Spotlight on Scores: ‘The Impossible’ and ‘Life of Pi’

UntitledWho knew that a giant tsunami and being shipwrecked with a tiger would inspire such great music? Given that the world is supposed to be ending on Friday, now seemed like an interesting time to look at survival epics. So this entry of Spotlight on Scores will analyze two scores that made me want to quit life but gave me hope to carry on as well, The Impossible and Life of Pi. As usual, the links to Youtube playlists, iTunes and Amazon are provided. Let’s take a closer look!

The Impossible
Composer: Fernando Velazquez
Grade: A+
Best Track: The Impossible End Titles
Verdict: Perfectly understated and yet as sweeping as any epic score, Velazquez’ score for The Impossible plays like the epic survival tone poem you’d expect for a movie like this. However, Velazquez understands the impact Bayona’s film has on the audience without music, and he’s fashioned some music that is not as emotionally abusive as one would think. Considering I cried off and on for about 45 mins of the 2 hr running time, I’d personally like to thank him for that because I was already at the breaking point. It’s a testament to the ability of Velazquez as a composer to have crafted music that while traditional, doesn’t feel removed from the location or the event. The score also doesn’t go out of its way to be above the movie, it’s perfectly in tune with the proceedings, limberly connecting the watcher/listener  from moment to moment.
Oscar Prospects: As the film goes, so does the score. While incredibly deserving, the visual effects managed to miss. It’ll need the film to be in a hunt for those 5% Best Picture votes.
Listen Here: Youtube (just a preview)
Buy Here: iTunes

Life of Pi
Composer: Mychael Danna
Grade: B+
Best Track: God Storm
Verdict: This score was in the A range originally, but upon listening to it outside of the film, it doesn’t hold up quite as well listening outside of the movie. I love how ingrained Indian music is in the score, which makes the more classically orchestral pieces when he is on the water feel as isolated as the character does in those moments. There are some really strong tracks that stand out from the score, probably none more so than God Storm. That piece of music, my word. I want to swan dive into the afterlife every time I hear that song; its so evocative of all of Pi’s struggles. The score kind of runs out of energy near the end, much like the film, but the earlier pieces are enough to make up for any issues near the end.
Oscar Prospects: Should be one of the five and threat to win even if Life of Pi does not get the technical sweep everyone is predicting it will.
Listen Here: Youtube
Buy Here: iTunes Amazon