ferocity as the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, his soaring musical opus helped to make you believe a man could fly in Superman…the list goes on and on. John Williams is even responsible for the Olympic Theme you’ll be hearing in a few days on NBC, as well as the man responsible for both the Sunday Night Football theme and the NBC Nightly News theme. He is indeed a musical genius the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in quite some time.
If John Williams is the master of the cinematic epic, Hans Zimmer is the king of the summer blockbuster score. He’s been responsible for the most action packed scores in recent history, either by his hands or by those he’s mentored. He was responsible for bringing Jack Sparrow to life musically in the second and third movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, he provided the heart-pounding themes to the Sean Connery-Nicholas Cage opus The Rock, he made mutiny onboard a U.S. Navy submarine seem almost epic in Crimson Tide, and he teamed with James Newton Howard to give Batman his new theme in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. He even changed his style to provide the frenetic music behind the equally frenetic Sherlock Holmes. His style is bombastic, and it fits all too well with the movies he works with. That being said, it doesn’t mean he isn’t afraid to change his own style; after all, he also did the music for Driving Miss Daisy as well as The Simpsons Movie. Make of that what you will…
Formerly a member of the ’80s band Oingo Boingo (the band that wrote the song Weird Science), he branched off into the world of film composition and never looked back. He wrote the original Batman theme – which was interloped into Batman: The Animated Series (the best animated series ever), he gave the Spider-Man movies their charm, and he even did the music for The Simpsons, the original NFL on NBC theme, and Desperate Housewives. Looking back on it, he scored mostly all of Tim Burton’s movies, which mean they have a strong rapport, and that means they’re gonna be making music together for quite some time. This is good for the movies, and good for the people who love their work.
For those of you who watch Alias or Lost (I’m not one of them), then you know about Michael Giacchino’s work. For those of you who are gamers – specifically fans of the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series of games, you know his work. If you’ve seen Speed Racer, Star Trek, Up, Mission: Impossible III or Ratatouille, then you know his work. Michael Giacchino is one of the more prolific composers out there, his work stretching from multiple genres and leaving an indelible mark on each of them. His ironic naming nomenclature notwithstanding, he has proven himself to be en route to becoming one of the bests in the business.
He was the father of Star Trek music. His was synonymous with some of the greatest films of the era. Stagecoach. Planet of the Apes. Tora! Tora! Tora!. The Omen series. The Rambo series. Hoosiers. Basic Instinct. Mulan. The Sum of All Fears. The list in numerous, but the effect is everlasting. If there were a Mount Rushmore of composers, he would be there. He was a legend of the genre, and he is still missed to this day. He may be gone, but his legacy will live long…and prosper.