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Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 by Elia Cmiral (Review)

posted Nov 14, 2011, 7:22 PM by Kaya Savas

Forced emotions are something that scores shouldn't do. Over my lifetime of listening I can tell when a score is trying its hardest to evoke a certain emotion. However, the listener should never be identifying the emotions a score is evoking; they should be feeling the emotions. Such is the case with the score to Atlas Shrugged. The emotions here are surface level, and while the arrangements are wonderful it can't seem to penetrate anymore than surface value.

Right from the first track that propels you into motion you get the sense of forced emotion. We then segway into the "John Galt Theme", which is covered in schmaltzy heartwarming sensibility. Now, the score does manage to go into some wonderful orchestrations that carry some emotional weight. However, once we get into the adventurous tracks the melodies somehow get bogged down by their complexity. They aren't overly complex melodies, but nothing ever builds towards anything grand. The synthetic sound of the whole soundscape doesn't help things either. Clearly this score was meant to be played by a huge orchestra and clearly synths are being used as a replacement. Now I can't speak for what the budget was, and it is very possible that was a limitation. But the score as a whole has a "mockup" quality to it.

By the time I reached the end I didn't feel like a progressed anywhere. The music didn't take me anywhere and in the end that's what a score should do. It should push the story, build with the cutting and not try to force it. While Atlas Shrugged isn't a bad score, it also isn't a good one. I don't want to identity emotions. I want to feel them.