Friday, December 3, 2010

Review- Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 OST

**Before you read this, please note that I am not an expert in music or film scores, BUT I am a major fan of the genre. I really love and enjoy listening to original film scores very much. What I have written in this post is just my humble and honest opinion regarding the music of the Harry Potter films and their composers.**

After listening to the OST of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 for the past two weeks, I figured that I should do a review, being that I am a MAJOR fan of original movie scores. I haven't seen the movie yet (I was suppose to go and see it last Saturday but I ended up getting sick, so I have no clue when I'll see it) With what I listened to from the soundtrack, I honestly feel more excited about seeing the movie!

As a few of you might know, I absolutely LOVE John Williams. He is a MUSICAL GENIUS! Ever since I saw the original Star Wars trilogy when I was a little kid (The good old days of VHS!) I have been a fan of John Williams. His scores and compositions are really incredible. What I love about his music is how it brings the movie to life. 

When I first saw the teaser trailer for Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone 9 years ago, I was not only blown away with what I saw but with what I heard. Hedwig's Theme was playing throughout the trailer and I was in awe of the beautiful and magical theme. When I found out that John Williams was doing the music for the movie, I was just EXCITED! The man who created the spectacular music for Star Wars would be creating the music for the movie adaptation of the first book in my favorite series!

Needless to say, John Williams has created a whole new world with his scores for the first three Harry Potter films. What I love about his music, is that there are always central themes that he focuses on, as a way to give the movie it's unique sound. When it comes to the first three Harry Potter films, there are three special and different themes that capture the essence of each movie.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone: Hedwigs Theme

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets: Fawkes The Phoenix

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban: A Window To The Past

When Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire was released, I was very sad that John Williams did not return to create the score. Instead, Patrick Doyle was chosen as composer for the film. His score wasn't bad, it was good but I honestly did miss John Williams. I still had hope that he would return to do Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, but that and Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince were left to Nicholas Hooper, who I believed did an alright/good job with his scores. When I mean by this is that I really disliked his score for Order of The Phoenix (except for certain tracks) but he greatly improved with his score for Half Blood Prince (A good amount of tracks were Good).

When word got out that Nicholas Hooper would not return to compose Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1, I honestly felt a bit relieved! In my mind, this meant that there was a HIGH possibility that John Williams would return and give the movies that magical and amazing music that they have missed and deserve. My little bubble was soon popped when it was announced that Alexandre Desplat would be composing the score for the movie.

On the other hand, I didn't necessarily feel worried. Unlike Nicholas Hooper, Desplat has worked on many other films which gives him a lot of experience when it comes to composing for films rather them composing for television shows. Although my heart was set on John WIlliams, I felt that Desplat deserved a chance to show all of us Harry Potter fans what he could bring to the series.

After listening to his score for the past two weeks, I have come to the conclusion that he did a really GOOD job with the music. His score sounded really refreshing! Which to some extent, didn't necessarily feel like a Harry Potter score. But that's not really a bad thing though. Desplat really did come through for the series. I believe that the fact that he is a fan of the Harry Potter books made a difference with his work. In certain tracks you can FEEL the emotion within the music. I also have to say that I have a few disappointments with this soundtrack. Certain tracks did not appeal to me because of their sound and their length, and the lack of "Hedwig's Theme" made the soundtrack feel somewhat bare.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Official Soundtrack Music Video

Every time I watch this video I get even MORE excited about seeing the movie! The music works so well with the clips! The use of "Obliviate", "Sky Battle", and "At The Burrow" are blended in so well! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 

Track List:

1. "Obliviate" – 3:01 The first time I listened to this track, I found myself closing my eyes and imagining the start of the movie. A black screen and the Warner Bros. logo fading in from the darkness. I knew right then and there that this was the core of the soundtrack- the central theme. A dark yet somewhat uplifting track that starts with an eerie silence that fades into a distant pounding of drums and then a swift of strings.   2:10-2:25 reminded me a bit of Dario Marianelli's score for V For Vendetta- Which is not a bad thing at all because V For Vendetta had an AMAZING score. I really loved that part of the track, it has a sense of hope and darkness combined together which is the tone of the story. 

2. "Snape to Malfoy Manor" – 1:58 I have mixed thoughts about this track. The first time I heard it, I wasn't too fond of it. At first it seemed as if it was  forced to sound dark which bothered me! I also couldn't make the connection with Snape traveling to Malfoy Manor to this track. When I read this part of the book, I never could have imagined a track like this playing in the background. It sounds like something that would belong to a Tim Burton film. In other words, I could definitely picture Danny Elfman composing a track like this. It has that feel, although that's not necessarily saying that Danny Elfman's work sounds forced. I just couldn't relate this with a Harry Potter film. The more I listened to the track though, the more it started to grow on me. My final thoughts consist of still being a bit bothered by the music BUT perhaps when I see the movie, the track will work with the visuals.

3. "Polyjuice Potion" – 3:32 This is another 50/50 track for me. I liked the beginning but as soon as the 2nd minute starts, it goes  a bit downhill. I felt almost mocked by the way "Hedwig's Theme" was randomly thrown into the track at the end. This made me mad because Alexandre stated that he would incorporate more of "Hedwig's Theme" into the soundtrack and I honestly feel that he failed to do that. I'm sure many other people are disappointed by this and not because they might be John Williams fans, but because the films have been lacking musical magic because of the brief uses of the theme. How can a film go without the use of it's theme? Especially Harry Potter? Now I know that many critics say that the films no longer need the theme because that theme represents Harry's innocence and his early journey in the Wizarding World. I on the other hand don't agree with this as a reason to not incorporate the theme with the films. It represents the story as a whole. That should be a good enough reason. 

    4. "Sky Battle" – 3:48 ACTION! MAGIC! ALERTNESS! Are a few words to describe this heart racing track! I love 1:43- 1:52! The rhythm of the strings with the brass instruments made it feel like something John Williams would have created for a Star Wars film. 

    5. "At the Burrow" – 2:35 Mysterious and Dark. I love the tone of this track very much!

    6. "Harry and Ginny" – 1:43 This might be the most beautiful piece in the entire soundtrack. I just HATE that it's so short! I wish it were longer. The echo of the piano notes and the softness of the strings combined together made such a beautiful piece. It not only fit the relationship of Harry and Ginny but it REALLY reminded me of how there relationship might have been in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (Book) because they were an actual couple. The movie didn't portray it as that but in the book they became boyfriend and girlfriend after their first kiss. Their relationship was not only cut short but the time they spent together seemed beautiful. Just like this track. I found myself imagining their time together by the lake or on the grounds outside of Hogwarts, just like the way story briefly describes it.  

    7. "The Will" – 3:39 Enchanting, almost like a dark lullaby. Loved it.

    8. "Death Eaters" – 3:14 This track has the theme from Snape To Malfoy Manor blended in. The beginning has the same cello solo heard throughout the different tracks. 50/50 

    9. "Dobby" – 3:48 I think this is the first time that a mandolin is used in a Harry Potter soundtrack. Not the type of instrument that I could imagine being used but Desplat certainly pulled it off nicely! Well done!

    10. "Ministry of Magic" – 1:46 Definitely didn't like this the moment I heard it. It might grow on me but I doubt it. Stands out too much in this soundtrack. The same way I feel about Snape To Malfoy Manor.

    11. "Detonators" – 2:23 This has to be the most CATCHIEST song on the soundtrack (The first minute). I found myself humming the beginning of it a few times while cleaning my room (Or could it be the dust messing with my brain?) I liked it!

    12. "The Locket" – 1:52 EXTREMELY SHORT for my taste. In fact, I honestly don't have anything to really say about this because of the length.  

    13. "Fireplaces Escape" – 2:53 Another ACTION track! Makes me want to watch this part of the film already!!

    14. "Ron Leaves" – 2:35 Dark and sad. Reminds me of how Hermione must have felt at this part of the story.  Shocked and Heart broken. Well composed track. I love the sound of the strings in this track. 

    15. "The Exodus" – 1:37 The violin in the beginning is very eerie, which I love! Although this track  is short like The Locket, the tone and instruments used made this almost perfect! Builds up tension!

    16. "Godric's Hollow Graveyard" – 3:15 I cried listening to this. I honestly cried. Beautiful and Sad. It definitely represents the pain and hope that lies within Harry's heart. The dark tone at the end sends chills. 

    17. "Bathilda Bagshot" – 3:54 I wasn't so sure about this track in the beginning. I felt that the use of the pipe/flute gave it a cliche' Jungle/Amazon tone to the track because of Nagini. I wasn't sure if this would work in Deathly Hallows but the more I listened to it, the more I started to be intrigued.When I see the film, hopefully it works better along with the scene then a stand alone track. Unlike Snape To Malfoy Manor, the tone didn't feel forced at all and this actually sounded creepy and scary. 

    18. "Hermione's Parents" – 5:50 This is the longest track in the entire soundtrack and I think the length was perfect for this track. It evokes a nervous and sad feeling within which is how Hermione must have felt when she obliviates her parent's memory. It's a loss of innocence and a feeling of the unknown which the creepy vocals add a perfect effect to the track.

    19. "Destroying the Locket" – 1:10 Anticipation, enchantment and fear that ends with a flat out silence!  Wow!!

    20. "Ron's Speech" – 2:16 Nice mellow feel to it. Like taking a breath of fresh air in the early morning after a horrible night. I really want to hear Ron say his speech during this scene!

    21. "Lovegood" – 3:27 The rhythm of this track definitely fits the character of Xenophilus Lovegood in my opinion. A strange yet fun magical sound. A bit of spanish/oriental/jazz combo. 

    22. "The Deathly Hallows" – 3:17 Intriguing, very intriguing indeed! I like how Desplat incorporates his own theme onto many of the other tracks, especially on this one! 

    23. "Captured and Tortured" – 2:56 A loud pounding of drums that get's your heart pumping which then fades into brass and strings. Not something I would want to listen to more then once. 

    24. "Rescuing Hermione" – 1:50 Not much to talk about. Didn't like it. Another one like The Locket.

    25. "Farewell to Dobby" – 3:43 Wow... now if I cried listening to this.... I'm going to need to bring some kleenex with me to the theater... the title alone expresses the tragic tone within this track. It really expresses the emotion of how someone would feel when they realize that you have to say goodbye to someone. Confusion in the beginning that leads to sadness and pain.

    26. "The Elder Wand" – 1:36 Well this certainly left me dumbstruck. It certainly had a build up but it wasn't all that. I wish this could have been a bit more dramatic because this is where the film ends. Major cliffhanger!

    Favorite Tracks:

    Sky Battle
    At The Burrow
    Harry and Ginny
    The Will
    Godric's Hollow Graveyard
    Ron Leaves
    The Deathly Hallows
    Farewell to Dobby

    Tracks that I liked:

    Death Eaters
    Fireplaces Escape
    The Exodus
    Bathilda Bagshot
    Hermione's Parents
    Destroying The Locket
    Ron's Speech

    Tracks I wasn't too crazy about:

    Snape To Malfoy Manor
    Polyjuice Potion
    Ministry of Magic
    The Locket
    Captured and Tortured
    Rescuing Hermione
    The Elder Wand

    It has been confirmed that John Williams will not be coming back to the franchise to compose for Deathly Hallows Pt.2. I was EXTREMELY disappointed by this news. I even cried- and not my eyes out but I did cry quietly. I was really hoping he would come back. I will always miss him for not continuing to do the music but I know it wasn't because he didn't want to. His schedule is always hectic. On the other hand, Alexandre Desplat is going to compose the music. I'm actually really curious and eager to hear what he comes up with for the final Harry Potter film. I wish him the best while he composes! 

    If you're a fan of the Harry Potter Films and their scores then I would definitely recommend that you check out this soundtrack if you haven't or if you haven't seen the movie yet. 

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