Release date: November 14th, 2011
Running time: 51:15 minutes
Composer: Trevor Morris
Tarsem Singh’s Immortals follows the story of Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal man chosen by Zeus (Luke Evans) to lead battle against a ruthless king, Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) in search of a weapon of immense power, the Epirus Bow. Winner of a Rober award for ‘Best Fantasy Film’ in 2011, Singh enlisted musician Trevor Morris to compose the soundtrack for this Ancient Greek fanatsy film.
Having previously worked as an assistant to Hans Zimmer and gaining screen credits on over 25 Hollywood Blockbusters, Morris has also worked as a composer on various video games.
Although not having a definitive theme throughout the soundtrack, it is easy to establish the direction in which it is intended to go through the use of the instrumentation, rhythmic patterns and musical direction. It is not so much about establishing a theme in a score for a film such as this, but creating that huge sound to display tension, anticipation and drama. There is a lot of use of percussion, vocals, strings – often used very effectively – and brass to create this epic sound.
Imortal and Devine is the short opening track, instantly creating tension through a build-up of portamento strings, dissonant chords and sharp brass stabs. From here on it is much the same, and the scene for the score is set. War in the Heavens relies on the use of rhythmic string patterns and vocals and low string drones with added effects. At times this is all there is to develop the score, and it is all that is needed as it carries the tension well.
Witness Hell carries on the low string drones in contrast with extremely high pitched portamento string motifs, before developing further into stabs of brass and vocals in an often dischordal manner. To Mt. Olympus effectively uses acoustic guitar at the beginning (again over a low string drone) before developing into a beautiful chordal pattern of voice and strings. Although the tension is still displayed, there is a much lighter, heartfelt feel to the piece, before yet again a crescendo into percussion, reminiscent to world music.
This world music feel is continued in Enter the Oracles, with the use of traditional instrumentation with vocals, often synthesised or with the use of effects. Zimmer’s influence on Morris is clearly displayed in this track which reminds me in places of the score of The Lion King, in particular certain parts of the melody which sound very similar. This also continues into the next track, Theseus and Phaedra. The use of effects in this track work extremely well and give it a desolate feel.
Poseidon’s Leap again demonstrates effective us of portemento with the strings, as well as dischords to create an unresolved contrast throughout. We feel as though we know harmonically where the track is taking us before being unpleasantly surprised. The culmination of the track consists of a synthetically effected vocal glissando leading into harsh string and brass stabs against heavy percussion.
My Own Heart is one of the more downbeat tracks, consisting of strings and vocals, and has beautiful solos combined with harpsichord, all again synthetically enhanced. It displays emotion and creates the feeling of love and finding ones inner self. It doesn’t however lose the feel for the soundtrack as a whole due to the string and vocal crescendo towards the end. It is one of my personal favourites from the score.
The Gods Chose Well reminds me of a military procession, with a steady snare drum rhythm accompanied by heroic string and vocal melodies. Fight For Your Name progresses with a similar military rhythmic pattern, and the focus is heavily on the percussion throughout with accompaniment from strings and vocals. Do Not Forsake Mankind acknowledges that we are nearing the end of the score. We have been on the journey, and now that journey must come to an end. It consists of high string motifs, high vocals and traditional harmonies that actually do resolve as we wish and expect them to. It is the theme that could have been developed for the score had Morris so wished. I would say that this track is my overall favourite – the held 25 second string and vocal note at the end of the track did it for me.
Sky Flight / End Credits seems to combine all of the elemets of the score into one final reprise. There are motifs and harmonies recognisable from earlier on in the score, and it is an appropriate end.
The soundtrack for Immortals works well combining traditional instrumentation with synthetic material, and the use of effects during the recording, in particular on traditional instrumentation, enhances a futuristic feel, whilst at the same time managing to maintain the feel for the period in which it is set. It is an epic score, with often bold and brash orchestration that crescendo’s into almighty uproar, before diminishing back into the darkness, and then seemingly doing it all again.
Although I do like the soundtrack, I did find at times that it bacame repetitive and did not attempt to develop much, however I don’t believe it really has to to support the theme of the film.
It reminds me of being at Alton Towers, queueing for the lastet ride to be released to the public – often the scores for these rides are epic, massive works to create the feeling of tension, drama and anticipation. This is what the Immortals soundtrack does, and I must say that I think Morris has done this well. It doesn’t work particularly well as a stand alone score, but pieced together with the film, it is a success.
Phil is a 27-year-old classically trained musician from Sheffield with qualifications in Popular Music, Classical Music and a BA (Hons) in Creative Music Technology and Sound Recording. He likes nothing better than locking himself in the studio and composing music of all genres.
Phil became interested in composing after learning how to play the Cello and Clarinet at a young age, and has never looked back since. His favourite composer is Danny Elfman, whose unconventional harmonies and rhythms in scores such as Edward Scissorhands still manage to bring a tear or two to his eye.
You can find him on Twitter @PhilBlanckley.