2010 Wrap-Up

So I know that I’ve already posted my year-end awards, but I wanted to do one more post on the year that was to put a nice bow on things.

It was quite the year, though.  A number of great scores were released, not to mention some great new CD releases.  Let’s discuss the CD releases first.  We had THREE separate Star Trek scores released: new two disc editions of not only the Tempi© award winning Star Trek V, but also Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Michael Giacchino’s new Star Trek score.  On top of which was FSM’s Ron Jones box-set featuring most of his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  We also had Danny Elfman’s two Batman scores released and a new La-La Land edition of Nelson Riddle’s old 1966 Batman film score.  Lost fans were also treated with 4 discs of material covering Giacchino’s final seasons-worth of work on the zeitgeist defining show.  And Varese Sarabande also gave us the hefty Spartacus box-set mentioned previously in the blog.  And that’s only scratching the surface of the great CDs put out by the labels specializing in film scores.

In terms of new scores, it was a wonderfully varied year, with many traditional sounding score released (James Horner’s The Karate Kid and James Newton Howard’s The Last Airbender among others), but if there was a single trend that I took away from this year, it was the growing use and mainstreaming of electronic/ambient musicians in film scoring.  Now, they have been present since the advent of electronic music, but it seems like this year the practice really broke into major filmmaking.  Namely, there were two scores: French electronic-music duo Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy score and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for The Social Network.  Further, Reznor and Ross have already been tapped to score Network‘s director David Fincher’s next project, and if there is a sequel to Tron, you better believe that Daft Punk will be involved.  In my opinion, that movie would not have been anywhere near as watchable as it was without their amazing score.

There were also many pleasant surprises from unexpected places.  Fellow blogger and film music enthusiast Herr Vogler had this to say:

“The biggest surprises of the year?

Salt (looks around guiltily) because it’s a lot of damned fun and Robin Hood was actually quite impressive in some ways (I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it and I was pleasantly surprised by it).”

I didn’t see Salt, but I would heartily agree with Robin Hood.  The film was strictly mediocre, but the score had many nice moments, and it makes me less nervous about the prospect of Marc Streitenfeld scoring Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel project (now titled Prometheus).  James Horner’s The Karate Kid score would also make my list of pleasant surprises (along with the film itself).  I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, but I found the film, and his score especially, quite charming.  One of the few remakes that I feel live up to the original…though I was never a huge fan of Bill Conti’s original Karate Kid score.

One of my other favorite memories of the year is excellent trailer for The Social Network that I talked about earlier on this blog (check out the post here for my full analysis).  If you want to watch it again (and I still do), here it is, one last time:

And after seeing the film, I can say that the song brilliantly captures the tone of the film, and in so many ways sums up everything that is so powerful about the film itself.

So, what are my top ten scores of the year?  Well if you’re curious, here they are, in reverse order:

10. The Karate Kid – James Horner

9. Alice in Wonderland – Danny Elfman

8. Lost: “The End” (Series Finale) – Michael Giacchino

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I  – Alexandre Desplat

6. Black Swan – Clint Mansell

5. Human Target: Season 1 – Bear McCreary

4. True Grit – Carter Burwell

3. Inception – Hans Zimmer

2. The Social Network – Trent Resznor and Atticus Ross

1. TRON: Legacy – Daft Punk

And in reality, those top 3 could almost be in any order.  Any of them could be number one and in some way or another, they are all deserving of the honor.

Lastly, I shall once again go out on a limb and make my bold Oscar predictions.  Two of my top scores of the year have already been disqualified (Black Swan and True Grit) and I would be greatly surprised if both Social Network and TRON: Legacy are nominated because of the stupid two composers rule (i.e. The Dark Knight).  So based on other awards and such, here are my guesses for the five nominees: Inception (Zimmer), The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat), Alice in Wonderland (Elfman), 127 Hours (AR Rahman), and – even though I have reservations about them nominating it – The Social Network (Reznor/Ross).  I think academy would be really hard-pressed to ignore Social Network especially with all the positive attention it has received.  Looking over this list, though, I realize that I have just named EXACTLY the same 5 films nominated by the Golden Globes, and those two award don’t always go hand in hand.  Oh well.  We’ll see how it goes.

Well, that’s it for 2010, here’s hoping 2011 is just even better.  So long, farewell, adieu.

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