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Midway
  • Composed by Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser
  • Varèse Sarabande / 61m

Few directors have such a bizarrely bipolar approach when it comes to their music as Roland Emmerich – up to The Patriot you heard some of the most exciting film music of the time; after it, probably the dullest of all time. I’ll let the composers of Midway, Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser, describe this score themselves courtesy of the press release, because they do a better job of it than I could: “We agreed that the music for Midway should not be a traditional wall-to-wall orchestral score, with sweeping action cues where every change in mood and sentiment will be followed musically. We also set ourselves the goal that the orchestral pieces should be limited to the emotional moments of the film. Early on we asked our long-time collaborator Tommy Schobel to create some sort of musically driven sound design, using synth-based versions of sounds old war planes would make, but in a way so they make sense within the bigger picture of the score. When you hear these cues in the film, married with all the sound effects, it all becomes — quoting our re-recording mixer Greg P. Russel — ‘A Thing.'”

The fact that they think that a traditional score follows the movie should set alarm bells ringing in itself, given that surely the most basic function of film music is to do rather more than “follow” the movie. The fact that literally all their previous scores have been as interesting as watching paint dry is probably another pertinent fact. Midway is excruciatingly dull – there’s an attempt at a traditional patriotic main theme and it’s OK but much of the score is just a generic throbbing modern snooze fest in which nothing really happens. The only parts worth hearing are the occasional ones where the score comes closest to the “traditional” template they apparently so despise, but even these are generally buried within those “synth-based versions of sounds old war planes would make” which are as musically interesting as you might expect. I certainly agree that this is “a thing” but I’m not sure it’s the same sort of thing its composers were thinking of.

Rating: *

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  1. Mike (Reply) on Saturday 9 November, 2019 at 20:27

    Haven’t heard the score yet but I think that “The fact that they think that a traditional score follows the movie should set alarm bells ringing in itself” is well said!

  2. Victor Field (Reply) on Sunday 10 November, 2019 at 12:24

    Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser, Demonstrating again ideally the latter should drop the K from his surname while the former should pit it back…..

  3. mastadge (Reply) on Tuesday 12 November, 2019 at 03:13

    How the heck did Emmerich go from Goldsmith to Arnold to Williams and then finally settle on these guys? I just don’t understand it. Are they good friends? Does their music make his soul sing? Did he lose a bet?