Readers Poll – Top 10 Film Scores of 2010
Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote in this year’s readers survey. Over 200 people voted and over 1,600 votes were cast. While I expected certain scores to appear, it was interesting to watch the list form and morph over the voting period. Out of the 201 scores listed, 161 of them received at least one vote.
While this list certainly doesn’t match mine (nor should it), there are a couple of overlaps, several scores that didn’t quite make my cut, and a couple that weren’t anywhere close. This lists provide me with a lot of useful information on what sorts of scores you’re interested in (as well as a few head scratchers). I will continue to strive to provide you with even more film music coverage in 2011.
10. LOST: THE LAST EPISODES – Michael Giacchino[audio:lost.mp3]
37 Votes–Giacchino’s end to his Emmy-winning work on LOST narrowly edged out David Arnold’s latest NARNIA chapter for inclusion in your list. Having never watched a single episode of the show or heard any of the music for the series, I have no opinion one way or the other. But any list that includes Giacchino can’t be all bad.
9. THE KARATE KID – James Horner[audio:karatekid3.mp3]
42 Votes–Horner has always been more popular with most film music fans than myself. But his latest was an enjoyable surprise for me. Though the score still echoes TITANIC and AVATAR, there are memorable themes, some exciting action sequences and he doesn’t overplay the Asian influences in the music. I seriously considered this for my list as well.
8. THE GHOST WRITER – Alexandre Desplat[audio:ghostwriter2.mp3]
51 Votes–For a film that didn’t exactly rock the box office boat, I’m happy to see other film music fans embrace Desplat’s worthy effort. By any rights, Desplat would get a double Oscar nomination for this and THE KING’S SPEECH, but he’ll have a harder time for this exciting early-year effort.
7. THE WOLFMAN – Danny Elfman[audio:wolfman.mp3]
58 Votes–Boy, this movie was a stinker. They got the look of the film right, but Benicio del Toro’s somnambulistic performance ruined what could have been an enjoyable take on this classic story. Elfman’s score, however, perfectly captures the Gothic tone. The score makes more of an impression on CD than it does hacked up in the film.
6. THE LAST AIRBENDER – James Newton Howard[audio:lastairbender3.mp3]
64 Votes–If any score is evidenced that the power of film music does not have to rely on the images it accompanies, I suppose this would qualify. M. Night Shyamalan’s film was crucified by the critics, but film music fans certainly took to the score. I’m still waiting for someone to explain exactly what makes this score special. I don’t hear it.
5. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1 – Alexandre Desplat[audio:deathlyhallows3.mp3]
65 Votes–Some fans have been disappointed with this score because they’re still pining for the return of John Williams. My disappointment with the score comes from the (expected) hybrid with Williams’ style, not allowing Desplat to fully express his own voice. I have made peace with remaining in the minority on this one.
4. TRON: LEGACY – Daft Punk[audio:tronlegacy.mp3]
68 Votes–I thoroughly enjoyed this score and I considered it for my list. I appreciate Daft Punk’s attempt to write a contemporary film score, and the mixture of electronica and traditional orchestral elements works well. They’ve certainly studied their Zimmer closely. The inclusion of this score on your list was no surprise, though I wonder if has more to do with the film’s popularity at the moment.
3. ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Danny Elfman[audio:aliceinwonderland3.mp3]
85 Votes–Here’s the one score that most readers probably expected to see on my list, and it was seriously considered. But the more I listened to it, the most memorable element of the score was that main theme. And it’s a great theme, don’t get me wrong. But I wasn’t as blown away by the rest of the score as many film music fans. Still, it’s another solid effort from Elfman (which once again works better on CD).
2. INCEPTION – Hans Zimmer[audio:inception1.mp3]
97 Votes–For all the bitching and moaning on message boards about this score since its, ahem, inception, it’s nice to see that when fans vote in the dark of cyberspace, their true feelings are revealed. I think fans appreciate this score more than they may want to admit publicly, especially now that the luster has worn off the film’s hype from the summer. If Zimmer wins the Oscar (which I’m expecting at this point), expect a fresh round of bitching about that too.
1. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – John Powell[audio:dragon2.mp3]
106 Votes–For the second year, an animated score topped your list. To me, this indicates that film music fans are itching for scores that are filled with memorable themes and music that arouses the emotions. This score provides that in spades.