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In The Heart Of The Sea by Roque Baños (Review)

posted Dec 10, 2015, 8:23 PM by Kaya Savas

Roque Baños is a superb composer who gained a golden opportunity to work with Ron Howard on his grand epic whale movie. Roque came at the highest recommendation by Ron’s normal collaborator Hans Zimmer. The reasoning of why Roque was placed on the project can assumably be chalked up to the Spanish tax break that has given Spanish composers some pretty high profile gigs when studios need some cash back in their pockets on high budget films. This time there is no complaining to be had though as Roque and Ron struck a chord that has resulted in one awesomely pulse-pounding adventure score. 

If you’re looking for a highly thematic and boldly energetic seafaring adventure score with grand arc building then look no further. In The Heart Of The Sea is here to thrill and entertain the same way an old seaman tells his tale over a pint at the wharf (which is similar to the storytelling technique used in the film). For this score, Roque came up with the idea of pretty much reconstructing sections of the ship in the recording studio and essentially using parts of the ship as instruments. It adds some awesome textures that bring an organic feel to the otherwise modernly approached score. The score is rousing and grand, it brings the bigness of the story to life for sure. The weight and threat of the whale is ever-present through the journey as well, giving this deep dread that simmers below the surface. What’s lacking are character nuances and emotional intricacies. The score is huge when it needs to be, which is most of the story and that’s fine. The music operates in big strokes with tracks that are supremely meaty with long building arcs, but you sometimes wish there was some more character focused writing. The music’s emotional resonance comes from the adventure itself and not the characters’ journey. Then again that is indeed the film’s goal, to be an adventure at sea about a group of men being stalked by a whale. So if you look at it that way, then maybe it can’t be considered a weakness.

Roque Baños has delivered a supremely entertaining and rousing sea adventure. The music is propulsive, grand, exiting and infused with some great textures to give it a unique feel. A dash of celtic sounds truly make this a sea story you wanna hear from a weathered boat captain over a pint at the wharf. The score embraces the storytelling and makes it bold and exciting to be one hell of an entertaining journey.