Monday, February 16, 2015

20 Random Facts About Me #7

Once upon a time I started a blog series. Five times upon five other times, I added sequential entries to that series. This is the seventh entry. Here are another 20 facts that you may or may not have known about me.

  1. I took Latin all four years of high school, but I still haven't completed Latin 4.
  2. I used to absolutely hate the Halo game series.
  3. Now, I very much enjoy the Halo game series.
  4. My favorite YouTuber is PeanutButterGamer.
  5. The only manga I have read all the way through is Fullmetal Alchemist.
  6. Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most incredible stories I have ever read or watched.
  7. I'm not sure how noticeable it is, but I use the word "incredible" a lot.
  8. I have recently acquired a rather strong appreciation of the cello.
  9. My driver's permit expired well over a year ago.
  10. As of late I've been watching a lot of superhero-oriented TV series.
  11. I very much love the Legend of Zelda video game series.
  12. My favorite animated movie (and film soundtrack) is How To Train Your Dragon.
  13. My all-time favorite TV series is Stargate SG-1.
  14. I used to review books.
  15. The most money I have spent on a single soundtrack is $60.
  16. I own a Latin translation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  17. I actually, genuinely like the Star Wars prequels.
  18. I own a Wii U, and I am not ashamed of this fact.
  19. I have used the same email address since I was 9 years old.
  20. Reading my emails from 2005 is the most hilarious thing ever.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Soundtrack of the Month: February 2015

When it comes to soundtrack composers, there is one who is revered as one of the greatest composers in the history of the world. I am speaking, of course, of the legend Hans Zimmer. For some reason, I have always thought of this man as rather overrated. While he's just as great a composer as everyone says he is, that doesn't make him shine above the rest. There are many other far less-known composers who are just as good, and some who are even better. To tell the truth, while I've always enjoyed Zimmer's scores, I've never found that they particularly stand out. He has a specific style to his music that doesn't always strike my fancy.

However, recently a film came out which he had scored, and the music blew me away. I speak, of course, of Interstellar.

The film was a masterpiece. Coming from Christopher Nolan, who was known for such blockbusters as Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy, was a science fiction film about Earth's final days and the survival of mankind in the universe. I didn't know what to expect going into it. His previous films that I had seen were very dark, and focused heavily on moral ambiguity, but the previews of Interstellar made it look more like a science fiction drama than an intense action film. As it turned out, it was a little of both.

It's hard to fit Interstellar into a box. It's a longer story, but at no time does it feel like a long story. It just feels like a more fully realized and complete story than a regular-length film would be able to tell. I feel that in this way it's comparable to The Lord of the Rings films. The film focuses heavily on story, but also has some sci-fi action sequences and whatnot. It's a brilliantly crafted story, and the score only adds to that.

After the movie released (to critical success), there were a lot of complaints about sound design. In some parts of the film the score plays at very loud volume, and makes the dialogue somewhat difficult to hear. Having imperfect hearing myself, I didn't think it was much different from other films I've seen. Besides, the score being extra loud doesn't make the music itself any less good.

This was the film that redeemed Zimmer for me. I have a bad habit of not thinking too fondly about his works, for the simple reason that people give him too much credit. However, for this film at least, he is just as great as everyone says he is.

Featured Tracks

Track 4: Day One – This song is a rendition of the film's main theme. Interstellar is a very emotional movie, and the music helps nail that point. It's beautiful.

Track 8: Mountains – This segment of the movie is very time-sensitive, and we are constantly reminded of this because Zimmer incorporates an actual ticking clock into the score. It's one of the more creative things I've heard in music composition, and it's both effective and really cool.

Track 13: Coward – This is what I like to call the "Theme of Betrayal". You really can't have a Christopher Nolan movie without some sort of twist (or few) thrown it.

Note: The digital version of this soundtrack includes eight extra tracks. This deluxe edition is also on Spotify.

Purchase Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on Amazon or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.