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Top moments where a film/games that blew you away the first time you watched it (because of how the score was used)

musicbyjoao

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The following are some moments that immediately came to mind when thinking of occasions that blew me away when I watched them for the first time. They are mostly simple moments that were different than expected and therefore had a great impact and made some impression on me.

In no particular order:
(SPOILER WARNING- In case you haven't watched the movies, these observations may lessen the impact of the moments)

Film:
Life of Pi - Sinking ship scene
The contrast between the sad but beautiful scene of the heavy ship sinking, and the lightness of the choir singing pianissimo in a requiem-style arrangement, provided a beautiful touch of sadness to a very dramatic scene. I really enjoy how Mychael Danna made the transition so subtly to that part. The whole soundtrack to Life of Pi is outstanding to me, and I especially like how Mychael was able to use so many colours and ensembles in one movie.

Da Vinci Code - ending
The music starts with a simple ostinato idea as it portrays Tom Hanks´character the moment when he looks at himself in the mirror and the music gives you the idea that some spark is lighting up in his mind. The whole scene then just shows him walking, there's no action or anything interesting - just him walking - but the music tells the story here. The constant adding of layers and buildup just aurally provides you with a sense of reward and awe as the mystery slowly unfolds inside the character's head. This really draws the viewer in too.

Rescuers Down Under - Cody's Flight
Bruce Broughton did a fantastic job here with this quite long cue (considering its tempo as well). He pulls out all the stops. He hits everything; nailing so many nuances and going high as well as low with the orchestra. It's just a beautiful scene with a fantastic ending when Codi jumps from the waterfall and lands on the eagle's back. I can't help but feel like a kid every time I watch it. To think they did it with tape and calculated all of those tempo changes through SMPTE, before the software we have today, is absolutely fascinating to me.

StarWars - Anakin vs Obiwan
I was born in 1987, so my teenage years coincided with the prequels. Before them, I grew up watching Return of the Jedi on VHS and I remember always enjoying the part where John Williams introduces the choirs after Vader talks about bringing Luke's sister to the dark side, sparking a surge of energy from Luke to fight him. As for the Anakin vs. Obiwan, during the final battle to end the trilogy, John Williams just takes the drama, action and epicness to a whole new level. That, alongside the drama of these close 2 friends battling, makes the moment so much better.

Interstellar - Bass note
I could write about how Hans Zimmer beautifully portrays the big wave as big and majestic, during the very moment the camera upward tilt stops, without conveying any sense of impending danger or terror. Or how the harmony changes slower the usual in that world. I could also talk about how the chase scenes are so gripping because of the music, or how the spotting is so elegantly simple.
However, the moments when Matthew McConaghey's character is watching the footage of the years he lost or holding his daughter's hand in the end are, for me, cases where the spotting is superb. All of these scenes are beautifully shot, lit and acted, and the music was just... simple! The sum of all of its parts is what made the scenes memorable in my opinion. The call to keep it minimal and spacious with the ostinato was brilliant. However, what really makes you hold your breath is whenever there is a line, a "dramatic" punch line, and all the music adds is a subtle bass note. The score really is brilliant in its simplicity and effectiveness.

For games:

Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Noel's Theme in Dream sequence
This is a level where you find yourself in a dream where the soundtrack is a very touching... song! This took me by surprise and it really makes the player feel he's in an emotional dream.

Ori and The Blind Forest - Boss fights
I'd loose a life on purpose sometimes just to keep experiencing the soundtrack mixed with the gameplay. It's just phenomenal and uses so many different colours. Funny enough, the use of different colours reminds me a bit of Life of Pi, now that I think about it. Not that one was inspired on the other.

Sonic The Hedgehog - Theme and 1st level
When I was growing up, I didn't have Nintendo. But I remember playing Sonic for the first time at my cousin's place. The speed, colours and music were just so new and lively that the soundtrack got stuck in my head and many others of my generation.

Tomb Raider
I think it is in the first of the latest instalments of Tomb Raider where there is a scene full of explosions as you escape a house in a snowy mountain. The music was largely written in a high register, which allows for SFX and music to very present at the same time. I thought it was impactful and very smart. (note: at this time I had TV speakers, so it is possible that some of the lower frequencies from the orchestra with the explosions were a hit and miss, however, it worked quite well as I heard it. I haven't gotten back to hear it again, actually. But it got stuck in my mind. Will research it today.)
 
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blackzeroaudio

New Member
I have too many to recall....but the one that really sticks out to me off the top of my head was the first time playing Mass Effect 3 and Leaving Earth starts playing.

I don't know why that one resonates with me still, but it does.
 
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musicbyjoao

musicbyjoao

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I have too many to recall....but the one that really sticks out to me off the top of my head was the first time playing Mass Effect 3 and Leaving Earth starts playing.

I don't know why that one resonates with me still, but it does.
I haven't played Mass Effect yet! I will add it to my to-play list once I finish Gear of War 5. Which I'm guessing will be sometime next year. Would you recommend starting with the first game or go directly to the 3rd one? I know there is this feature where your accomplishments from one game are carried on to the next one.
 

tdolby

New Member
Good choices!

Greatest life-defining movie score moment for me, aged 17:

Vertigo
An hour and a quarter into this movie, we still don’t know what kind of film it is – Tragic romance? Psychological thriller? Private detective mystery? Scottie (James Stewart) is in a care home where they apparently used Mozart to help his recovery from the traumatic experience of watching his sweetheart commit suicide.

The camera does a long, slow pan across the San Francisco skyline, and from Bernard Herrmann’s happy cadence we’re almost ready for the end credits to roll. But then suddenly the score morphs into that terrifying, aching love theme, and at this moment we realise in our gut that Scottie is anything but cured of his self-destructive obsession... and there he is, perving the apartment building of his dead lover.... we’re only 2/3 of the way in, with the awful climax still to come.

Best movie score of all time IMHO.
 
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musicbyjoao

musicbyjoao

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Good choices!

Greatest life-defining movie score moment for me, aged 17:

Vertigo
An hour and a quarter into this movie, we still don’t know what kind of film it is – Tragic romance? Psychological thriller? Private detective mystery? Scottie (James Stewart) is in a care home where they apparently used Mozart to help his recovery from the traumatic experience of watching his sweetheart commit suicide.

The camera does a long, slow pan across the San Francisco skyline, and from Bernard Herrmann’s happy cadence we’re almost ready for the end credits to roll. But then suddenly the score morphs into that terrifying, aching love theme, and at this moment we realise in our gut that Scottie is anything but cured of his self-destructive obsession... and there he is, perving the apartment building of his dead lover.... we’re only 2/3 of the way in, with the awful climax still to come.

Best movie score of all time IMHO.

Thank you for this wonderful reply! Amazing moment indeed. You made me want to re-watch it.
 
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musicbyjoao

musicbyjoao

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Gladiator
The build-up to the opening battle, with that macabre waltz dancing underneath to ramp up the tension. Really took my breath away in the cinema when I first saw it.

Good one! For me, it would be the very ending of it =)


At the beginning of The Shining the music playing while watching an arial view of the car heading through the mountains just put you in a mindset that you were about to go on a long strange trip.

I remember analysing that opening in class! Quite a contrast, isn't it?
 

cloudbuster

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Single scene from the top of my head?


...
(Apart from that scene I do like the rest of the Apocalypse score quite a bit, especially the synthie parts by Francis' father Carmine.
I watched that movie right after it came out and fell sick during the screening, too many question marks and whatnot for that 14 year old kid. It's still my #1 movie and xyz knows how much it has influenced my life ever since.)
 
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musicbyjoao

musicbyjoao

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Single scene from the top of my head?


...
(Apart from that scene I do like the rest of the Apocalypse score quite a bit, especially the synthie parts by Francis' father Carmine.
I watched that movie right after it came out and fell sick during the screening, too many question marks and whatnot for that 14 year old kid. It's still my #1 movie and xyz knows how much it has influenced my life ever since.)

My father usually mentions this scene whenever we happen to mention about favourite moments in movies! It is really well used.
 

Fenicks

Bedroom Producer

The best combination of action and music I've ever experienced. The strings feel so desperate and heroic.


(Spoilers) This moment in The Last of Us. The music is an iteration of a phrase that appears frequently throughout the score. I think of it as the 'lost loved ones' theme. We first hear it with a violin when the protagonist's child dies in the prologue after which it breaks down and is played on a ronroco. When we hear it throughout the game it is usually incomplete or plucked, creating a feeling of melancholy and yearning. The return of the violin in this final iteration elevates the theme to its most powerful and complete expression, echoing the events in the climax of the game. Ack, my heart...
 
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Traz

Active Member
I remember the score for 'Arrival' blowing me away. There was a particular scene that I remember thinking was really great because the score was creating so much tension, and I really love tension!

One of the first films I really fell in love with when I was very young was 'Back to the Future' and the score was so impactful to me. To this day the BTTF trilogy are still my favorite films of all time.

Also, 'Star Wars'! again at a very young age, the first film I ever saw in theatre's was 'Return of the Jedi'(I think this was somewhere around the mid 90's) and that first moment the music started I was
completely hooked. I was absolutely blown away.

For video game scores I would also agree with 'Mass Effect 3', I remember that leaving earth moment really well too!

But I have to mention 'Dead Space'. The score for that game is just terrifying. It's so awesome! I've never been able to finish that game, and it's largely due to the score amplifying the level of terror. I just can't
handle it.
 

szczaw

Active Member
Can't think of any typical score that floored me. What comes to mind instead is Le Roi Danse. That prompted a sub to classical archives and going through baroque music.
 
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batonruse

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This moment in The Last of Us. The music is an iteration of a phrase that appears frequently throughout the score. I think of it as the 'lost loved ones' theme. We first hear it with a violin when the protagonist's child dies in the prologue after which it breaks down and is played on a ronroco. When we hear it throughout the game it is usually incomplete or plucked, creating a feeling of melancholy and yearning. The return of the violin in this final iteration elevates the theme to its most powerful and complete expression, echoing the events in the climax of the game. Ack, my heart...


Thanks for introducing this this beautiful piece music to me.
 

Fenicks

Bedroom Producer
This moment in The Last of Us. The music is an iteration of a phrase that appears frequently throughout the score. I think of it as the 'lost loved ones' theme. We first hear it with a violin when the protagonist's child dies in the prologue after which it breaks down and is played on a ronroco. When we hear it throughout the game it is usually incomplete or plucked, creating a feeling of melancholy and yearning. The return of the violin in this final iteration elevates the theme to its most powerful and complete expression, echoing the events in the climax of the game. Ack, my heart...


Thanks for introducing this this beautiful piece music to me.

You're welcome! If you're after higher quality audio than the in-game clip above, it's on Youtube.

 
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