Audio: On the Score with Steve Jablonsky

By • October 28, 2013
(Photo by Katia Lewin Jablonsky)

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

It might be said that Steve Jablonsky has done more to glorify alien warfare than most blockbuster composers. Rock and roll rhythms, patriotic bombast, victoriously trumpeting brass and glorious choral voices having being his trademark for blasting extra-terrestrial menaces to smithereens in adrenalin-packed scores for the “Transformer” series, “Battleship” and the “Gears of War” videogame franchise. It’s terrifically effective music that’s all about the joyful, easy decision to destroy an obvious menace from outer space. But what if these extra-terrestrial battle lines weren’t so easily drawn as we’d like to hear? And what if the earth’s savior against the seemingly mindless hordes was a decidedly un-brawny kid?

Such are the multi-dimensional challenges posed to the composer by “Ender’s Game,” director Gavin Hood’s adaptation of the classic sci-fi book by beyond-controversial author Orson Scott Card. Though told with the level of futuristic spectacle that Jablonsky is used to, this metaphor-heavy movie asks what the moral price to pay is for inducting children warfare. “Ender’s” powerful questions are masterfully answered by Steve Jablonsky with the most uncharacteristically meditative score in a career of wanton rhythmic destruction, offering that same level of exhilarating propulsion, but with subversive sadness. Transcendently eerie samples, religious voices, weird metallic effects and a cello of all instruments are used to embody a seemingly fragile military genius who’s barely into his teens. But while its kids, spaceships and bugs on the surface, Jablonsky’s score emotionally acknowledges what’s under “Ender’s” surface, all while offering the kind of constantly building, big theme thrills his fans are used to. Yet they lead to a to cosmic gut punch that makes this “Game” one of the year’s most thoughtful, troubling, and unexpectedly moving films, let alone Steve Jablonsky’s most distinctively melodic and creative genre score yet.

Now on a new edition of “On the Score,” Steve Jablonsky talks about taking an unusually effective approach to the special effects war games he’s so good at scoring, turning the sound of percussive creature-blasting onto its musical head for his biggest win of all.

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a Buy the Soundtrack: ENDER’S GAME
a Buy the Soundtrack: GEARS OF WAR: JUDGEMENT
a Buy the Soundtrack: BATTLESHIP
a Buy the Soundtrack: PAIN & GAIN

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