A to Z Challenge: W (John Williams’ film scores)

*Read John Williams’ biography here

This is the 2005 version based on HG Wells’ 1898 novel. Directed by Steven Spielberg the movie stars Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto and Tim Robbins, with narration by Morgan Freeman.The movie is about an American dock worker who has to look after his kids (he and their mother are divorced) – he struggles to protect them and reunite them with her after Earth is invited by aliens.

This movie was the first time that Williams had to compose the score with an incomplete Spielberg film. For Williams the score was a “very serious piece” which had to combine “the necessary frightening atmosphere” with “propulsively rhythmic drive for the action scenes”. For example, the music “symbolically pulls forward” vehicles in the chase scenes, while to heighten the scariness he added a crescendo to resemble a female shriek.

Fun fact…the song “Little Deuce Coupe” is featured in the movie and that version is sung by Tom Cruise.

The score written by Williams is very dramatic and has, for me, a kind of angry sound to it. I’ve read it described as “by far the most avant-garde, impressionistic” score Williams’ has written since the turn of the century which is probably true, but it’s not very melodic so not music I would want to listen to for entertainment.

What are your thoughts about this music – an important Williams’ score or one that should be forgotten?

21 comments on “A to Z Challenge: W (John Williams’ film scores)

  1. Giggling Fattie

    April 26, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Ooo I’ve never seen this but I was told to read the book haha!

    I can’t believe you were able to get so far (and guessing all the way to the end) with such a theme! That’s amazing! I had no idea one person did all these movies!

  2. I did get to the end, GF, and not because of a lack of material from John Williams! It was a relief to write that last post, lol. Wait until you see X and Z!

  3. Giggling Fattie

    April 27, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Ooooo can’t wait!!

  4. While it might not be what we’re used to, it fits the film, which is the important part. You’ve got to respect a composer that can change it up when the material requires it.

    • True, Liz. He is certainly adaptable and the music, while not lovely to listen to like other music of his, does fit the film.

  5. I’m not a fan of this. It probably captured the spirit of the movie, but as you say, not very melodic…

  6. very cool theme and amazing that you picked one artist and got to W.. looking forward to the rest of the alphabet now 🙂
    and i realized i have not watched this movie at all

    • Thanks, Vidya. I was very happy when I realised I could squeeze the whole alphabet in (it was actually much easier than I thought!).

  7. I did see this film. I was teaching it for Year 8 English. It was not my favourite version, but there was that little scene at the end with the cameo by the stars of the earlier version…

    This score does fit the film indeed!

    • I haven’t seen the earlier movie so the cameo’s would be lost on me sadly. But I do like it when they include cameo’s that have some sort of relevance (like Stan Lee’s appearances in the Marvel movies).

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog today, i am glad you consider yourself hugged.

    That score is certainly enough to draw you in at the beginning and then keep your heart racing through the action. Such a neat idea for the A to Z, movie scores by one person. Me, i just meander along.

    • Lol, a few people have commented on how specific my theme is which I hadn’t thought at all when I chose it. I guess because I knew John Williams had so much work under his belt – and so many famous movies in that list – that it seemed quite broad to me.

  9. You’ve done a lot of work on your A to Z posts! Kudos to you!

  10. I’m a huge John Williams fan. Actually, I’m a fan of movie soundtracks in general, but him in particular. I can usually recognize his style pretty quickly when watching a movie. I didn’t mind this track, but I’ve not seen the movie. I will have to add it to the list.
    Glad to have found you through AtoZ!
    Doesn’t Speak Klingon

    • Lovely to meet another Williams’ fan!! I’m a fan of soundtracks in general as well, but there is something about his scores that gels with me.

  11. Have gone back to read some of your earlier posts in this series, really like your theme and have increased my must see film list! Thank you for putting all this together.

    • I have to confess, I have rewatched some because of putting this list together. And listen over and over to the music (I think the family are glad the month is nearly done, lol).

  12. (I thought I commented on this. Must have missed the “Post comment” button.)

    As a fan of John Williams, I will have to add this movie to my list! I’ve never seen it before. The cast looks good, too.
    Doesn’t Speak Klingon

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