Spotlight on Scores: ‘Oblivion’, ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ and ‘We Steal Secrets’

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 3.59.14 PMWe’re almost half way through the year if you can believe it and in the beginning of the summer movie season. It’s been an interesting stretch of films, and by consequence the scores for said films have been all over the place. Luckily, we’ve been treated to more good than bad, and it was about time we brought back this series to take a gander at the movie music we’ve been experiencing. This edition takes a look at the early contenders for the Best Score Oscar: Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness and We Steal Secrets.

Composer: Joseph Trapenese/M83
Grade: A
Best Track: Canyon Battle
Verdict: It’s incredible what Joseph Trapanese has been able to do in the past few years interms of creating movie music. Long associated with the Tron franchise, his score for Oblivion represents a maturing of his talents, effortlessly blending the orchestral stylings and the more industrial sounds. It’s super epic in sweep, you can feel the battle sequences simply by listening to the tracks, but what is so wonderful about this score is how well it fits in with the tapestry of the movie.
Oscar Prospects: It’s a wee bit early but this is easily the best score of the year. If it gets a good campaign and people remember how wonderful the sound mix is, it could sneak in.

Star Trek Into Darkness
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Grade: A
Best Track: Kronos Quartet
Verdict: Whew, Michael Giacchino makes some jaunty epic adventure music and his latest Star Trek score really sets the tone for the darker, more action packed edition of Trek that we experienced. His now familiar theme is around a lot once again, bringing you comfortably into the new pieces he’s composed. The best stuff comes whenever it involves John Harrison and Giacchino really seems inspired during those parts of the film.
Oscar Prospects: If anyone can translate blockbuster music into an Oscar nomination, it’s Giacchino. I just don’t see this entry being a big player come Oscar time however.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
Composer: Fall on Your Sword
Grade: B+
Best Track:
Verdict: Scoring documentaries can be a thankless task. The music can’t overpower the story like it might be able to in a narrative film and yet it also has to standout enough to guide you along the way. While this soundtrack doesn’t necessarily leap out at you upon first listening, the score for We Steal Secrets provides great aural accompaniment to this fascinating documentary. The mixture of synth vibes and orchestral suites gives the movie a really great sound, part sinister spy thriller and part moving story.
Oscar Prospects: I don’t think a documentary has ever made the score lineup, so unfortunately I have to say slim to none.


What do you think?

72 points

Written by Terence Johnson

When he's not enduring Shade Samurai training from Victoria Grayson, you can find Terence spends his time being an avid watcher of television, Criterion film collector, Twitter addict, and awards season obsessive. Opinionated but open minded, ratchet but with class, Terence holds down the fort as the producer of the Power Hour podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeNoirAuteur.


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