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Oblivion by Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese (Review)

posted Apr 4, 2013, 4:40 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Apr 5, 2013, 10:23 PM ]

Joseph Kosinski was a first time director when he made TRON: Legacy. He also brought Daft Punk to the world of film scoring. Daft Punk delivered a stupendous electronic/orchestral hybrid of a score that painted the perfect universe for TRON: Legacy and its characters. For his second film Kosinski enlists the talents of M83’s Anthony Gonzalez and composer Joseph Trapanese. Trapanese scores the hit show TRON: Uprising for Disney and was the orchestrator/arranger on TRON: Legacy, which made him a perfect fit here. The two combined to craft a beautifully structured score with a sense of wonder, emotional weight, strong themes and intricate textures. 

Just from watching the trailer you can sense the world that Kosinski and his team has built. The electronic approach taken here fits fine as it thrusts us into a place and time in the future. The opening track titled “Jack’s Dream” immediately places you at the beginning of the character’s journey, which is fantastic. Instead of opening with a track focusing on aesthetics we open with a somber yet foreshadowing piece. Then Gonzalez and Trapanese start to build the soundscape around us as we progress in the narrative. The music is not overtly futuristic that it bashes you over the head to remind you this is sci-fi. Instead the composers use unique textures and soundscapes to craft an original universe. The arc and build of the score is tremendous as we are propelled through some fantastic action tracks and character beats. There’s not a dull moment in the score, and even in the quiet moments emotion is constantly being evoked. There were some places where the percussion took me out of it because it clearly sounded like a guy wailing away on a drum set. The second I picture a person playing an instrument then I’m listening to a performance and not a score, which isn’t good. Luckily this only happens once or twice during the score. Some may compare the sound of Oblivion to Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy score or Hans Zimmer, which isn’t wrong. At times it sounds a bit like TRON: Legacy, The Dark Knight Rises and even the track "Freedom Fighters" by Two Steps From Hell (used in the first J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek trailer). But the similarities are simply in structure rather than sound, so it won’t take you out of the experience. The conclusion of the score is a nice and emotional bookend as well. “Undimmed By Time Unbound By Death” is a very beautiful track to finish the score. The final track on the album is a song incorporating the main theme of the score.

Oblivion is a tremendous experience and masterfully executed. Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese have done an excellent job at crafting a huge and exciting sonic world for the film. The strong theme, grounding melodies, emotional weight and strong character of the score make it a fantastic journey. The music holds strong and carries the listener every step of the way. Oblivion is not just a genre score or action score; there is a depth to it that is worth discovering on your own.