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Olympus Has Fallen by Trevor Morris (Review)

posted Mar 21, 2013, 6:36 PM by Kaya Savas

You know the drill when it comes to a movie like this. There’s a super-skilled hero, innocent people at risk, and a bad guy with motives and guns. For some reason though Hollywood has been messing up this kind of movie lately. I was born in 1987 so that means I grew up on late 80‘s and 90’s action movies. And let me tell you, we had the best. From The Rock, Crimson Tide, Speed, Twister, Armageddon, Face/Off, Bad Boys, Die Hard, Predator and so much more. Let me tell you, it was an amazing childhood. These days we have a lot of super frenetic action movies with scores that lack any real focus or depth. That is why I am so relieved that Trevor Morris has delivered the near-perfect action movie score that I have craved for so long. The types of scores I grew up loving and the ones that made me fall in love with film scores in the first place. Olympus Has Fallen delivers on all fronts. It has the formula, it has an extravagant plot and location, and it has the score to boot. 

The theme, you have to have a theme. Morris delivers with a grand one that really anchors the whole experience. It sets us up right and then sends us on our way. We then experience the entire White House siege over two tracks; one is 7-minutes and the other is 10-minutes. Thats right, two tracks and 17-minutes of action scoring. How amazing is that? You are fully immersed in every moment, feeling the story unfold and feeling the nuanced rises and falls in the action. The most important part is the layer of real emotion that Morris injects under the whole experience. This isn’t a “gung-ho” action score. There is a feel of reality in it, which is what gives you goosebumps when the music builds. Morris allows you to be overcome by the bombastic nature of it all, but he never goes over the top with it. The use of the big orchestral sound gives it a richness and quality that you don’t get with heavy electronic scoring, and gives it the emotional weight. Morris does use electronics here, but they act as the perfect accent to the score while adding just the right amount of texture to break up the smoothness of the strings and brass. There is also just the right amount of patriotism infused to give it a bold flavor. By the end of it you’re feeling good and ready to go at it again.

Olympus Has Fallen is superbly executed and wonderfully crafted. While the movie may be full of cliches and archetypes, this is what an action score should be like. It reminds me of the good old days of 90’s action scoring, but this isn’t a throwback score. It feels at home in its time and place and stands out from the rest with its unique voice and touch of genuine emotion. Within its genre the score is stunningly superb and further establishes Trevor Morris as one of the great composer auteurs working today.