Well, it’s 2014. Congratulations if you made it safely through 2013 – we hope you’re not too hungover – and prepare to chew on the meaty (or veggie if you’re that way inclined) treats that are coming our way in the new year.
Unsurprisingly, the year is dominated by blockbusters, and unoriginal ones at that. We have movies based on books, comics, cartoons, fairytales, and even a famous construction toy. But as we all know, a terrible movie does certainly not guarantee a terrible score, in fact sometimes quite the opposite. That’s not to say these movies will be terrible – I like to at least remain a bit of an optimist. So with that in mind, let’s begin.
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT (Patrick Doyle) – Where Kenneth Branagh leads, Patrick Doyle follows, and that’s never a bad thing. Another Jack Ryan reboot, Doyle has had enough high profile scores in recent years (THOR, BRAVE, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) to prove he can handle Hollywood action.
I, FRANKENSTEIN (Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil) – After producing a score like CLOUD ATLAS (albeit with Tom Twyker), you’re going to have eyes on you for your follow-up, so let’s hope they keep it up for this comic book movie where the famous monster ends up messing around with demonic armies.
THE LEGO MOVIE (Mark Mothersbaugh) – Former Devo frontman Mothersbaugh has been the go-to guy for quirky comedy scores for a while, having worked on Wes Anderson’s early movies so you can expect something offbeat yet melodic for the movie based on the world’s greatest toy.
WINTER’S TALE (Hans Zimmer) – Zimmer is omnipresent as ever, but even his mighty brain might struggle to comprehend this tale of Colin Farrell’s thief and his love story with a dying girl and a magic white horse.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Alexandre Desplat) – As busy as Zimmer but with triple the talent, Desplat will be nevertheless fighting for screen-time with Wes Anderson’s famous needledrop, but at least he usually picks some pretty great songs.
NOAH (Clint Mansell) – Mansell has scored every Darren Aronofsky joint so far, but this Russell Crowe biblical epic will have many people wondering if he’ll be up to the task. I wouldn’t expect Elmer Bernstein, but I imagine he has a few tricks up his sleeve.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Henry Jackman) – Jackman’s talent has been evident in recent years with WRECK-IT RALPH and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS to name but two showing he can walk the walk, but it’ll be interesting to see how he succeeds Alan Silvestri’s popular score for the first Cap story (and if he keeps his theme, which itself had a cameo in THOR 2).
TRANSCENDENCE (Mychael Danna) – Danna’s stock is sky-high after winning the score Oscar for LIFE OF PI, so couple that with a hotly-anticipated science fiction thriller from the cinematographer of THE DARK KNIGHT etc and you have one hot, hot ticket.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Hans Zimmer) – Judging by the talent that Hans Zimmer has recruited (Pharrell, Johnny Marr, Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics) it may be fair to say that the wallcrawler might have some rocking tunes behind him. Anything to help it be less dreary than the previous film, which had a James Horner score that was heavily overrated.
BELLE (Rachel Portman) – The delicate tale of a mixed-race lady and her relationship with a lawyer in eighteenth-century England, it’s apt material for Portman (the first female to win an Oscar for score) and should provide a bit of respite from the blockbusters.
GODZILLA (Alexandre Desplat) – The greatest hero of our time returns to wreak havoc on the world, and here to provide his music is the prolific Desplat. Expecting him to show the mainstream just how good he is, although I’ll be a little sad if Ifukube’s theme doesn’t appear anywhere.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (John Ottman) – As soon as Bryan Singer announced he was doing this, it was a sure thing that super editor/composer Ottman would be on scoring duties. He previously did the best score (for X2) so that’s certainly not a bad thing.
MALEFICIENT (James Newton Howard) – While his scores had been below par for him of late – AFTER-EARTH was so dull – JNH got his mojo back with the excellent HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, so we should hopefully get some fireworks with this reboot of SLEEPING BEAUTY from the villain’s perspective.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (John Powell) – People went mental over Powell’s score for the original HTTYD, and why not as it was a brilliant score, but he’s struggled to otherwise hit the big time, so we’ll see if he can strike twice without it being a retread.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Steve Jablonsky) – Really?
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (Michael Giacchino) – Following LET ME IN’s Matt Reeves to the land of angry chimp, Giacchino has more than enough chops to provide some good action beats for the sequel to the surprisingly good RISE OF… APES.
JUPITER ASCENDING (Michael Giacchino) – Lana and Andy Wachowski stunned many cinemagoers (in both ways) with CLOUD ATLAS, and JUPITER looks equally nutty. Giacchino has composed and recorded the music before shooting, leaving him open to writing a symphony for the film to be crafted to. Expect great things.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Tyler Bates) – Tyler Bates is a couple of things, firstly he’s a pretty dull composer, and secondly he’s a proven musical thief (google it). Given the offbeat nature of GOTG he’s probably suited, but I’m not interested in this at all.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Brian Tyler) – It seems Michael Bay decided screwing with one of our childhood favourites just wasn’t enough, fu- I’m kidding, screw with it all you want, I just want another crazy score from Tyler whose music for Marvel movies has been radical. Dude.
THE BOXTROLLS (Dario Marianelli) – The latest from stop-motion animation studio Laika, who did the amazing PARANORMAN, looks equally great, and have done well to have the Oscar-winning Marianelli join their ranks.
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (Michael Giacchino) – Giacchino has shown in the past he’s as adept at comedy and drama as he is with spaceships, so he should do well with this tale of a family reunited after the death of the father. From the director of REAL STEEL.
INTERSTELLAR (Hans Zimmer) – Christopher Nolan’s science fiction opus (originally to be directed by Spielberg) is still pretty vague, with a trailer made up of mostly archive space race footage and bits of corn. It does have a hopeful message about humanity contained within, so this could be the stage for some awe inspiring music. Or it could just be temped with “braaaaaahmmmmm”.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 (James Newton Howard) – As I mentioned earlier, JNH’s music for the previous HG flick CATCHING FIRE was excellent, so looking forward to seeing what he can do with the finale, now split into two parts in a Harry Potter style.
FURY (Steven Price) – Brad Pitt leads a crew behind enemy lines in WWII in what I guess will be less campy than his previous foray into war films. It sounds good, but what’s really interesting is the addition of Steven Price who has hit the big time thanks to his fantastic score for GRAVITY.
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (Howard Shore) – Peter Jackson closes the book on Middle-earth (presumably until he makes THE SILMARILLION) and Howard Shore gets another stab at adding another classic to the books. Frankly his Hobbit scores haven’t been up to the standard of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, but they’ve gotten better in succession, so this should be the best yet.
After this there’s still a few flicks that don’t have announced composers. Ridley Scott’s EXODUS may yet have Marc Streitenfeld on its books, but I don’t think he has the chops for the grandeur Ridley looks to be creating. It’s also a fairly good bet that David Fincher’s GONE GIRL will have another Trent Reznor score, and that Brian Tyler will complete the final chapter of the prestigious EXPENDABLES trilogy. And then we’re on to 2015 which is wall-to-wall with massive movies that should give your average score fan a heart attack. So, onwards and upwards….