March 2012

Musicals and Movies

I’ve always been conflicted when it comes to comparing musicals to their movie counterparts. The pendulum has swing both ways with musicals like Les Miserables and its movie counterparts and more modern hits like Legally Blonde.

To me, what makes a musical great is the emotions stirred by the music. That is not true with a movie. It’s actions and dialog of a movie that make it stirring and the music does an important part to set the mood. The greatest movies meld everything together.

When you watch a musical you do it for the music. The plot and actions are important, but you’re really hoping to hear some awesome tunes that you can enjoy and either make you laugh or cry. This is where movies and their musical counterparts differ.

Movie Soundtrack: Mortal Kombat

Movies about video games have notoriously been panned by critics and audiences alike until the first Mortal Kombat was release. The movie is based on the popular fighting video game and not only did well in the box office, but also spawned a sequel.

One of the keys to its success was the soundtrack. Music hadn’t been an important part of fight films up to then. The focus was on the action and during the actual fighting, there was little if no music. You were supposed to get into the fight because you enjoyed the moves and choreography.

Mortal Kombat was such a franchise by then that it needed a little something extra to get the adrenaline flowing. Most of the people who watched it were familiar with the moves and actions, so it made it more difficult to become emotionally invested.

They made up for this by introducing a fast passed techno soundtrack that complemented the action. Oftentimes, the music was actually created for that specific scene. The pinnacle of this in my opinion was the fight between Johnny Cage and Scorpion. The music used the original Scorpion catch phrase and then let loose with the techno.

Remake Sountracks

There are few people that will say that the music to Footloose is not some of the best that have ever been in a movie. It captured a generation with such songs as Footloose by Kenny Loggins, Let's Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams and Almost Paradise by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson.

 

Most of the sounds on that soundtrack have become legend and as soon as your hear them it brings back memories Kevin Bacon's bad dancing. We flash forward and Zach Efron tries to do the same thing in the remake.

 

Needless to day, the movie wasn't anywhere near the success of the original. Maybe I am just biased because I think Efron is tool. The new soundtrack has many of the original including Footloose and Almost Paradise, but updated for the new generation also commonly referred to as suckified.

The Music of Star Trek

When I was a kid and I watched the Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was surprised how much the music moved me. I am primarily talking about the theme song. Maybe it was because the show did such a great job of invoking emotion from episode to episode, but all the themes were moving.

Deep Space 9’s theme was haunting and did a great job of reflecting the meaning of the series. It wasn’t a show about going places in fast ships. It didn’t need the fast paced theme and the instrumental just seemed to fit the show. DS9 was a show where people came to them. It wasn’t your perfect Star Trek crew, but a group of rebels and Star Fleet officers trying to come to an uneasy peace.

Things changed as the show went on and after about 4 years, the theme no longer fit the show.

I loved Voyager’s theme most of all because it just screamed of exploration. It had a more youthful vigor to it, so it created images of rebel gunslingers in the old West and that’s exactly what Voyager was about. They were a lone ship in the middle of nowhere trying to find their way back home.