Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Score: A Film Music Documentary


Distributor: Dogwoof
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: E
Release Date: 02 April 2018

From the spine-tingling sounds of the Star Wars theme to the terror-inducing Jaws signature piece via the instantly nostalgia inducing sounds of E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Raiders of the Lost Ark, what is it about these scores that make a film and a lifetime of memories? Now a fascinating new feature documentary Score: A Film Music Documentary from director Matt Schrader, featuring the work of some 60 plus of Hollywood's elite composers, takes a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world's most international music genre: the film score...

Score: A Film Music Documentary is a documentary that... well, I'm not sure what it actually looks at. From the press information above you'd be forgiven for thinking that John Williams was the only composer working in Hollywood... So it seems a little odd that he's not featured in this documentary. He's discussed and old interviews of him are used, but there's no new interview with Williams.

It felt, to me, that the director had originally planned to interview composers and ask them what makes a good soundtrack, realised pretty early on that every composer gave a different answer and then panicked a bit that he didn't have much of a film.

I thought the hook to hang it on would have been the tragic passing of James Horner. That could have been used to kick start the film: "Hollywood has lost one of its most notable composers whose career spanned X amount of years and composed music for X amount of feature films. The Horner sound is forever lost and his influence touched so many lives but most people wouldn't have even recognised him if they'd passed him in the street. The composer is an overlooked integral part of the filmmaking process. We look at the history of film music and see how its changed over the generation..." Or something along those lines. The movie ends on a sweet tale from James Cameron about working on Titanic with Horner, so the whole thing would have had a more satisfying beginning and the ending would have neatly tied everything up.

Instead, what we get is a look at soundtracks and composers without really digging deep and discovering anything of real interest. It's interesting to see some of the studios that a lot of scores are recorded in (Air and Abbey Road); It's great to hear composers talking about their craft, but that's about all we get here. I suppose the problem is that there are so many things to explore, that one documentary could never hope to come close to tackling the subject in any meaningful way.

Extras include an audio commentary with the director; An Interview with James Cameron (29 min, 02 sec); Sounds of NYC with J. Ralph (43 sec look at how the sounds of New York inspire J. Ralph); Inside the Hans Zimmer Mind (1 min, 51 sec part of a bigger interview - most of which is in the main film); Bear McCreary Rocks the Hurdy Gurdy (7 min, 12 sec interview with McCreary, who gives us a blast of the Hurdy Gurdy); Harry Gregson-Williams at the Piano (3 min, 26 sec); Tyler bates GuitarViol (6 min, 07 sec); and Theatrical Trailer (2 min, 19 sec). The only features worth watching are the commentary and interview with Cameron.

While interesting, I'm not really sure what they managed to achieve other than confirming the obvious: a good score enhances a movie immeasurably.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Amazon Video
iTunes GB
Digital Download