Spitfire take a look at a few movies coming out in 2017 and the composers involved.
Words by Joaquim Badia
Jóhann Jóhannsson will undoubtedly have a chance to demonstrate his musical versatility this year. The release of Mother! will be the composer’s first collaboration with Darren Aronofsky and the first film the director does without composer Clint Mansell. The psychological thriller follows the lives of a couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) as their peaceful existence is disrupted by some unwanted guests (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer). Much of the plot is still a mystery, but according to Aronofsky, this film most closely resembles Black Swan in spirit, so we can expect to be taken on a turbulent exploration through the grey areas between reality and fiction. The music will play an important role in this journey, and we can be sure that Jóhannsson will have found a way to marry his curated, minimalist sound with the demands of Aronofsky’s work, while at the same time filling Mansell’s boots! Not a month after the release of Mother!, we will be able to hear his soundtrack for Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Will Jóhannsson, with contributions from Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, live up to these unavoidably high expectations?
Words by Harnek Mudhar
Danny Elfman is no stranger to the super hero genre of films and television. Given the departure of Hans Zimmer from the ‘super hero’ world after Batman V Superman, and JXL no longer working on the Justice League film, Danny Elfman has taken the helm in bringing the DC Universe together on the big screen.
Set to try and rival the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Justice League takes place after the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, with Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince assembling a team of metahumans to take on the new threat of Steppenwolf. With many super hero films already under his belt (Spiderman, Avengers: Age Of Ultron etc.), arguably his most acclaimed is his score for the 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton. The main theme Elfman composed for this film set the path on becoming the theme for Batman. It has transcended over the years and references can still be heard, from the Batman: The Animated Series, to The Lego Batman video games. Given that we already have heard themes for Superman and Wonder Woman (with their respective solo films), we are still yet hear a definite Batman theme for this new universe. With Danny Elfman at the helm, this could be another iconic theme for the vigilante/hero. The Justice League is introducing new characters as well (The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg), all who have yet to have their screen debut. The challenge here seems to be giving each of these characters a voice in the music, and trying to tie them all together under one roof to make them sound like a team. In the new wave of super hero films, this seems to be a downfall - the lack of cohesion can be a deterrent from what is being shown on screen. Expectations are high for this film, and fans wait in anticipation to see if the coming of the Justice League has been worth the wait. With Danny Elfman on music duties, alongside Zach Synder and Joss Weadon, this is set to be a blockbuster. I for one cannot wait to hear how/if he tackles the theme for Batman, or if we will have to wait until the solo Batman film set to be released in the future.
Words by Loren Sunderland
The Snowman is the latest thriller directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and is based on the novel of the same name by Jo Nesbø. With an all-star cast featuring the likes of Michael Fassbender, J.K Simmons and Rebecca Ferguson, there’s no doubt we’ll be in for a treat.
Marco Beltrami is the composer for Alfredson’s film, and the soundtrack was recorded at AIR Studios, London. Beltrami has an impressive collection of scores under his belt for films such as Logan, Resident Evil, World War Z and Scream. So what can we expect from him this time?
The premise of the film is dark and twisted, so I should hope that we get our fix of Beltami’s hybrid of strings and synths. As well as this, the atmosphere he forms with his horror soundtracks always set the right tone for what you’re seeing on screen. I think what would be really interesting for The Snowman’s soundtrack, would be for some heavy, drawn out distorted phrases that hang over scenes emphasising the tension and terror. In parts, the tracks ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘Searching For Clues’ from World War Z are a great example of this.
Words by Joshua Thomas
2017 is the third year in a row we have been treated(?) to a new Star Wars movie. The franchise has gone from neutral to fifth, skipping all the other gears. With such a huge cult following, can you blame them? The Last Jedi follows Rey, having taken her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga! Apart from this, there is not much else that we know, we’ll just have to sit and wait in sanguine anticipation for the release of the film.
One thing that we do know, is that we have the pleasure of hearing yet more wonderful work from John Williams and his team. The trumpet fanfare blasting with C to G from the Main Title takes many of us back to being our younger selves, brimming with excitement; even now, I get goose bumps listening to it. What we can hear from William’s latest Star Wars adventures is the difference between the old generation and the new. Bringing back the classics including “Jedi”, “Stormtrooper” “Leia” and “Luke” themes, but hearing these alongside modern motifs including Rey’s and Finn’s. Prepare to hear more flute as the musical representation for Rey. We can also expect her theme to have developed since the last film, as she herself grows as a character. Another thing to listen out for is the “Lamenting Jedi” theme on the french horn. This should have a more prominent place as the name suggests. I for one cannot wait for a bit of Darth Vader / Kylo Ren / imperial march themed music! Let’s all hope for another classic from Lucas Films and all involved. May the force be with you.
Words by Oliver Patrice Weder
It - A film based on a novel by Stephen King and directed by Andrés Muschietti. The film will be scored by Benjamin Wallfisch, who has recently gained a place amongst the top ranking film scorers of Hollywood. 2017 brought him a Golden Globe nomination for Hidden Figures (together with Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer), as well as being selected to work on Blade Runner 2049 (with Johann Johannsson and Hans Zimmer) and, as mentioned, It.
Let me explain why this collaboration between Andrés Muschietti and Benjamin Wallfisch is going to absolutely blow our minds. Both are undoubtedly talented, young and enthusiastic, yet experienced in the genre. This is Muschietti’s second feature film, having turned his first one ‘Mama’ from a short film into a feature length, terrific horror movie with no less than Guillermo del Toro in the producer’s chair. To remind ourselves, del Toro directed the horror movie The Devil’s Backbone and the critically acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth, commenting on Muschietti’s first film that these were some of the scariest scenes he had ever seen. This sounds promising.
Although this is Muschietti’s and Wallfisch’s first project together, Wallfisch isn’t a new name on the horror scene. He had already established a relationship with horror film expert David F. Sandberg, and showed how he mastered the scores to Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation. Listen to the soundtrack for both of them and you can’t stop turning your head to check no one is there, followed by immense goosebumps. He achieves unearthly sounds through big orchestral scores, using deeply unsettling pads and effects to enhance the depth of the already wide orchestral sound. Another is his score for A Cure For Wellness, a psychological horror thriller directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), which unfortunately flopped at the box office, but again reaffirms Wallfisch’s popularity in the genre.
Besides these and a long list of accolades for great feature films he’s worked on, he is a member of Hans Zimmer’s production company. Starting out as Dario Marianelli’s orchestrator, Wallfisch graduated from the University of Manchester with an outstanding achievement in composition, and is a fantastic conductor. On top of that, he was also nominated for ‘Best Original Film Score’ for the suspense thriller The Escapist when he was just 30 years young. Is there a more perfect combination of talent one could wish for, to achieve success on a most terrifying, teeth-gnashing and brilliant horror show?