Film Music to Write Essays By – Part 2

JOHANNES RUCKSTUHL picks out the perfect soundtrack to accompany your supervision work woes.

Braveheart Chicken Run Crimson Tide Elmer Bernstein essay Far From Heaven Film Film music Hans Zimmer Harry Gregson-Williams Howard Shore James Horner Javier Navarette John Powell Lord of the Rings Music Pan's Labyrinth The Return of the King

Click here for Part I!

The imagined essay crisis with film music underscore continues. Despite eventually writing a good introduction with a solid argument, a lot more blood, sweat and tears will be required before the conclusion is reached and the essay submitted. As the hours draw on, you have finally reached…

The Lowest Point – Autumn in Connecticut – Far From Heaven (2002) – Elmer Bernstein

Somewhere after midnight, the ideas have run out and self-pity begins to take over. You’re beginning to question not only your reasons for attempting a degree in the first place but quite possibly your sanity as well. In screen-writing terms, rain would be pounding against the windowpanes in a fit of pathetic fallacy. For decades, Elmer Bernstein provided the appropriate melodramatic accompaniment, culminating with this, his last film score.


The Power Anthem – Roll Tide – Crimson Tide (1995) – Hans Zimmer

The clock has ticked into the small hours of the morning and staying awake is becoming increasingly difficult. The last thing you want to hear now is subtle or intelligently nuanced music. Luckily, Hans Zimmer is on hand with the simplistic, guilty-pleasure chord progressions of a power-anthem: his 1995 score to Tony Scott’s Crimson Tide defined the blockbuster sound as we know it today like no other. It may hover around the lowest common denominator, but at this point anything loud will do.


The Imagined Pep-talk – Sons of Scotland – Braveheart (1995) – James Horner

The Hans Zimmer was very effective in keeping you from falling asleep but a little more substance will be necessary to carry you all the way to the conclusion. An inspiring speech, a firm talking-to, straight from James Horner’s Oscar-nominated score to Braveheart will do the trick: you’ll consume this essay with fireballs from your eyes and bolts of lightning from your, er, fingertips.


The Montage – Building the Crate – Chicken Run (2000) – Harry Gregson-Williams & John Powell

The pep talk has indeed proven inspirational but, as the deadline is only an hour or two away, some frenetic action will have to define the last paragraphs. In other words, you’re going to need a montage! After all, even Rocky had a montage. However, rather than Bill Conti’s excellent “Gonna Fly Now,” you decide on a track from one of the most shamelessly feel-good animation scores of recent years. Chicken Run is fondly remembered for parodying The Great Escape, but is a masterpiece in its own right, a bargain more than held up by the collaboration between Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell. Plus, it’s got kazoos – what more could one want?


Triumph – The End of All Things – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – Howard Shore

You have reached the conclusion of your efforts but this essay won’t quite go away without a fight: The battle to formulate the final summation is a mighty struggle of willpower, one not exactly helped by Howard Shore’s floor-shaking pounding of timpani and choir. Only at the very last minute do you manage to attach it all to an e-mail and finally hit send. For a brief moment, it really does feel like the end of all things.


Sleep – Long, Long Time Ago – Pans’ Labyrinth (2006) – Javier Navarrete

Having run on empty for several hours, your body finally gives way to exhaustion. A long nap will be the only solution, with a lullaby to match. Your final thought before the eyelids fall is a firm commitment: “let’s not do this again.” Until next week at least.