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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 (Giacchino-fan)   (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 (Giacchino-fan)   (Member)

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

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