Being a decades-old industry, Hollywood has given us some top-notch content. Additionally, as mentioned before, Music is as much of an important part of a movie as it’s story. In fact, music often helps drive the story forward. There’s a lot that cannot be said in exposition, but can only be felt. Said emotions are stimulated in a film, by its background score.
Thus today, we shall look into such soundtracks that have created their own impact worldwide. This is Part 2 of a similar article in which we have covered 5 other iconic Hollywood themes.
STAR WARS (THE MOVIE SERIES)
An iconic movie franchise deserves an iconic theme. The STAR WARS theme is one that evokes a sense of awe and excitement in people of all ages. Indeed it’s a generation and age defying piece of work and so is the music.
What makes this theme iconic, is how it manages to encapsulate all kinds of emotions. This is a piece of music that sounds regal and royal, yet makes sure to keep the sci-fi element alive in it. Thus, the tone and idea of the Star Wars Universe is respected; it’s based in a galaxy far far away but isn’t your typical sci-fi setting. Instead, it’s more like a Lord Of The Rings set in space.
Additionally, the STAR WARS theme also evokes the hopeful Jedi theme, with the high notes that the trumpets take. The support given by the few violins reflect the weird and little alien worlds and creatures (Eg. Ewoks). The STAR WARS films are known for our Jedi heroes interacting with various creatures from the galaxy and thus the trumpets and violins merge at times to give a great symphony.
If it was not for this movie, Batman as a character would’ve gone down as a character deemed unfit for the camera. Tim Burton understood the darkness of this hero. Additionally, the music composer Danny Elfman also encapsulated the gothic nature of Batman
The 1989 Batman theme is thus, a reflection of this understanding. Starting mildly and in a dim volume, it signifies the vigilante lurking behind the shadows, in the dark. there’s a point after the initial bar where the music suddenly picks up for a few seconds. This, thus signifies the emergence in true form, of Batman.
After this, the music properly picks up, signifying the speeding Bat-Mobile. Throughout the theme, the Gothic feel is maintained by Elfman. Indeed it encapsulates Gotham city as well as the dark underbelly of the city. However, despite all the darkness and gritty nature, Batman is still a hero, a Dark Knight. Thus, Elfman ensures that portions of the theme have only strings and rhythm so that the music feels heroic and grand.
Such complex thought went into creating this piece of art and thus, Elfman’s 1989 Batman theme has become iconic today.
JAMES BOND (THE MOVIE SERIES)
Electric guitars and distortion is often associated with goth and emo; but little did we know that it could also fit in with a suave British spy as well. Thus, what we have today, are those iconic guitar strings that begin the Bond theme. The Strings evoke the covert nature of the Spy that is BOND.
Additionally, the trumpets chime in later in the theme, which aptly reflect the suave British gentleman nature of our hero. These trumpets are the high notes while cellos come in with the lower pitch parts. Played simultaneously and alternately, these 2 enhance the battle ready-ness of James Bond.
Such thought has gone into creating a theme, that does justice to the character. Composer Monty Norman encapsulates the sophisticated gentlemanly nature of Bond, while not compromising on the badassery of the character. This is why this theme has went on to be one for the ages; a theme shared by multiple actors, directors and Bond Films.
SUPERMAN (THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE MOVIE SERIES)
The Hero who started it all, the first superhero to properly grace the screen deserves his own theme which lasts for time as long as the character itself. Composer John Williams ensures this as well and thus, we get the most iconic superhero theme in Hollywood.
The whole theme literally rises. From 1 instrument to a couple and ultimately the orchestra shows the character progression of Clark Kent a.k.a Superman. One can even look at this theme as a musical reflection of Superman’s Flight; how he gradually starts hovering, floating and then takes off.
Additionally, Williams ensures that the notes in the theme always ascend i.e they always go up. This reflects the personality of this character who’s the “Quintessential Good Guy” and thus, devoid of any negative aspects pulling him down. On top of that, Superman is also seen as a modern day Jesus Christ as a result his theme is always positive and hopeful.
Another reason for the tone of the theme is because Superman is the personification of HOPE. That’s what the symbol on his chest means…………..That’s what the House of El preaches.
John Williams is considered a Hollywood Music Legend for a reason. He’s given a number of iconic themes, as mentioned above and the INDIANA JONES Franchise films also was fortunate to have his talents. Williams did live up to his name in this.
The theme is fast paced, just like Indiana Jones’s adventures. Indie always is on the run, whether it’s from demons or aliens or even hostile tribes and booby traps and this theme encapsulates it all. Additionally, when the trumpets kick in, the “hero music” also rises. What this means is that the trumpets make the theme feel more triumphant and heroic. This aptly showcases how great our hero is. He is someone who braves all odds and emerges victorious against anyone.
The low notes on the synthesizers and cellos bring gravitas to the theme. This reflects the stakes of the Indiana Jones films. This seamless mixture of all these diverse elements is what makes this theme iconic.