Digger of Bricks

Who's Your Favorite Film Composer and/or Score?

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Who's favorite film composer, and what's your favorite film score?

Whether you love the work of composers such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Danny Elfman, or Howard Shore for example; or if you only have a particular film score or theme you really like, please share and discuss your favorites here. :classic:

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Posted (edited)

I don't have a particularly favourite film composer, but I forgot how much the score to Princess Mononoke really helps make that movie as special as it is.

Also, Mars Attacks! has a wonderful score, despite the film being pretty mediocre.

Edited by Kintobor

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Zimmer wins the overall favorite for me, with John Williams close behind. 

As for individual scores, here's my current top 10:

1. Tron: Legacy - Daft Punk | A Complete redefinition of what a film soundtrack can be. If you haven't listened to it, rectify that immediately. 
2. Star Wars - John Williams | The original, and he didn't just keep the same schtick. Episodes V, I, II, and III all got tracks that would have defined franchises on their own.
3. Interstellar - Hans Zimmer | Pure. Organ. Masterclass. Zimmer.
4. The Dark Knight Trilogy - Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard | Zimmer usually gets all the credit for these (he's a genius, not denying it) but JNH brought his own elements to the first two that really worked well with Zimmer's. 
5. The Lord of the Rings - Howard Shore | An entry that needs no explanation. Shore's dedication to bringing Middle-earth to life is insane, having spent an entire year on the fellowship alone. 
6. Gladiator - Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard | Another masterpiece of Zimmer's, with pulse pounding battle themes and haunting songs of death. Gerrard's vocals are another level.
7. How to Train Your Dragon - John Powell | One of Zimmer's proteges, who now operates on a level close to that of Zimmer himself. Berk is so much more alive with his music.
8. Indiana Jones - John Williams | A true classic. 
9. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Ennio Morricone | The only man comparable to John Williams on the sheer quality and scale of a career. One of his greatest.
10. Blade Runner - Vangelis | A masterpiece, and the guy can't even read music.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Umbra-Manis said:

Zimmer wins the overall favorite for me, with John Williams close behind. 

As far as composers go, I have to agree with this, but in reverse. With most composers, they have particular film scores that I really love, and others that just don't do anything for me. But with John Williams, there nothing of his that I don't like, and probably the reason why he is Hollywood's household name in film composers. But yes, for me, Hans Zimmer comes in close behind at second place, as he has scored so many extraordinarily epic soundtracks that are all individually characteristic and beautiful in their own way.

16 hours ago, Umbra-Manis said:

As for individual scores, here's my current top 10:

That's a pretty awesome list, as many of those come in at my own top twenty, such as Daft Punk's soundtrack to Tron Legacy, Zimmer's scores for both Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and Ridley's Gladiator, and John Williams' theme to Indiana Jones. :sweet:

But as for my own top choice in film scores, I still love James Newton Howard's score to Peter Jackson's King Kong, which even after twelve years still moves me, especially in its final climactic scene. 

 

Edited by Digger of Bricks

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LOTR trilogy - Howard Shore. Favourite is probably The Grey Havens or that Rohan theme.

Revenge of the Sith - John Williams. He's given the sequel trilogy some great themes but Episode 3 stills tops it for me.

Dunkirk - Hans Zimmer. Runner-up for me is his score for The Dark Knight Rises.

Silver Linings Playbook - Danny Elfman.

 

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For me, Zimmer's best score is King Fu Panda. I mean, most of his stuff is good-to-great, but that one stands out to me.

Recently I've been listening a lot of Ramin Djawadi's scores--some are generic (Iron Man) but others like Pacific Rim and Warcraft are capital-E Epic.

Speaking of Iron Man, Bryan Tyler's IM3 theme is great, and wonderfully memorable. I haven't seen the movie since opening weekend in 2013, but I still get that catchy tune in my head all the time. It's a shame he and Marvel had a falling out.

Other than that, I'll put a vote in for Michael Kamen's theme from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I don't care for the movie at all, but the score is hauntingly good.

Honorable mentions would be John Powell's HTTYD score, as @Umbra-Manis pointed out, James Horner gets a nod for both the Rocketeer and Willow (but nothing else, really), and of course Danny Elfman, for the Simpsons and for defining Batman musically (seriously, his score is Batman) and for his background tracks on Mission: Impossible (1996).

Dang, that's a longer post than I meant it to be.

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John Williams, composed brilliant soundtracks for all the saga films, plus Harry Potter and Indiana Jones.

Micheal Giacchino, has done some great work on Pixar Films, like Cars 2, the Incredibles, Rataouille, and Rogue One.

Alexandre Desplat, Both parts to the Deathly Hallows, the Battle of Hogwarts soundtrack is amazing!

Like others, I also like Zimmer, but for me his best piece is Pirates of the Caribbean. 

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3 hours ago, rodiziorobs said:

Recently I've been listening a lot of Ramin Djawadi's scores--some are generic (Iron Man) but others like Pacific Rim and Warcraft are capital-E Epic.

The instrumental style of Pacific Rim's score may not be my piece of cake, but I must confess, I do like it. It suits it well and it's very characteristic for the movie.

 

2 hours ago, Tariq j said:

Micheal Giacchino, has done some great work on Pixar Films, like Cars 2, the Incredibles, Rataouille, and Rogue One.

Yes, I loved his scores for both Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes:blush:

 

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I realize the classic answer, John Williams and his works, is incredibly easy to put out there, but it has to be said just how good his work is, especially on Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

I absolutely love Hans Zimmer's work on Man of Steel, and likewise his and Junkie XL's work on BvS, which made me very sad that WB replaced JXL with Danny Elfman. Elfman's fine and all, but I have no nostalgia for movies with his themes. This may be something ground-shaking, but I honestly don't care that much for his Batman theme; Shirley Walker's subtly different version for BTAS is considerably better.

One easier to overlook would be Christopher Drake and his many, many animated DC soundtracks. I'd say the highlight would be The Dark Knight Returns!

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John Williams for me. Duel of the Fates & Hedwig’s Theme are my favorites of his. 

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On 1/5/2018 at 9:12 PM, PepperoniBricks said:

I absolutely love Hans Zimmer's work on Man of Steel, and likewise his and Junkie XL's work on BvS, which made me very sad that WB replaced JXL with Danny Elfman. Elfman's fine and all, but I have no nostalgia for movies with his themes. This may be something ground-shaking, but I honestly don't care that much for his Batman theme; Shirley Walker's subtly different version for BTAS is considerably better.

I think Zimmer did a great job on the overall score for Man of Steel, but I felt somewhat underwhelmed by the film's (and in turn, Superman's for the DCEU) unofficial theme song, An Ideal of Hope. It has such an exciting buildup, but it seems to fall flat at its high point, at least for me.

As for Danny Elfman's Batman theme, it is for the character what John William's theme is to Superman. But between Elfman's theme and James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer's for Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, I think I can definitely agree that Howard and Zimmer's is far more epic.

 

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Almost neck and neck for me with Zimmer and Williams. 

 

Loved the EPV score from Williams but also have loved the many scores from Zimmer as well across multiple franchises and films. Can we put two at the top? Oo If so those two for me. 

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"Rey's Theme" by John Williams is so good, it's a gooden!

Judging by these replies I might have to give Zimmer a try out...

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Second to his work on 2005's King Kong, probably my next favorite score of James Newton Howard's would be for Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire from 2001. Amongst my favorite particular tracks from that score are The Submarine, the first fourty-five seconds of Touring the City, and the final track Atlantis. For many though, this track is the one that is most cited for the movie, which is a pretty extraordinary piece even though it may not be one of my top favorites.

 

2 hours ago, J4ck said:

Judging by these replies I might have to give Zimmer a try out...

Please do, as he's pretty much a household name in film composers much like John Williams or James Horner! For starts, check out his scores for both Gladiator and the Dark Knight trilogy, the latter of which he composed alongside with James Newton Howard. :classic:

Edited by Digger of Bricks

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8 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Please do, as he's pretty much a household name in film composers much like John Williams or James Horner! For starts, check out his scores for both Gladiator and the Dark Knight trilogy, the latter of which he composed alongside with James Newton Howard. :classic:

Thanks for the recommendations!

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Hey this is a topic I love! A bit late, but hopefully you won't mind me adding to the conversation.

You guys have already covered a lot of my favourites. John Williams, Michael Giacchino, Howard Shore, James Horner, etc. I am particularly happy to see John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon) get mentioned too by @Umbra-Manis and @rodiziorobs, indeed I consider How to Train Your Dragon 2 to be among the best soundtracks in history.

While we're doing John Powell (in my opinion, a very underrated composer), I thought I'd share one that perhaps people don't think that much of, but is sheer melodic bliss to me: Chicken Run (which he did with Harry Gregson-Williams). Please find the Spotify link here, and like a lot of Powell's stuff, it's worth a listen from beginning to end as the story almost unfolds audibly.

Another one I'd like to mention is Joe Hisaishi, commonly associated with Studio Ghibli movies. A good introduction to his Ghibli music is this album on Spotify, but he has so much more than that. @Kintobor has already mentioned his Princess Mononoke work, which is excellent.

There's a lot more I'd like to recommend, but I'll listen to some you have recommended here first and hopefully we can keep this discussion going! You guys have given me much to listen to and I'll be adding a few to my Spotify favourites! 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TFGuy89
Change of words

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9 hours ago, TFGuy89 said:

I am particularly happy to see John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon) get mentioned too by @Umbra-Manis and @rodiziorobs, indeed I consider How to Train Your Dragon 2 to be among the best soundtracks in history.

I've heard many people cite or compare others work to his scores, but I've still neither watched the movies nor listened to the score alone. I really should do so, as I've heard so much praise for it.

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Mostly depends on my mood, or what movie gives me inspiration... So lately;

Paul Leonard-Morgan's Dredd OST. But also the OST's of Tron: Legacy, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, The Book of Eli, Blade Runner, Max Max: Fury Road, Jurassic Park.

And a nice non-official edit song;

 

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7 minutes ago, -zenn said:

Mostly depends on my mood, or what movie gives me inspiration... So lately;

Paul Leonard-Morgan's Dredd OST. But also the OST's of Tron: Legacy, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, The Book of Eli, Blade Runner, Max Max: Fury Road, Jurassic Park.

And a nice non-official edit song;

 

Thats two really neat pieces of music! Of course Black Sabbath fits perfect to Mad Max. Especially War Pigs is music made of the apocalypse :classic: :thumbup:

As for myself, I really like the Soundtrack to Excalibur by Trevor Jones (with some Wagner and Orff thrown in for good measure):

 

My other all-time favourite is the Soundtrack to Bram Stoker's Dracula:

 

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So I've finally watched both How to Train Your Dragon and its 2014 sequel, and yeah, John Powell really did give this franchise a most powerful score! I can't say though I'm really crazy about either movie, as I don't think they would do anything for me at all if it weren't for their score. The first film's story wasn't bad though, but the second one... :sceptic:

Well, nonetheless, probably my favorite piece from the first film's score would be this one, especially starting at the two minute mark. :thumbup: :smug:

 

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22 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

So I've finally watched both How to Train Your Dragon and its 2014 sequel, and yeah, John Powell really did give this franchise a most powerful score! I can't say though I'm really crazy about either movie, as I don't think they would do anything for me at all if it weren't for their score. The first film's story wasn't bad though, but the second one... :sceptic:

Well, nonetheless, probably my favorite piece from the first film's score would be this one, especially starting at the two minute mark. :thumbup: :smug:

 

Both movies were good in my view, but neither would really hit my favourites list. But it just goes to show the strength of the soundtracks. I still listen to HTTYD 2 often and only vaguely connect it to the movie’s scenes now.

 

”Test Drive” is probably one of those tracks that I would consider my historical classics. One of the best themes composed. Have a listen also to “Battling the Green Death” and “Coming Back Around”. Powell does fantastic battle music.

 

I’d even dare say HTTYD 2 improves upon the original soundtrack, which was already amazing. For starters, there is “Flying With Mother”, but there are so many gems there! I mean, “Dragon Racing”, the first track, effectively acts as a recap of the first film’s soundtrack and themes, showing how much Powell cares about leitmotifs to a John Williams level.

 

 

Edited by TFGuy89

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On 1/30/2018 at 4:57 PM, TFGuy89 said:

"Test Drive” is probably one of those tracks that I would consider my historical classics. One of the best themes composed. 

The other night, I watched Disney's Big Hero 6 for the first time, and it really was a film I immensely enjoyed! But for me, the most exhilarating part of the movie was of Hiro and Baymax's first flight, which not only was a visually stunning rollercoaster, but also excellently complemented by a great score piece by Henry Jackman. So many people in YouTube comments have compared (and subsequently argued over) this piece to John Powell's Test Flight from HTTYD, and I can see why. :classic:

 

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16 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

The other night, I watched Disney's Big Hero 6 for the first time, and it really was a film I immensely enjoyed! But for me, the most exhilarating part of the movie was of Hiro and Baymax's first flight, which not only was a visually stunning rollercoaster, but also excellently complemented by a great score piece by Henry Jackman. So many people in YouTube comments have compared (and subsequently argued over) this piece to John Powell's Test Flight from HTTYD, and I can see why. :classic:

 

 

Oh man, I totally agree! That scene in the movie was pure magic, aided in no small part by the soundtrack. Terrific work!

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Ever since the Comic-Con teaser for Ready Player One dropped online, I've been hoping that we would see a fuller length version of that mindblowing rendition of Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka released. Heard during the duration of 0:58 to 1:35 in the teaser, it was produced by Pitch Hammer Music, a production company that apparently creates music specifically for major film studios' movie trailers. Who knew there was such a thing? :shrug_confused:

I'm not going to hold my breath though, as it unfortunately does sound like it was created for that purpose only. But, nonetheless, I'm still waiting to see how this movie's final score will turn out, as it's going to be composed by Alan Silvestri of Back to the Future fame; so, I guess we'll see how it turns out soon enough. :classic:

11 hours ago, TFGuy89 said:

Oh man, I totally agree! That scene in the movie was pure magic, aided in no small part by the soundtrack. Terrific work!

Indeed, though I will say, I don't feel it's quite as impactful as John Powell's Test Drive. With the first flight scene in HTTYD, Powell's score just makes the scene, and the piece stands alone by itself with just as much resonance. As for Big Hero 6's First Flight, it's a great piece, but it really needs to be paired with the scene to shine.

And speaking of that scene, I love the part where they're flying amongst those floating wind turbines and Baymax glides up one of their cables. Those wind turbines? Talk about a seriously cool concept! :oh3:

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Well, I think most of the major film composers have been mentioned. So I'll put in my 2 cents and give credit to a not-as-mainstream film composer, Bruno Coulais, who is also known as "the Danny Elfman of France". My favorite soundtrack of his is from "the Secret of Kells."

Secret of Kells Playlist

Off the top of my head, some tracks that stand out are tracks 13 and 17, "The Monks" and "Kells Destroyed". Both are hauntingly beautiful and downright ominous with their Latin chanting choir vocals. Special mention should be made of track 4, "Aisling Song", which features in a scene I consider one of the movie's highlights. 

For something more upbeat, there's also track 20, "Epicy", which is every bit as epic as it sounds. 

 

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