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 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 6:06 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

James Newton Howard's score to the first of the two-part final chapter of the tremendously successful Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, is my most anticipated score of the year.

When it was first released, despite a few stellar epic tracks, JNH's first score to the series didn't do to much for me. It was more low-key than I expected, but that was my fault; the fallacy of going into a new film score with preconceived notions. I should have known better...known that JNH would know what he was doing, apparently from the very start. Slowly it grew on me, however, the somber and delicate melodies and themes taking shape and coalescing, seeing and hearing them work in the film, and only when I heard the score to the second film did I fully appreciate the first score. The score to Hunger Games: Catching Fire exploded out of the gate for me and I loved it immediately and gave me a breathtaking new appreciation for the first score, and I have since come to regard JNH's work for the series (so far) as my favorite of his entire career. That is saying a lot, as the man is one of my top 5 favorite composers.

JNH's Hunger Games music has it all for me: contemplative, plaintive sensitivity; brutal action moments; thrilling adventure passages; astute and charming regional District moments (few as they are); grand epic orchestral sweep; brilliant and dexterous themes; evocative and mysterious ambience and textures; cutting-edge contemporary electronic supplementation, integrated superbly. JNH is able to weave all these elements together in the franchise in a serial manner and have it work, and work fluidly; there is an organic growth to his scores that mirror the evolution of the narrative within the film series. Most of all, his music has heart that gives the characters, most of all Katniss, and the fully realized worlds of Panem, the districts, and the arenas a soul and identity to accompany anything the production comes up with.

I love to go hiking with this music.

It is with great anticipation and giddiness then that I look forward to Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 (and Pt. 2 next year). Having read the final book, I am eager to find out how JNH will approach the final themes, emotional discoveries, set-pieces, and concluding chapter of the series. The film opens Nov. 21, no word yet on a score release. Here's hoping for a nice lengthy release like the second film, and not a short release like the first!

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 7:27 AM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

I don't know, I still feel like he's asleep at the wheel with this series, even if the second score is marginally better than the first.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 8:42 AM   
 By:   pete   (Member)

Thanks for the reminder. I'm not all that familiar with the scores to the first two, but I'm on the lookout for some more books to read and I might give these books a try.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 10:43 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

The third book seems more rushed than the first two, so expanding it to two movies might be a help here.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 10:47 AM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I don't know, I still feel like he's asleep at the wheel with this series, even if the second score is marginally better than the first.

Yeah agreed. Even with things ramping up in the third book I don't expect things to be all that different.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 10:54 AM   
 By:   mfox   (Member)

These scores have felt like a missed opportunity for me. They work servicably well in the films most of the time, but are too generic most of the time and aren't interesting enough to warrant listening to away from the films. I'm hoping the last two films will improve on the weak third novel.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 5:41 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Anybody like the music from these films?



 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 5:48 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I like bits of 'em. I imagine by the time all four are out there'll be enough highlights to put together a solid album.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2014 - 6:43 PM   
 By:   David-R.   (Member)

Anybody like the music from these films?



I actually like these a lot better on CD than in the film. I've said before, but the first film I watched I hardly noticed the score at all. But I already had it ordered from Amazon because hey, JNH. When the CD arrived, I was surprised to really enjoy practically the whole score. Catching Fire I liked even more. I definitely want to hear what he has in store for the Mockingjay films.

 Posted:   Aug 22, 2014 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I'm the opposite in that I prefer the first score to the second one.
I like the spare, rustic charm that permeates a lot of score number 1 and Rue's Farewell is a great standout moment. Lots of it reminds me of very early efforts by JNH like Promised Land and Man In The Moon.
Two has some really nice moments too, but less than one for me. The new Love Theme is pretty.
I agree the scores can be a tad generic at times, but that's mainly the suspense and action tracks, which lack the quality of JNH I hear in his older efforts (and more recently in Maleficent).
Still, I've enjoyed both films and look forward to the concluding chapters (and not having read the books, hope they can remain spoiler free til I see them).

 Posted:   Oct 17, 2014 - 8:30 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Well, film opens in almost a month. Amazon is listing a soundtrack CD but with "Various Artists" ...

... so still holding out for a score CD. I can't imagine one isn't forthcoming, hopefully will know something in the coming weeks! Anyone else heard anything about a score CD?

 Posted:   Oct 17, 2014 - 9:13 AM   
 By:   moviescore1   (Member)

I've purchased both of these scores and I'm hoping that JNH will improve upon them in the next 2 installments with a more epic, emotional tone. The first two scores didn't really do much for me and are somewhat generic. Catching Fire improved upon the first score, so since these last two installments get more dramatic, hopefully the music will too.

 Posted:   Oct 20, 2014 - 5:28 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)


Score CD releases on November 24, 2014! smile

Tracklist is apparently due to be announced tomorrow, October 21st. Apparently the score release will include an a capella version of Jennifer Lawrence singing "The Hanging Tree" which fans of the books may remember. The melody for this tune was written by The Lumineers with extra score accompaniment by JNH. A quote from the Universal Music newsletter:

"In the film, “The Hanging Tree” starts as an a capella performance by Katniss (Jen Lawrence). She is joined first by birds (Mockingjays), then groups of rebels as the song morphs more into score. James adds choir and orchestra and it builds to an amazing crescendo with an enormous action shot."

 Posted:   Oct 20, 2014 - 5:39 PM   
 By:   David-R.   (Member)

I'll buy it. Probably even pre-order it.

 Posted:   Nov 3, 2014 - 4:00 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

CD release November 24th, 2014.

Available for pre-order at Amazon for $12.99.

Still no tracklist available yet but I will post one as soon as it becomes available.

 Posted:   Nov 4, 2014 - 3:30 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Tracklisting just posted!!! (no track runtimes yet) smile smile smile

Nice, lengthy program a la Catching Fire. Brilliant! So excited, this is the release of the year for me! smile smile smile

1. Mockingjay
2. Remind Her Who The Enemy Is
3. District 12
4. Snow's Speech
5. Please Welcome Peeta
6. Katniss Nightmare
7. The Arsenal
8. Incoming Bombers
9. Don't Be A Fool Katniss
10. District 12 Ruins
11. The Hanging Tree
12. Peeta's Broadcast
13. Air Raid Drill
14. It's Gonne Be A Long Night
15. Taunting The Cat
16. White Rose
17. District 8 Hospital
18. The Broadcast
19. Jamming The Capitol
20. Inside The Tribute Center
21. Put Me On The Air
22. They're Back
23. Victory

 Posted:   Nov 5, 2014 - 8:38 AM   
 By:   desplatfan1   (Member)

I agree with you, Deputy. It's unfair that James finally has his own solo franchise and people don't give him credit because he didn't went full Harry Potter when it's a dystopian sci-fi franchise that mixes social and war critiques with a futuristic reimagining of greek and roman mythology . Also, what's generic in it? I don't remember lots of JNH scores where he uses fiddles, writes orchestral and choral anthems (Even though he didn't wrote the melodies itself, he adapted them for orchestra and choir), unique electronic sounds, action pieces inspired by I Am Legend/Shyamalan scores with middle eastern influences, and emotional passages that only JNH can write (not just Rue's Farewell, but also the love theme for Peeta and Katniss, the choral variation of the Games motif in Monkey Mutts, or the heroic rendition of the Katniss theme in Arena Crumbles). That's unique compared with the way franchises have being scored in the past decades (Except for the second half of the Potter franchise), and JNH's action output (Except for Vertical Limit, King Kong, the Disney scores and a couple others, JNH's action/fantasy were nothing but changeable bombastic scores).

The franchise is for James what the Bourne trilogy was for Powell (And that one besides the Bourne theme, the Marie theme and the Tangiers piece, it sounded the same). Both Powell and JNH wrote a replacement score in 3 weeks, and with the sequel they expanded their themes and signature sounds. And they made themselves known to a new generation of people who are fans of the franchises (everyone can recognize Rue's Farewell and Arena Crumbles when it was played in the last Academy Awards, or Bourne's signature percussions and string runs).

And what's worst is that JNH kept the themes for the second movie and expanded them, and people complained, even though they always complained about lack of continuity in musical franchises. And the score was much more orchestral than the first one. It's not fair.

For the new movie, JNH expanded the orchestra with boys choir, viola da gamba and baroque cello, so he'll wrap what he did.

 Posted:   Nov 5, 2014 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   desplatfan1   (Member)

By the way, there's a clip of the film with the score (seems to be the Please Welcome Peeta cue):

 Posted:   Nov 16, 2014 - 4:55 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

CD release in 8 days on the 24th (on a Monday, unusual) and still no word on track times, but I'm constantly checking and will post as soon as they are announced...


p.s. yonythemoony, so so so glad that someone out there on this big blue and green and brown rock enjoys and champions what jnh is doing with the Hunger Games franchise! I enjoyed reading your post and agree with your sentiments.

 Posted:   Nov 16, 2014 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

All I know is this time I won't bother to listen to the new Hunger Games score before I see the film. If it does happen to interest me when I see the film on blu-ray (maybe I'll just wait to watch both parts together) then I will maybe check it out.

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