Mon. May 20th, 2024

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Album Review: Godzilla – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

3 min read

French composer Alexandre Desplat was the man chosen to bring Godzilla to life with his brand new soundtrack for the feature length film. Desplat is a man of many credentials, including recent work on such films as The Monuments Men, Philomena, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty and the final two Harry Potter movies. He is a Grammy and Golden Globe award winner, as well a being a six-time Academy award nominee. For Godzilla, the Parisian-born composer worked closely with director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) as the score began to take shape, to establish as he describes “a great sense in continuity between what your are seeing and hearing”. Having never worked on a ‘monster’ movie before, Desplat moved into new territory, able to bring in the Hollywood Studio Orchestra to record the soundtrack, working with more than a hundred musicians.

Godzilla - OriginalMotionPictureSoundtrackIn order for this score to work, it needs to pack as much of a punch as Godzilla itself. It needs to be ferocious, intimidating, chaotic and equally as important, it needs to grip you in suspense. This is a tale of destruction and the music needs to be able to keep up.

And how well Desplat and those folks in the Studio Orchestra have performed. They get a hold on those all important factors and bring them into score with ease. Opening track Godzilla! holds you in dramatic suspense, throwing you into the unknown with the use of those big old brass instruments. Its unnerving, to say the least. We hear a glimpse of the main theme used here, however only very slightly, for this score is not about recognizable motifs, but more of an entire movement.

The relentless action can be heard in tracks such as The Power Plant and Last Shot, where the brass section again stands on the front line. It is helped along on immensely with the use of percussion, which keeps the score moving at great pace. There are times when we a lulled into a false sense of calm, only to be catapulted back into a scene of panic and disorder. Back to Janira, opening with a melancholy piano slowly but surely provides us with this example as it transforms into all out mayhem.

The score is a dark, brooding one that never lets you settle. We are brutishly pushed and pulled along the soundscape, emerging out the other end feeling a little like an old rag-doll, perhaps a little similar to those citizens of San Francisco, after a chance meeting with the monster itself. There are moments of change where you can feel the sense of sympathy in the music, with the second half of Godzilla’s Victory showcasing a minimalist, reflective and sparse picture, however it isn’t long before we are led back into the fray. In terms of matching the music with moving image, Desplat and Co. have triumphed. He has proven he can create music for all occasions, having not attempted anything this brutal before. The score is bold, energetic, and comes at you with as much force as Godzilla ever would. A thoroughly descriptive, rewarding piece of music in its entirety.