Deceitful movie score?
I take a lot from movie scores into as well as out of the films I see. Due to a teenage involvement with music or whatever the heck made me so, I am completely addicted to exciting movie scores (for the uninitiated, it’s the soundtrack composed for the movie, not the latest Beyoncé song that was bundled in it) and listen to those much more than anything else in my life. I listen to exciting adventure and action movies while I exercise, listen to a toned-down classic while I am working and, basically, this leads the direction of what I am doing. I do listen to other stuff as well, just not so very often.
This proves a disadvantage while watching movies, since I am very much influenced by the score as I see it. A scene and, consequently, the movie attached to it might be considered great by me, simply because the music was awesome. A prime example for this are Michael Bay movies. I remember loving most of them and hearing meaningful hatred by other people afterwards. I remember viewing them again and loving them, because the music in Michael Bay movies is just so fantastic. First he had the support of the great Hans Zimmer, but being succeeded by Steve Jablonsky is the opposite of bad. Maybe the best example I can give to this is the movie Oblivion, which isn’t at all good (has its merits, though), but features an amazing score by electronic musician Anthony Gonzales (from M83) and makes me remember the movie as a true masterpiece when I listen to it.
This is why, now, the score by Danny Elfmann for Fifty Shades of Grey is puzzling me. Elfmann is a serious composer. He did most, if not all, Tim Burton movies, including his musicals A Nightmare Before Christmas Sweeney Todd. Danny Elfmann is one of the best pros in the business and one of the few that can still call himself authentic.
Although the last part doesn’t apply to Fifty Shades of Grey, since most of it sounds a lot like Craig Armstrong, the music sounds amazing in its own right. I feel the need to point out that Craig Armstrong is my favorite composer, which of course makes my opinion rather biased. Nonetheless, it is good music, features some interesting queues and gave me an early impression of the setting of the movie.
And then I started reading the reviews.
Apparently, the adaptation for E. L. James’ novel is anything but the above. It is badly written, directed and acted and the co-stars feature almost no chemistry, an absolute must when you are talking about romance between people who are at permanent odds, but are pulled back together by their unexplainable attraction. I am yet to see the movie to clarify if critics and the audience alike have been to eager to dish out a polemic adaptation of polemic source material. The impression is, however, that even Danny Elfmann needs a paycheck once in a while and his involvement with a bad movie does not get in the way of his work’s quality, even though it lacks in originality.