The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)

The Imitation Game Soundtrack Cover

The Imitation Game Soundtrack Cover

The Imitation Game Soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat (2014)

Get it:  If you like a score that uses heavy piano and strings and is intended to focus on another era of music

Don’t get it:  If you are hoping for a modern action or drama style score

From Sony Classical comes Alexandre Desplat’s latest soundtrack, this time for the film starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley called The Imitation Game.  The opening track, aptly titled, “The Imitation Game”, is very promising.  It is somewhat intense, but there is also an element of almost fantasy as well.  It gives the impression of darkness, but also a bit of human brilliance.  There’s a lot going on with the individual instruments, but they all combine together to make one smooth sound.

Desplat uses a strings and piano combo to make something both beautiful and slightly ominous at the same time.  Having said that, the ‘ominous’ factor may also be interpreted as mysterious or even full of wonder, depending on the context of the film.  There is not doubt that this score is from Desplat, his style and influence are easily identifiable.

Alexandre consistently uses a piano in the foreground very well.  Part of the reason that this OST is so intriguing and unique is because of how Desplat is able to somehow make orchestral instruments, specifically the piano, at times sound like electronic sounds.  This score is not action-packed in the way that modern movie-goers have gotten used to, but it definitely has action and is not boring at all.  It leans toward, overall, being more stirring than driving.  This is a fantastic soundtrack for creating an atmosphere, feelings, and emotions.

Some tracks, such as “Crosswords”, feel “airy” due to the piano/harp/strings combination.  Later, though, Desplat adds the use of bells to completely change the feel and direction of the score.  Mesmerizing is a very good word to describe this OST.  At some points, an understandable comparison may be made to James Horner’s score for A Beautiful Mind.  Having said that, don’t go into listening to it expecting something like that because it may ruin your first impression.  However, after listening to it, some people may feel comfortable making the comparison.

This is absolutely a good soundtrack from Desplat and a good job, too.  He obviously put some effort and real thought into creating this score.  When paired with the film, this score has the power to do amazing things, we’ll have to wait and see. 

Click here to preview the soundtrack from Yahoo! Music

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Godzilla (Alexandre Desplat)

Godzilla Soundtrack Cover (Alexandre Desplat) (2014)

Godzilla Soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat (2014)

Get it: If you enjoy consistent suspense and action throughout a soundtrack

Don’t get it: If you are looking for a more melodic soundtrack with some variations in theme

In order to better understand this soundtrack, the premise of the story should be clarified (no spoilers!).  As far as well written stories go, this is not at the top of the list.  Now, that is not to say that this is a bad story because it isn’t, but rather there is only so much story that can go with a movie about a giant monster in California which has already been told many times.  Having said that, it is still a good story.  Anyway, there isn’t all that much to work with regarding character emotions or depth of plot.  This is all to say that the soundtrack, which is rather monotonous in theme, does work well with the movie.  Directed by Gareth Edwards, this score did a fantastic job of setting the mood for the events which occur in the film.

Early on, the listener can feel that there must be something hiding in the shadows.  This is achieved by Desplat’s very well done combination of strings and percussion often accented with good brass to accomplish a great “eerie” sound.  This soundtrack did an excellent job of bringing the story of Godzilla into the modern era while still paying respect to the originals and their feel.  Parts of it are slightly reminiscent of the style made famous by Hans Zimmer (such as Inception), but most parts are clearly distinguishable from him — mostly by a greater range of notes and melody than Zimmer’s usual.  The uses of some instruments, such as the piano, are nothing particularly special but none-the-less get the job done.  There are multiple references to Japanese music and instruments throughout that add to the authenticity of the film.

This soundtrack is somewhat redundant and is not particularly one to listen to just because it sounds good.  However, with the visuals of the film, it is an excellent fit.

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