It may not be apparent to the casual moviegoer, but cinephiles recognize that without music, many of Hollywood’s most iconic moments would not have as much impact as they do. Adding well-known tracks to a film may be acceptable to an extent, however there’s no comparison to a genuine original compiled by a renowned composer. It takes a talented composer to create a score that not only sounds appealing, but interprets the true meaning of a scene. With such celebrated song’s such as Indiana Jone’s “Raider’s March” and “Star Wars Main Theme,” there are many songs that go unnoticed. Here are just some of the most forgotten and underrated songs of cinematic scores.
“Overture” (Tron Legacy)
In 2010, Daft Punk was regarded as one of the elites in the electronic music genre, which made them an obvious choice to do the score for Disney’s Tron Legacy. The score is compiled of mostly electronic songs that fit directly in the world of Tron. While these songs can be played at a dance club, it’s the orchestrated tracks that really steal the show. “Overture” sets up the world on a grand scale, as it crescendos from a French horn to a triumphant theme with cymbals and strings. Tron Legacy’s score isn’t just an under-appreciated soundtrack, it’s one of the best of the decade.
“Letting Go” (Super 8)
Composer Michael Giacchino (Up, The Incredibles, Star Trek) has been churning out scores for the last two decades, but it’s his work on Super 8 that goes rather unnoticed . The score itself is an amalgamation of both terror and emotional subtleties . “Letting Go,” while not the title track, is a representation of the film for the complexity which begins with chill- inducing chords that are both menacing and harmonious. Once the accelerando occurs, the genre of JJ Abrams film which is a mystery thriller is established. But it is the subito ritardano (sudden slowing in tempo) which takes the cake for the elegance of the song. Teasing in with strings as it crescendos to a fuller orchestra is an element that truly encompasses the heart of the Super 8, which is overcoming obstacles and the true mean of the title “Letting Go.”
“Malcom’s Journey” (The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
To follow a masterpiece like Jurassic Park might have been a suicide mission, yet Steven Spielberg decided to do it anyways. Though the film has received much hate over the years, it’s regarded as an underrated picture for its focus on a much darker aspect to the JP universe. Along with the dark emphasis, John Williams’ score is one reason why the film has a special place in fans’ hearts. “Malcom’s Journey” sets the gloomy tone for the film with bass clarinets accompanying the march of timpani drums. A sense of mystery is formed as the audience travels to the exotic yet magical island of Isla Sorna. Though it isn’t as iconic the original theme to casual viewers, “Malcom’s Journey” is one of the William’s greatest pieces.
“What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World” (Man of Steel)
Man of Steel has been often regarded as a minor disappointment to both critics and comic fans. Not an entirely bad, the film has its moments of astounding visual presence and action sequences. “What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving the World” is possibly the most memorable component of the film for its ability to tell a story without the use of words. The gradual acceleration in tempo mirrors that of Clark Kent’s development into Superman, as he comes to understand his place in the world and his responsibility to protect his new home. The heart-pounding bass drums accentuate the power of Kal-El. Think of it as Superman’s gym song, for it is a truly uplifting track that amps even the most careless of individuals.
“Gathering of the Nav’i Clans” (Avatar)
It’s ironic that in a list of underrated pieces, we have Avatar, which is quite possibly the most overrated film of all-time. Being more well known for its visual spectacle than anything else, the score by the late James Horner is often forgotten. With indigenous chants, followed by with a symphony of horns to later be backed up with strings, “Gathering of the Nav’i Clans” is one of the most enthralling and impactful parts of the film. If the other aspects of Avatar were as good as the visuals and score, the film could be regarded as one of the greatest films of all-time.
Various Tracks (Guardians of the Galaxy)
it’s time to eject Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and pop in Bates’ original score. Everyone remembers Guardians of the Galaxy for having classic oldies like “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Come and Get Your Love,” but Tyler Bates’ original score for the motion picture is often overshadowed by the mixtape. Non-diegetic tracks like “Groot Cocoon” aid the film during emotional moments, as it harmonizing choir help represent a sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The climatic “Black Tears” is highlighted for its pull from sentimental to uplifting actions, predominantly when the Guardians of the Galaxy work together, which makes the song a satisfying complement to both its visual counterpart and storytelling. Guardians of the Galaxy also has one of the better themes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as most themes are rather forgettable.