As a fierce movie lover, I also appreciate and adore a beautiful, moving score. Plus, I’m in the mood to compose a list. 😉 I’ve been thinking about this one for a while, but these are my top 7, in order (!!). Beware: Everything described below moved me to tears.
7. Last of the Mohicans (Randy Edelman & Trevor Jones) – This film is magnificent, with music to match. The sounds convey the terror, grandeur, despair, and hope that the film brings about. The “Main Title” is stunningly ancient and epic-sounding, and makes my heart feel heavy.
6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Howard Shore) – When I hear this music, I feel safe. There’s no other word to describe it. As deservedly beloved and just freaking awesome as these films are, their score is every bit as wonderful. Hopeful, yet dark, the music fills me with the sort of relaxed melancholy that I need to feel every once in a while in order to maintain my sanity. The Enya tune “May It Be” is gorgeous, and fits with the otherworldly tone of the story. Tracks like “Concerning Hobbits” immediately fill my head with images of the Shire. My personal favorite is the graceful and exquisite “The Breaking of the Fellowship”, which never fails to deliver the most spectacular goosebumps.
5. Jurassic Park (John Williams) – Arguably the greatest composer alive today, and certainly the most recognizable and iconic, Williams’ score for this spectacular film (and personal favorite of mine) is, in my opinion, his most delightful and straight up gorgeous work. I don’t really understand how he didn’t win an Oscar for this one. It gets across the majesty, the awe, the wonder. The final scene, as Sam Neill and company fly away from the island and watch the birds flying over the water as the sun sets while the main theme plays, stuns me each and every time.
4. Signs & Lady in the Water (James Newton Howard) – Howard is one of my favorite composers, and he has scored every M. Night Shyamalan film. These two are the best, I think, although there are devotees for each of the Shyamalan movie soundtracks. Honestly, the music is one of the very few reasons I liked Lady, but it was so damn arresting, I couldn’t help it. I cry every single time I hear the disarming and elegant “The Healing.” “Prologue” and “The Great Eatlon” are also excellent and have been known to activate the waterworks. As far as Signs goes, I did love the heck out of that movie, and the music captured the “everything happens for a reason” message, and pretty much hit it out of the park. “The Hands of Fate pt. 2” PERFECTLY evokes a scene where everything makes sense, it all comes together, and you know everything will be okay. Sweet lord, do I love that track.
3. How To Train Your Dragon (John Powell) – My love for this film is almost irrational, and the same goes for its accompanying score. There’s no way John Powell could have captured the exhilaration of this story any more perfectly than he did here; it’s THAT GOOD. “Coming Back Around” and “Test Drive” actually make me feel like I could f***ing fly, and “Romantic Flight” and “Forbidden Friendship” never fail to bring on the choke in the back of my throat. Hell, I’d walk down the aisle to the latter. It’s that touching/masterful/enchanting.
2. Rudy (
James Newton Howard Jerry Goldsmith) – The only composer on my list to garner two spots, Howard’s Goldsmith’s staggeringly beautiful composition makes me feel that, just like Rudy himself, I can do anything. Uplifting, hopeful, inspirational, without being sickly sweet or cheesy, the ten tracks on this relatively short soundtrack all manage to evoke almost every worthwhile human emotion in existence. He should have won a Nobel Peace Prize for this, or at the very least, an Oscar. Sadly he got neither, but we, the listeners, are the real winners. If “The Final Game” (especially the final few minutes) doesn’t make your chest swell with dreams and ambitions, check your pulse, you’re probably dead. *Edit*I was notified by a kindly commenter that I had the wrong maestro listed above; which is both utterly embarrassing and also totally annoying because I’ve had the actual CD since I was 17 and also wrote this post very late at night, in a complete and total daze. I apologize for the discrepancy. 🙂
1. Titanic (James Horner) – Go on and hate. And then die. I don’t care – because this stands as my favorite film score. Ever. I’ll never forget the first time I heard “My Heart Will Go On”; I’m pretty sure my heart stopped, and it’s one of those moments where you remember what you were doing, where you were, and so on. I know it’s cheesy, and I know it’s got to be one of the most over-played (and despised) songs in the history of music, but it’s beautiful, plain and simple. Horner won an Oscar for the song and the overall score, and I think it’s his pinnacle. And he has quite the resume. Equal parts tragic and magnificent, I don’t know that I’ve heard anything so hauntingly, devastatingly beautiful.