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JXL's Godzilla vs King Kong

Patrick de Caumette

Senior Member
I think that JXL's biggest strength is that he has a great feel for what a scene needs at any given moment.
Like Toecutter, i think that his thematic skills are not on the same level as his production skills.
But for big actions films, his approach works well.
Huge difference between the original Justice League and the re-cut, thanks in part to his score.
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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Yes, which is the case on many, if not most films. But that's not the same as saying he didn't compose the music.
I kinda miss the days when we had a single composer as the author of a score- I know that even Goldsmith and Williams had a bit of help on blockbuster scores but there weren't leagues of people...

EDIT- before everyone jumps on me about how timelines are much worse and all that, remember that in the 70s, there was no MIDI, no DAWs, no means to write faster. It was all pencil, manuscript and a piano. Yes, they often had longer deadlines but they also had less resources to assist them meet to time lines.
 

Patrick de Caumette

Senior Member
I kinda miss the days when we had a single composer as the author of a score- I know that even Goldsmith and Williams had a bit of help on blockbuster scores but there weren't leagues of people...

EDIT- before everyone jumps on me about how timelines are much worse and all that, remember that in the 70s, there was no MIDI, no DAWs, no means to write faster. It was all pencil, manuscript and a piano. Yes, they often had longer deadlines but they also had less resources to assist them meet to time lines.
Nowadays A list composers are corporations of their own.
Back then, composers were part of the movie studios.

But on a technical level, the quality expectations of a score are much higher than they used to be.
And composers feel like they cannot turn down any project, and so the need for assistants.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
I kinda miss the days when we had a single composer as the author of a score- I know that even Goldsmith and Williams had a bit of help on blockbuster scores but there weren't leagues of people...

EDIT- before everyone jumps on me about how timelines are much worse and all that, remember that in the 70s, there was no MIDI, no DAWs, no means to write faster. It was all pencil, manuscript and a piano. Yes, they often had longer deadlines but they also had less resources to assist them meet to time lines.
There was plenty of uncredited composing going on in the studio era too. As well as replacement of composer written cues with items in the studios’ libraries. Neumeyer and Platte’s study of Rebecca documents it for that film.


There were I think at least four other composers that wrote cues for the film. All evidence suggests this process was normal during the studio era.

Stagecoach won an Academy Award with multiple credited composers and more composers than that contributed to the score. (It’s also an excellent score even though it didn’t have one composer in charge.)
 

Patrick de Caumette

Senior Member
There was plenty of uncredited composing going on in the studio era too. As well as replacement of composer written cues with items in the studios’ libraries. Neumeyer and Platte’s study of Rebecca documents it for that film.


There were I think at least four other composers that wrote cues for the film. All evidence suggests this process was normal during the studio era.

Stagecoach won an Academy Award with multiple credited composers and more composers than that contributed to the score. (It’s also an excellent score even though it didn’t have one composer in charge.)
It makes sense, since a pool of composers belonged to a studio, and only the end result mattered.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
It makes sense, since a pool of composers belonged to a studio, and only the end result mattered.
Except Rebecca was a Selznick property so all his composers were hired freelance. In the case of Waxman, Selznick rented him out from MGM, but all the uncredited composers had freelance contracts. Some were doing orchestrations in addition to additional music. At least one cue used music from an earlier Selznick film. Waxman used a number cues he had written for the MGM library as well, and there are contracts for the use of all of that music as well.

The contracts for all of this are available for consultation at the Harry Ransom Center, where Selznick’s papers are housed.
 

Samy Cheboub

New Member
It's the typical JXL insipid score. His writing is very limited, every film is the same loud and dull stuff, with a pinch of his electronic background that is also very uninspiring (...) The scooby doo movie had some great cues but despite the Junkie credits they were written by somebody else. I'm sure you can tell the difference



We should all love each other and stop hate speech (especially those motivated by jealousy).
 

Bernard Duc

Active Member
I kinda miss the days when we had a single composer as the author of a score- I know that even Goldsmith and Williams had a bit of help on blockbuster scores but there weren't leagues of people...

EDIT- before everyone jumps on me about how timelines are much worse and all that, remember that in the 70s, there was no MIDI, no DAWs, no means to write faster. It was all pencil, manuscript and a piano. Yes, they often had longer deadlines but they also had less resources to assist them meet to time lines.
You realize that no MIDI and computers mean it's actually much easier to write music quickly? On one side they didn't have to produce mockups for every single new version of the music (and by professional I mean that they are good enough to end up in the film), and on the other side film edits were much more often locked because while nowadays they keep making changes daily because they can just open the project on the computer and make changes.

But as someone said above, film music has always been a team sport.
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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We should all love each other and stop hate speech (especially those motivated by jealousy).
While I agree we should be more respectful I don't love that old strawman chestnut that people criticize because they are jealous. Maybe they just dislike this kind of music, especially if they were weened on orchestral music composed by Stravinsky, Bartok, Beethoven, Bach, Prokofiev, Mahler, etc etc etc . It's fair to assume that might be the leading motivator.
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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You realize that no MIDI and computers mean it's actually much easier to write music quickly? On one side they didn't have to produce mockups for every single new version of the music (and by professional I mean that they are good enough to end up in the film), and on the other side film edits were much more often locked because while nowadays they keep making changes daily because they can just open the project on the computer and make changes.

But as someone said above, film music has always been a team sport.
are you saying this because you know this for a fact? or are you speculating? Did you work in the industry back in the '70s and 80s?
 

MarkusS

New Member
Tom‘s name sure appeared in many big Hollywood films lately and the style is hugely dominated by fff brass and epic percussions. But I find that in the scores there are always some subtle elements that make them stand above the average epic score (the chromatic element in the Godzilla theme, the smashing sound of the percussion, an interesting string line).

If anything, it tells us what the market wants now, not necessarily what the composer or even the director wants, it’s what (is assumed) the audience is expecting to hear in such a movie and the producers will stick to it. Why take risks on such a huge budget production?

The music aims to make sure everyone gets it and relies heavily on established formulas. Probably John Williams at the time of the first Star Wars film was much more free, as they never could have expected the film would become such a hit.

It’s the same with the movie itself btw. I mean Godzilla and King Kong are not exactly new. Not exactly a risky and innovative idea. Again Star Wars was new and they took a risk at the time producing it. Now that it is a safe value, how many sequels and side stories have we seen in the same style?

Maybe at the moment the market is not open for new ideas and concepts and will rather rely on safe and established brands. So the music is simply following that same logic.

PS George Lucas is definitely a genius for coming up with the Star Wars saga and even more so for turning it into a film. I wonder if in today’s market he would still get a chance to develop his ideas or if he’d get rejected in favour of established brands from 40-50 years ago.
 
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Gene Pool

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You realize that no MIDI and computers mean it's actually much easier to write music quickly? On one side they didn't have to produce mockups for every single new version of the music (and by professional I mean that they are good enough to end up in the film), and on the other side film edits were much more often locked because while nowadays they keep making changes daily because they can just open the project on the computer and make changes.

But as someone said above, film music has always been a team sport.
You realize that no MIDI and computers means that composers had to eff around with stop watches, click track books, math, click spools, moviolas, play reductions of their cues on the piano for the director, plus which produce competently orchestrated sketch scores, and sometimes even produce some or all of the full score themselves, and no ComposerHelper™ software or samples.
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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You realize that no MIDI and computers means that composers had to eff around with stop watches, click track books, math, click spools, moviolas, play reductions of their cues on the piano for the director, plus which produce competently orchestrated sketch scores, and sometimes even produce some or all of the full score themselves, and no ComposerHelper™ software or samples.
Thank you for saying this. I was gonna but figured “whatever”... I’m too old and tired to try to convince people of anything...
 

Doppler75

New Member
Tom‘s name sure appeared in many big Hollywood films lately and the style is hugely dominated by fff brass and epic percussions. But I find that in the scores there are always some subtle elements that make them stand above the average epic score (the chromatic element in the Godzilla theme, the smashing sound of the percussion, an interesting string line).

If anything, it tells us what the market wants now, not necessarily what the composer or even the director wants, it’s what (is assumed) the audience is expecting to hear in such a movie and the producers will stick to it. Why take risks on such a huge budget production?

The music aims to make sure everyone gets it and relies heavily on established formulas. Probably John Williams at the time of the first Star Wars film was much more free, as they never could have expected the film would become such a hit.

It’s the same with the movie itself btw. I mean Godzilla and King Kong are not exactly new. Not exactly a risky and innovative idea. Again Star Wars was new and they took a risk at the time producing it. Now that it is a safe value, how many sequels and side stories have we seen in the same style?

Maybe at the moment the market is not open for new ideas and concepts and will rather rely on safe and established brands. So the music is simply following that same logic.

PS Steven Spielberg is definitely a genius for coming up with the Star Wars saga and even more so for turning it into a film. I wonder if in today’s market he would still get a chance to develop his ideas or if he’d get rejected in favour of established brands from 40-50 years ago.
Marcus, of course you mean George Lucas, not Steven Spielberg.

Also, Star Wars was heavily temped before Mr. Williams had even started the project in earnest. Here is one example which although obvious, Mr. Williams did amazing things with:
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
While I agree we should be more respectful I don't love that old strawman chestnut that people criticize because they are jealous. Maybe they just dislike this kind of music, especially if they were weened on orchestral music composed by Stravinsky, Bartok, Beethoven, Bach, Prokofiev, Mahler, etc etc etc . It's fair to assume that might be the leading motivator.
You are missing out on the entire backstory that makes it funny, Samy is being ironic
 

Samy Cheboub

New Member
Toecutter's reasoning in this thread is 100% correct. You can't expect a composer with limited skills to be able to create complex/well-orchestrated pieces, great thematic material and developement.
Limited composers have to use "tricks" : deafening noises, repetitive pattern etc. to try to compensate their limitations. It's like screaming the same words again and again to hide the fact that you can't articulate meaningful sentences.
All this is just common sense, calling a spade a spade. Nothing to do with hate or jealousy.

It's such a shame that Toecutter applies this simple reasoning selectively.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
Toecutter's reasoning in this thread is 100% correct. You can't expect a composer with limited skills to be able to create complex/well-orchestrated pieces, great thematic material and developement.
Limited composers have to use "tricks" : deafening noises, repetitive pattern etc. to try to compensate their limitations. It's like screaming the same words again and again to hide the fact that you can't articulate meaningful sentences.
All this is just common sense, calling a spade a spade. Nothing to do with hate or jealousy.

It's such a shame that Toecutter applies this simple reasoning selectively.
To be fair in 2021 there is nothing more relatable to the average inhabitant of earth than just yelling at the top of your lungs unintelligibley.

I keep a pillow to scream into just to get through daily interaction these days

On a serious note, I think the simplicity is also respectable. Folk music is a great showcase of the beauty in simplicity.. often times just a pedal tone or drone with an a.b.a melody over it.

 

Fizzlewig

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Watched Godzilla vs Kong last night. Yep, as usual the typical big impact ensemble cues were all there. But I felt the score really lacked (in my opinion) an emotional charged theme between the girl and Kong. I just didn’t find what I heard connected me in a way that moved me. I remember watching Joker (can’t remember who the composer was) but wow, it grabbed me and moved me all the way through the film. I know the two films are a thousand miles apart etc.
 
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