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 Posted:   Jan 15, 2014 - 6:02 PM   
 By:   Tango Urilla   (Member)

I managed to catch 47 Ronin just before it gets pulled from theaters. The movie gets a thumbs up from me. While the overall structure of the film feels pretty formulaic, a bit akin to a video game in the sense of featuring big action sequences interspersed with cutscenes with little organic flow, within that potentially stifling structure there is much to enjoy: sumptuous mountainous settings, aesthetic costumes and sets, finely done CGI work, an excellent score, and most surprisingly of all...actual attention to character. Amidst all the clashing katanas and roaring beasts, there are some really moving character scenes in here, and it is likely on this point alone that the film definitively wins my approval. It's no masterpiece and could definitely have improved in places, but it's still certainly worth a watch.

As for the music: whether we're watching Keanu race to snatch a just-out-of-reach sword as he's up against an antlered beast, a super samurai, a lizard monk, a witch dragon, etc., etc., or one of the many aforementioned moving character moments, Ilan Eshkeri's score only ever seems to realize the story's fullest potential. Delicate when it needs to be, powerful when the picture calls for it, and simply lovely throughout. One of the main themes teases toward Zimmer's The Last Samurai - and that's not a bad thing at all - but then evolves into its own unique statement. I also recall one scene (maybe in the Tengu forest?) where the music resembles one of my favorite, moodier atmospheric parts of Batman Begins. I loved the action music as well: frenetic without losing control, like some of David Arnold's best action work of the '90s. Glancing over the OST track titles, I think just about all the film's major musical sequences made the album. Which is awesome. I can't wait to hear the music on its own.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 10:27 PM   
 By:   Tango Urilla   (Member)

So, I've had a chance to play through the 47 Ronin OST a couple times now and this is definitely a contender for my favorite score of 2013 (though that honor still probably goes to The Desolation of Smaug). The album features a generous selection of music from the film and provides a very nice sense of narrative flow. An unexpected highlight for me is "Kira's Wedding Quartet" which reminds me how effectively the cue features in the film as both a playful accompaniment to the wedding entertainment and a suspenseful backdrop to the ronin infiltrating the palace. I wouldn't remove a single track from this album for the perfect listen, and as the album clocks in at over 70 minutes, that's a great thing. My one small quibble would be that the fun and rambunctious "Dutch Island Fugue" (Track 10) transitions rather jarringly from the solemn "Assano Seppuku" (Track 9), but I still applaud the album's chronologically faithful presentation. The film is recommended. Eshkeri's score is essential.

 
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