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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)

PhilA

New Member
As a total newb here, I’m pleased to see a mention and I’m in total agreement about the scene from Sunshine posted previously. There’s something about the visual timing together with that piece that just works amazingly well.

The first time I recall music hitting me hard in the cinema was the opening stabs of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and is there anything more sinister than those minor 2nd’s in Jaws.
 

NekujaK

Searching for the Lost Chord
Here are a few that come to mind...

The Natural - gorgeous score that culminates with one of the greatest triumphant climaxes during the final home run scene. Sends shivers up my spine and elevates my spirit every time.

The Man with the Golden Arm - Elmer Bernstein's brash jazzy score delivers an exhilirating one-two punch that's hard to forget.

2001: A Space Odyssey - the apes, the monolith, the music... it doesn't get much better than this.

Brian's Song - as if the story wasn't sad enough, Michel Legrand's wistful theme ensures the waterworks will start flowing.

American Graffiti - not a composed score, but the everpresent string of radio hits that endlessly play in the background are a vital presence in the film that can't be ignored.

The Last Wave - I believe this was the first time a didjeridu was used in a film score, and coupled with the mysterious storyline concerning aboriginal tribal traditions, creates a mesmerizing and unforgettable impression.

Raging Bull - the slow motion opening to the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana. Pure art.

Sid & Nancy - there's a brief scene in the film where they are kissing in an alley while garbage rains down in slow motion that's underscored by a haunting cue that's mostly acoustic guitar and synth. The music forever etched that scene in my brain.

Punch-Drunk Love - the percussive score that's progressively mixed louder and louder totally messed with my head... in a good way.

Juno - this is when I first became aware of lofi acoustic indie songs being used to score a film. This would basically become the indie film sound for the next decade or so, and hearing it in Juno for the first time made a huge impression on me.

Melancholia - the hauntingly effective use of Wagner at key points in the film, and especially the intro sequence.
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
The one that gives me goosebumps.
The Sixth Station - Spirited Away - Joe Hisaishi

And there are lots of scenes in Mayazaki’s movie where the music fits so well to the picture.

Which reminds me also of the final scene of Kitano’s Hana-bi.
 

paularthur

Active Member
Final Fantasy 7: Bombing Mission.

Inception: the ending part with the top spinning.

AND...
The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale: I won't spoil it.
 

JonS

Senior Member
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.)
There Will Be Blood 🩸
Birdman
Rocky
Pink Panther
Superman
Star Wars
The Lord of the Rings
Oliver!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate 🍫 Factory
The Revenant
Fury
Gravity
 

Dietz

Space Explorer
Melancholia - the hauntingly effective use of Wagner at key points in the film, and especially the intro sequence.
Funny you say that. "Melancholia" is one of the few movies I wouldn't watch again just for fun due to the overuse of the same bars of over-the-top-cliché Wagner, again and again (and AGAIN). :confused:

Each to his own! ;-D
 

Tremendouz

Senior Member
The cutscene before the last phase of the final boss in Okami. The way the music gradually grows from quiet and sad to triumphant and uplifting while the scene progresses really moved to me and that's something that rarely happens in games.

The music in question:
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
The cutscene before the last phase of the final boss in Okami. The way the music gradually grows from quiet and sad to triumphant and uplifting while the scene progresses really moved to me and that's something that rarely happens in games.

The music in question:
Fantastic game & fantastic music.
Aaaah you made me want to play it again.
 

telecode101

Active Member
I am going to go with some of the Walter Hill and Ridley Scott films of the 80s and 90s. I think that was the first time where I noticed the music more than the film and film stars themselves. Which is actually a bad thing because the music is supposed to play a subsidiary role to the film and visuals. Film that come to mind: Blade Runner, Paris Texas, Last Man Standing, Gladiator,
 

mallux

Chris Malley
Watership Down for me... between Angela Morley’s spooky (yet restrained) score, Bright Eyes and the freaky Black Rabbit of Inlé bobbing about the place, it was easily the first film to leave a lasting impression on me. The bass flute and cor anglais combo instantly makes me think of English countryside now.

I get similar chills from Princess Mononoke... Joe Hisaishi is top of my spotify playlist. But it wasn’t the “first”. 🐇
 

Gauss

The Untalented
Game: Homeworld (1999). Mothership Launch. Song used: Quire of Voyces - Agnus Dei (Choral version of Samuel Barbers Adagio for Strings).
 

amorphosynthesis

Active Member
First thing that comes to mind.....iconic filmography

and


it's brilliant and chilling....
it's soundtrack incorporated in the film(without the latter being a musical).
 

muratkayi

Member
A tiny bit of hijacking as I had to think of a stage production where this happened to me.

I was watching a ballet adaptation of Alice in wonderland, called "Alice" where the musicians were incorporated into the stage scenes. The music was following italian folk and traditional themes. The whole show started with the flute player doing the finger movements of the intro theme without breathing into the flute. As a result, the flute mimicked a clock ticking. That's how the evening began. I was already drawn into the literal rabbit hole (always too late,
the watch, the time!) before the stage was even lit. I thought, well this is going to be totally awesome. Then the flute theme started. I was right. It was an absolutely marvellous show.
 
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