Thursday, January 30, 2014

Twilight Movie Trailer

            The movie Twilight is an extremely popular film that is based on the best-selling novel by Stephanie Meyer.  The movie is about a vampire named Edward Cullen who falls in love with Bella Swan, a human. Their love for each other puts both of them in serious danger because they are practically from different worlds. In order for them to be together, Edward needs to protect Bella from both other vampires and himself. There are many romance songs playing throughout the film during Bella and Edward’s love scenes. The movie also has a lot of upbeat songs playing in action scenes and more dramatic scenes.
            Chapter five of Understanding Movies says “The faster the tempo of sound, the greater the tension produced in the listener” (Louis Giannetti, p.8).  In the movie, there is a scene where Edward Cullen and his vampire family are playing baseball. However, it was not like a typical baseball game because the vampires are extremely strong and fast. During this scene, a song called “Supermassive Black Hole” by the band Muse is playing in order to make the scene more intense. This scene needed to be intense because any sports game is intense. The baseball scene is also leading up to the climax of the movie so it clearly needed a song with a faster beat to appeal to the pathos of the audience. Muse is a famous band so it also appeals to the ethos of the audience. Fans of the band are likely to get excited during this scene and enjoy the movie even more. This song makes the scene more convincing because if they had just been playing baseball without music the audience wouldn’t have been so thrilled.
            According to Louis Giannetti in Understanding Movies, “Characterization can be suggested through musical motifs” (p.16). In Twilight, Edward Cullen writes a song for Bella titled “Edward’s Lullaby” which was actually composed by Carter Burwell. The song is played throughout the entire film in different scenes. There is one scene where Edward plays the song for Bella on his piano while she watches him play adoringly. The song is very calm and beautiful and emits a romantic tone to audience. This appeals to the logos of the audience because it shows them it is a movie about romance. The rhythm of the song also characterizes Edward as the lonely and thoughtful person he is, because he was the type of person who would keep to himself before he met Bella.
            The Twilight soundtrack is very well adapted into the film. It even won a Teen Choice Award for “choice soundtrack” and one of the songs by Paramore was nominated for a Grammy. I love the songs that were chosen because they make the movie even more romantic than it already is. I feel that it is important for a romance movie to have the right songs so the audience can really feel what the characters are going through. Twilight is one of my favorite books and movies and I would definitely recommend it!


James Bond is a billion dollar movie series running from 1962 all the way to 2012 with the release of the latest Bond, Skyfall. I am a pretty big 007 fan and have seen all of the films to date. The most recent film, Skyfall, had an outstanding soundtrack composed by Tomas Newman. Newman has been composing since the 1980s and has won many awards. These awards include a Grammy and a BAFTA award as well as a nomination for an Academy Award for his work in Skyfall.

When most people think of James Bond movies and music they think of the famous introduction video that accompanies each film. While I could easily talk about the introduction music video sung by Adelle, I would rather dissect a specific scene. This scene is about 45 minutes into the movie when Bond, played by Daniel Craig, begins his mission in Shanghai, China.

Bond follows a man from the airport to a tall office building downtown where he follows the man inside. As bond watches the man from his car the song, “Jellyfish” begins with a slow medium pitched violin. As he enters the building shakers begin to play to speed up the tempo of the music and add a mysterious and upbeat sound. Bond watches the man get on an elevator and the string instruments begin to speed up and become higher pitched to make the viewer ready for something exciting about to happen. Moments later Bond runs after the climbing elevator to jump up and grab hold underneath. As soon as he grabs on a quick loud note is played followed by a fast much deeper melody being played by the strings accompanied by a deep horn of some sort. Then as the elevator climbs the building and you see how tall it is the music exponentially gets loud with the use of some brass instruments to show the audience how big and grand the building is. As the elevator climbs Bond loses a grip for a second and loud, scratchy horns play to make the moment intense. As the elevator reaches the top the music softens and the strings fade out. It is dark and a soft piano begins to play. The use of the piano and its soft notes makes it seem very quiet. The only thing that makes noise is the gun that the man is putting together which is made louder than the music to make the audience aware that it is important in the scene. Then the man is then shown pointing the gun out of a window and aiming it at someone in a building across the street. The music very quickly picks back up with loud progressive strings that make everything intense. As the man shoots the gun the music immediately goes silent.

This scene is very special and really shows how music adds to a movie. In this scene there is zero talking and the only noise that the audience hears is the music and brief sound effects. There is an obvious ethos and logos argument that Tomas Newman is a famous composer and therefor credible and a logical choice for making the music behind the film. However the music that goes along with this scene is impressive and really connects to the viewer and contains a pathos appeal because it is full of emotion. The way the music is played, whether fast, slow, loud, or soft it is goes along perfectly with the film to make the audience feel what is going on in the scene. The quote at the top of chapter 5 in Understanding Movies explains my thoughts perfectly, “Cinematic sound … does not simply add to, but multiplies, two or three times, the effect of the image.” –Akria Kurosawa.

Godzilla Soundtrack

Godzilla Soundtrack

When it comes to music, the movie Godzilla is definitely most known for the hit single “Godzilla” by Blue Oyster Cult. You think of the song and the huge beast and begin to imagine a movie with thrilling scenes accompanied with hard hitting rock and roll to intensify the suspense and destruction.  However, the song by the Blue Oyster Cult is not even on the soundtrack. Rather, the movie uses several tracks featuring orchestra instruments. One scene that music helps intensify a mood of suspense, is when Godzilla makes his way onto land and steps foot on downtown New York City. This scene is quiet as an old man begins to fish, then it's followed by the faint sounds of string instruments. The music gets more intense, faster, and louder as Godzilla gets closer. Combined with the sound of water and massive waves, one’s mood changes from calm too excited and a bit of fear trails into the mind as we begin to see how massive and what Godzilla really is.

Another interesting scene where music influences ones mood is Godzilla’s death. Prior to being killed Godzilla has tormented New York City and destroyed several military tanks, aircraft, missiles, etc. One’s blood is pumping with excitement and anxious to what Godzilla’s next move is. Humans are able to trap Godzilla and this is exciting, cool, we caught it, but then the music starts. Rather than a fast passed rock and roll song, like “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, the scene is blitzed with a string instrument song. It creates a scene of sadness and lost hope. One begins to feel for this massive creature and the scientist who discovered the creature was pregnant and fending for her young.  

The music used in this movie reminds a lot of what composer Gabriel Yard wrote about. He wrote, "When I write music for a film. I try to connect with its spirit rather than working shot, by shot.” With this movie I can feel how and why the music for Godzilla was chosen. Godzilla is already a creature that gets the blood pumping and fills the room with suspense and excitement. The music used throughout the movie helps calm the viewer, even if it’s for a brief moment before Godzilla unleashes hell on New York, then Godzilla’s actions bring the excitement back up. In the end I think the music works well, it helps connect the viewer to Godzilla as a huge pet that needs to be taken care of, rather than a monster.

                                                                   Godzilla Arrives

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Glory Road Soundtrack Evaluation

Glory Road

Disney’s, “Glory Road,” is a movie based on a true story that encompasses the truth, struggle and victory of an all black male basketball team from El Paso, Texas. Along with a story that showed the behind the scenes aspect of an all black basketball team, there were also key elements, such as music and sound, that added to the emotion of certain scenes and created a sense of feeling to the watcher, or me I should say. I will explain two scenes from the movie that shows humor and “teary-eyed” happiness that are accompanied by certain genres of music.
Before I get started, I have seen this movie several times. But until I was forced to actually listen to the type of music in the background, I was very surprised as to the amount of songs that DIDN’T have words… Needless to say I was upset. But I soon got over it after a couple tissues and some chocolate…
The first scene I would like to talk about is a scene when the basketball team is on a winning streak. They are feeling good, they are rolling in the wins and just feeling extra spicy. The beginning of the scene starts out with one of the older coaches who is singing and old country song that is barely recognizable. After being heckled, one of the white players holds up a portable music player and he plays a very boring, monotonous song… Within seconds, the black players sarcastically turn off his music and the attention turns to a black player in the very back of the bus who says, “You guys need to get with this…” The song he plays is a jam, very upbeat and obviously one to dance to because the lyrics say, “Were dancing in the street. Down in Chicago and New Orleans. And in New York City!” As this song is being played, it is showing little clips of victories the team is accomplishing on the road and little clips of the players actually dancing on the bus. So this song choice adds a sense of happiness and ease to the watcher knowing that what the team is accomplishing is making them feel good and it also made me feel good… and it made me want to dance. And I did. Anyways, moving on…
The next clip is at the very end of the movie when the team has arrived at the airport back home with the NCAA championship trophy in hand. As they arrive, the song that is playing is singing these lyrics… “People get ready, there is a train a’comin. You don’t have to worry, you just get on board…” This scene shows a sense of accomplishment and reluctantly makes the watcher sit back in their seat and grin because you see how happy the players are in that moment. It is a rather slow song, but is has a very happy vibe to it.
Overall, this movie has a vast majority of non lyrical songs,(which angered me), but it also accompanied by old school gospel songs that just make you feel good inside. And I think that is what the producer wanted, to make you feel good in the end. I personally really like this movie but was slightly disappointed in the soundtrack. I still like it though. It’s a classic! Go watch it… seriously… do it.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl Soundtrack

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

“Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me”
                                                                                                -Captain Jack Sparrow

Two-Time Global Film Music award winner, Pirates of the Caribbean, has laid down the foundation as one of the most prominent soundtracks of the 21st century.  The incorporation of a variety of different, seemingly incompatible, musical instruments into one orchestration established a new era for music soundtracks. This specific genre of music is communicated without the use of words, but appeals to individuals in a unique and special way. A different style of music had emerged. Often times people say, “Orchestra music cannot be explained, but simply envisioned”. This magnificent soundtrack incorporates a plethora of different rhetorical devices known as ethos, pathos, and logos.
In the beginning scenes of the movie, the song that is played is known as “The Medallion Calls”. This particular orchestrated song introduces the star of the movie Captain Jack Sparrow and is repeated throughout as the characters leitmotif. This song is introduced as a mournful tune before rising heroically, and ending the track with a waltzing melody. It resembles the Pirates origins and the importance and beliefs of their heritage, backgrounds, and motives. According to a French Composer, Gabriel Yard, “Orchestra’s capture the majesty, and freedom of flight as lush noble themes”(Music & Mood 1). The powerful influence that an orchestra conveys is one that can enable any member of the audience to visualize the true meaning of the scenes being depicted. This particular orchestration, led by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer, holds an ethos characteristic of credibility since both directors are idolized and respected by the musical industry. The individuality of the instruments in this particular soundtrack are muted as the sounds come together to create one magnificent masterpiece.  
            Now, for the moment we have all been waiting for: The song that fills our hearts and minds with creativity and imagination identified as part of the top ten most idolized and memorable theme songs, the one and only “He’s a Pirate”. This is the theme song that represents the Pirates of the Caribbean’s franchise and is honored all across the nation. It is featured at the end of each film, and is the first song heard as the end credits roll. Every time I listen to this song I feel a sense of emotion, thrill, and excitement flow through my veins. Throughout the song, there are sounds that resemble heroic and gallant actions creating the feeling of conquering heroes fulfilling their mission and defeating their enemies. The soundtrack is so fast, I wish there were more slow pace moments that would allow an audience to reminisce about their past experiences and remarkable journeys. Despite this minor concern, I am able to use rational interpretation to identify the time period that these scenes are trying to convey by listening carefully to the soundtrack.  The strong use of logos throughout the movie enables the audience to unconsciously rely on rationality and reason to understand that every sound is created for the logical purpose of supporting the creativity and imagination of the film. Al Gore once said, “Common sense: Just look around and look at the evidence” (Everything’s an Argument 57).  It makes sense that is why this is a great film. 
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl is established as one of the most well rounded films of the 21st century.  I believe this movie laid a pathway for future music soundtracks and left behind a legacy of an action packed thriller that will go down as one of the most successful franchises that has ever been created.  I rate this epic phenomenon a 4 out of 5 Slurpee’s and hope that my comments on this film and soundtrack will inspire individuals all across the nation to open up their ears to a new musical experience.  

Star Wars IV Soundtrack

The Star Wars IV soundtrack is iconic and the songs are deeply connected to the Star Wars legacy.  The famous soundtrack can’t be heard without thinking of the Star Wars movies and the characters in the trilogy.  The music from the film was composed and conducted by John Williams and was preformed by the London Symphony Orchestra.  John Williams has composed music for some of the biggest movies ever made, such as Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and the Star Wars saga.  The soundtrack is Academy Award-winning and Golden Globe Award-winning both for Best Original Score.  The music still resonates 30 years later.  The genre of the Star Wars soundtrack is classical.  The movie soundtrack originally became available to the market on vinyl record.

The first song you hear in the opening of the first Star Wars movie is called the Main Title and it accompanies the beginning credits of the film.  The song starts out energetic and adds a layer of suspense to follow in the film.  This song fits the backstory credits and opening scene very well.  Without any music this scene would be too long and boring.  This song has a very proud emotion about it and it grabs your attention.

“Music can be used as foreshadowing, especially when dramatic context doesn’t permit a director to prepare an audience for an event.” – Ch. 5 Sound.pdf  Pg. 14 

The next song Imperial Attack is heard when Storm Troopers board the rebel’s spaceship and kills all the rebels.  As the quote suggests this song is used to foreshadow the coming of Darth Vader.  The music adds the emotion of fear as well as a level of mystery as Darth Vader is seen for the first time.  Trumpets are heard and the song is in your face loud.

Later on in the movie, strange creatures in the Cantina Bar perform music.  This song is upbeat and energizing and sets a jazzy mood.

 The final song of the film is called Throne Room.  It plays loud and victoriously over the scene.  It celebrates the victory of Luke Skywalker and the rebels.  This song has an adventurous emotion about it.  This song is heard with lots of brass instruments, drums, and clashing of symbols.  This song is followed by the end credits and completes the movie.  This song is grand and ending like.       

The soundtrack goes through many themes throughout the film and reflects the characters moods from dramatic to aggressive to heroic and even triumphant.  This soundtrack works perfectly with the film and helps transition scene to scene.  This soundtrack appeals to pathos, as it very emotional and dramatic.  Logos is also present because if you enjoyed any of the other films that John Williams composed the music for, the assumption is that you will like this one.  The music in the film helps to convince the audience of the story line and its characters.  Ethos is seen in how this great music keeps the film credible.  The music captures the magic of the film and helps us better imagine the Star Wars universe.

I have watched the film and it would just not be the same without this amazing soundtrack to accompany it.  I rate this movie soundtrack five slurpees.