Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

GARDNER, JOHN GARDNER


In 1982, John Gardner's first James Bond continuation novel was published in paperback in the US.  I was (and still am) a huge Bond fan so I anxiously picked up the book and was thrilled to have the literary James Bond back (this was the first Bond continuation novel since Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun of 1968).
Recently the novel has been republished in oversize glossy paperback and I've decided to pick up all the Gardner books again and read them again.
Now basically, the character of James Bond has been lifted from the late 60s to the early 80s without any real alterations or addressing of his increased age (sorta like the 70s never happened).  Bond was back and in full throttle.
In License Renewed he is up against Anton Murik, the Scottish Laird of Murcaldy (or is he?) as he plans on infiltrating 6 nuclear reactors in Europe and the U.S. and blackmails the world for 50 billion dollars or he will order his suicidal terrorist squads to initiate meltdowns in all the reactors.
The book plays out almost exactly like Ian Fleming would have written it (in fact LR is very similar in structure to On Her Majesty's Secret Service) in terms of the Bond formula - Bond insinuates himself into the inner circle of the villain, discovers the plot, tries to escape, gets caught, is tortured but not killed, gets a ringside seat of the caper, somehow stops the plot and kills the villain, and then ends up with the girl.
The girl in LR is Lavender "Dilly" Peacock, a Lauren Bacall-lookalike model who is a true damsel in distress and the target of some of the Laird's dastardly plans.
License Renewed is an easy and great read and carries on the great legacy of Fleming's Bond to a new generation and time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

 

THE BEST BOND, JAMES BOND




The other day someone asked me,
"Who is your favorite James Bond?"
And without hesitation, I replied,
"George Lazenby!"



I've been asked that question many times in the past and my answer has never wavered.
George Lazenby is the best actor to portray James Bond.
Why?
Because he is the closest physically and temperamentally to the literary character of James Bond.
For me that is the benchmark.  Of the six men to play Bond, Lazenby is the closest physically to Bond (the only omission being that the literary Bond has a scar on his cheek).  James Bond is a tall man with a a strong jaw and cold grey eyes and a rather cruel expression most of the time.  He's good-looking but he's not a debonair gentlemen (like Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan).  Timothy Dalton was a cross between Moore and Brosnan who had the cruel expression (in many movies, Dalton has actually played a villain) but wasn't quite tall enough to be Bond.  Sean Connery was close with a great deal of physicality but Connery always seemed a bit more Scottish than English to me and I never thought Connery was very good looking (and I mean that in a purely hetero way, don't get it twisted).
Lazenby put the whole package together.  He's not overly good-looking but still has a great look with a cast-iron jaw and a cold expression when needed (Lazenby actually slaps Diana Rigg's character in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the only movie in which he played Bond).  
Also, Lazenby stars in the best James Bond movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
And with that said, I've decided to rank the Top Ten James Bond movies and provide a short discussion concerning my reasons for their rankings.
So, without further ado...

1.  On Her Majesty's Secret Service
George Lazenby's only outing as James Bond in the best James Bond movie.  This movie is very close to the book and just when you think you understand James Bond, this movie breaks all the rules.  Bond actually gets married in this movie!!!  But it ends in tragedy (no spoilers, go watch the movie).  But the sad outcome aside, their is a lot of time in this movie given over to romance but it never feels overblown or melodramatic as Bond continues to search for Blofeld (brilliantly played by Telly Savalas) throughout (the romance even grows out of his search for Blofeld).  The plot is plausible and very similar to the book (the only real change from the book is that in the novel, Blofeld only targets England whereas in the movie he targets the world).
Also, Bond actually goes undercover in this movie as a slightly effeminate academic and is barely recognizable as Bond.
Diana Rigg is radiant as Tracy and a strong enough character to be Bond's equal but then she becomes vulnerable and you can't help but almost fall in love with her yourself.  (One change from the book is that Blofeld kidnaps Tracy giving Bond added incentive to take down Blofeld.  This doesn't happen in the book and its one of the book's chief criticisms that the two plots, Bond's romance and his confrontation with Blofeld, don't gel in the book and that the book tends to fragment a bit).
The sidekick in the movie is Bond's future father-in-law, Marc-Ange Draco, the head of the Unione Course which is the Corsican Mafia and he joins Bond on the final assault on Blofeld's headquarters in the Alps, Piz Gloria.  In fact, Draco is a great impetus to the whole plot and in the book, you meet Draco right away and then the beginning of the story is told in flashback.
Also, I have to mention the great score for the movie by John Barry and contrary to formula, this is the only Bond movie with an instrumental credit sequence.  Great faith in the composer for this movie.
Unquestionably, the best James Bond movie.





2.  Goldfinger
Yep, the classic.  Easy pick.
The Bond formula is established.  Sean Connery in his best performance as Bond.  Fairly close to the book but with one big change - in the book, Goldfinger does intend to rob Fort Knox but in the movie he intends to nuke the gold in Fort Knox so that the value of his gold will increase through the roof.
All the elements of the Bond formula are in place (except perhaps for Bond's sidekick, even though a horribly miscast Felix Leiter is in the movie).  Gert Frobe as Goldfinger is delicious (even though his voice was dubbed for the movie by another actor) and his superhuman henchmen Oddjob is classic.  There are two sacrificial lambs in the movie, the Masterson sisters followed by the very strong Bond-girl, Pussy Galore played wonderfully well (but not overbearingly) by Honor Blackman.  It all builds to a huge climax in which the question has to be asked - Does Bond save the day? (no spoilers, go watch the movie), then followed by the final showdown with the villain that plays out fairly well and Bond kissing the girl.
There is also a great Bond-M sequence in the movie which highlights the correct relationship between the two characters and the most classic Q sequence which introduces the signature Bond car, the Aston Martin DB5.
If you've never read the book, I would definitely recommend it but Goldfinger is one of the must-see James Bond movies and could be ranked as #1 on this list except for my personal preference for George Lazenby over Sean Connery as Bond.



3.  Thunderball
The fourth James Bond film and fourth for Sean Connery.  A great plot where Bond's main nemesis, the crime organization SPECTRE hijack nuclear bombs and blackmail the world.  This movie is also very close to the book as the book began its life as a screenplay but then was converted into a novel.
The Bond formula is present in full force but with a slight twist as the femme fatale is introduced in the person of Fiona Volpe.  Her scenes with Bond are pure gold.
The sacrificial lamb, Bond-girl, sidekick, and villain with henchmen are all here.
M and Q have great scenes with Bond and it all concludes with a thrilling climax that is resolved by - no spoilers - GO WATCH THE MOVIE.
The villain, Emilio Largo is one of the great villains of the series played with relish by Adolpho Celli.
Claudine Auger is arguably the most beautiful of all the Bond-girls and simply jumps off the screen.
There is great underwater action and another great score by John Barry.
All good.




4.  From Russia With Love
Perhaps the best pure espionage story of the whole James Bond oeuvre, FRWL is a great movie adaption of the novel (the one big change is that in the novel the villainess organization is SMERSH, the Cold-War Soviet spy assassination arm of the KGB, in the movie SMERSH is mentioned but the villainy is perpetrated by SPECTRE (with an unseen Blofeld petting his white cat for the first time).
The Bond formula is well on the way to being established with a few incipient ingredients such as the superstrong henchmen as the main villain, Robert Shaw as Red Grant.
FRWL features one of the great sidekicks of the entire series in Kerim Bay, the head of station I - Istanbul.
The Bond-girl is the absolutely delectable Daniela Bianchi as Titania Romanova, who is caught up in this scheme to murder Bond and is a true damsel in distress, but as a Russian defector, the whole Cold War setting of the story is enhanced.
Some say FRWL is the best James Bond book and as a personal favorite of President Kennedy went a long way to popularize Bond with American audiences.
Definitely one of the best Bond movies.



5.  Dr. No
The first James Bond movie.
The novel of Dr. No was published a year before Goldfinger and shares some elements with the latter novel, the most important being the iconic villain which the book is named after.
The movie carries over the charismatic villain, Dr. No played chillingly by Joseph Wiseman but many of the elements of the book are slightly altered for the movie (including the way in which the Dr. No is killed - in the book it is classic, in the movie not so much).
But who can forget the Bond-girl in this movie?  Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder comes out of the ocean in that white bikini and millions of young boys hit puberty at that instant (but it pales to the book in which Honeychile Ryder emerges from the ocean completely naked but with a flaw to her perfection in that her nose was broken in the past and did not heal correctly and when she sees Bond, her hands cover her breasts and her nose, instead of that other region that you would normally expect a naked woman to cover, Bond doesn't mind).
The sidekick is Quarrel and Felix Leiter is also in the movie.  Quarrel is also the sacrificial lamb.
The scene with M is, perhaps, the best of series.  Now there is something interesting here concerning this classic scene with M where Bond gets his Walther PPK for the first time.  Bond is ordered to take up the new gun because his gun jammed in his holster during his last assignment.  M mentions this in the movie but this event takes place in the novel of From Russia With Love which was written and published right before Dr. No, so M is talking about an event from the previous Bond novel that will become the next movie in the series.
The plot of the movie is a bit nebulous but its really about the conflict between Bond and Dr. No and the clash of these two personalities.
A good movie that started it all.



6.  For Your Eyes Only
Except for a silly pre-credit sequence, this movie is Roger Moore's best outing as James Bond.  Moore is not my favorite but in this movie he pulls it together and gets a bit gritty in his portrayal of Bond.
Like From Russia With Love, FYEO is a good old-fashioned espionage tale that combines elements of two Bond short stories which is why its one of the best Bond movies.  It is a testament to the screenwriters that two very different stories could be combined in such a seamless way.
FYEO also features another one of Bond's great sidekicks in Columbo played by Topol and a great Bond-girl played by the exotic Carole Bouquet.  There is the requisite villain with henchmen and some outstanding action sequences in the film.
One of the things missing from this film though is John Barry as composer which would have just enhanced an already good movie.
A good Bond film which was the first Bond film that I saw in theatres so, perhaps, that may have something to do with my fondness for it.



7. The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton steps into the role of Bond and it begs the question, Roger who?
Dalton brought an intensity and seriousness to the role that hadn't been seen since Lazenby in this very unique and action-packed Bond film.
The basis for the movie is the short story of the same name and basically the short story is portrayed in the movie but then the writers started extrapolating from the short story and came up with the answer to the question of what happens after the events of the short story and that's the movie.
The sniper of the short story (which is a woman) becomes the Bond-girl and the defector of the short story becomes the villain (along with requisite superstrong henchman).
John Barry is back scoring the film which only enhances its standing IMHO and as I said before there are some great action sequences in the film.
A solid beginning to what I hoped would be a long tenure for Dalton but alas it was not to be.


8.  Licence to Kill
Timothy Dalton's second and final outing as James Bond and it may be even better than his first.
In this movie the Bond formula is tweaked a bit as Bond actually resigns from the Secret Service and goes rogue to avenge the mutilation of his old buddy, Felix Leiter.
There are all kinds of references to the Bond novels in this movie (especially Live and Let Die) even though this movie is a completely original script.  I mentioned that Felix Leiter is mutilated in this film by being fed to some sharks which is an event which takes place in the novel, Live and Let Die.  Also, Milton Krest (the name of a character from the Bond short story, The Hildebrand Rarity) smuggles drugs in a similar way to how Mr. Big in Live and Let Die smuggles old pirate coins (GO READ THE IAN FLEMING BOOKS).
Sanchez is the baddie played with relish by Robert Davi along with henchmen Benecio Del Toro.
Interestingly, in this movie the sidekick is Q and the scene with M at Hemingway's house is very good("A Farewell to Arms" - Bond says after he resigns and M tells him his Licence to Kill is revoked).
As an interesting sidenote, the big rumor following this movie was that the producers of the Bond films were going to begin making the John Gardner continuation novels into movies following this one and the first Gardner novel is named Licence Renewed and the original name of this film was going to be Licence Revoked but the producers thought American audiences would not understand the word "revoked" so they changed the title to the more generic Licence to Kill.  So we could have had Licence Revoked followed by Licence Renewed which explains why exactly Bond resigned in this movie and why M used that phrase in their scene together.  However, the rights to the Bond films got bogged down in Hollywood studio hell following this movie and Bond would not appear on the big screen for 6 years, but more on that in just a minute.
But back to this Bond adventure.
There are actually two Bond-girls in this movie and neither of them are femme fatales, they are true Bond-girls one being the damsel in distress and the other being the strong resourceful type that helps Bond in his vengeance.
All in all, a good Bond movie that doesn't deserve the rep of killing the franchise that it sometimes gets.



9. Goldeneye
Pierce Brosnan finally becomes James Bond and a new era begins with promise but then collapses into some of the worst Bond movies ever but Goldeneye is not too bad.
However, one bad thing about this movie is the introduction of the female M played by Judi Dench.  This was a bad decision as the character and Brosnan (and later Daniel Craig) never gelled with my take on who M should be and her relationship with Bond.  She insults him continually even calling him "a relic of the Cold War".  It just didn't work for me.
That being said, there are some good things in this film with an interesting plot concerning former agent 006 played by Sean Bean with femme fatale Famke Jensen as Xenia Onatopp (probably the best femme fatale since Thunderball).
The Bond-girl is played by Izabella Scorupco (definitely one of the most beautiful actresses to ever play a Bond-girl) and there is a great scene with her and Brosnan on a beach where she questions how he does what he does and comments that it keeps him alone (GO WATCH THE MOVIE)
The plot may be a little science fiction with EMP satellites and stealth helicopters but it all comes together fairly well for Brosnan's best movie.

10.  Skyfall
Now first of all, I hate reboots.
Let me say that again so I'm clearly understood.
I HATE REBOOTS!!!!
The reboot of the James Bond franchise which ushered in Daniel Craig as Bond in Casino Royale was highly acclaimed but it then produced the disaster known as Quantum of Solace so the producers were forced to sort of reboot the reboot which is where Skyfall exists.
In Skyfall, Daniel Craig plays a slightly washed-up or jaded Bond who is mistakenly shot by a fellow agent and only returns to protect M from assassination (inexplicably, Judi Dench carried over to the Craig movies and is just as bad in her characterization as she was in the Brosnan movies) but thankfully the villain, Javier Bardem (as the first gay or bisexual Bond villain) accomplishes his goal of killing off M and at the end of the movie we get a new M played by Voldemort himself (Ralph Fiennes).
Q is introduced in this movie as a computer expert instead of a gadget guru and Moneypenny is also introduced (she could even be classified as the Bond-girl in this movie because the other woman in the film is the sacrificial lamb).
By the end of the movie all the elements are in place and the foundation is finally laid in the Bond universe for further adventures and movies.  I wish this had been the reboot film instead of Casino Royale (and we all can thankfully just forget Quantum of Solace ever existed) because its a solid film that even delves into Bond's childhood.
Perhaps the only drawback in this movie is that the DB5 is shot up to hell in this movie which kind of upset me but maybe Bond has insurance and we will see it again in future films.
Now with this film as the foundation, I'm actually looking forward to future Bond films and can only hope to add to this list as time goes on.


I should also mention a couple of films that are on the outside looking in.  The first is the Roger Moore epic The Spy Who Loved Me which many claim as Moore's best.  However, Spy is really just a remake of another ok Bond film, Sean Connery's You Only Live Twice which features an iconic performance by Donald Pleasance as Blofeld onscreen for the first time (but still with the white cat).

All the rest of the movies can only be classified as BAD or at best, silly fun such as The Man With the Golden Gun which is not a good movie but is easily watchable.   A particular low-point of the franchise are the remaining Brosnan films which are so bad as to be almost unwatchable (particularly The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day) and the travesty that is Craig's Quantum of Solace.

If you really want to get to know Bond, you must read the original novels by Ian Fleming and then maybe try the continuation novels by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and Raymond Benson.  That is where the real James Bond can be found and you will be a fan for life after sampling the literary James Bond and understand why George Lazenby is the best actor to ever play James Bond.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013


TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

So
without futher ado here is the
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY
 
NOW THIS IS HOW YOU NAP



 

YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY

I'm going to introduce a new feature on my blog showcasing one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
FILM MUSIC.

I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

So,
without further ado, here is the
YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY


In keeping with the James Bond/Skyfall theme, here is a montage of themes from Thomas Newman's score to Skyfall.  Maybe its a better score than I originally thought.

 

THE "SKY"FALL AND RISE OF JAMES BOND


So, I just got back from a cruise vacation to the Bahamas and interestingly, on the ship, there was a movie channel that was playing the most recent James Bond movie, Skyfall.
I got a chance to watch it again for the first time since I saw it in the theatres and I must say that I got a new perspective on the movie from my first viewing.
When I saw it in the theatres, I remember not being very impressed but now that I've seen it again, I've changed my mind.
I sorta wish that this movie would have been the first Daniel Craig movie.
Now the Daniel Craig movies haven't really thrilled me too much.  I liked Casino Royale when I first saw it but the more time goes by, the more I don't like about that movie.
Quantum of Solace was a mess that is best left forgotten.
And now we come to Skyfall and its not really half-bad.
At the end of this movie, the Judi Dench M is gone (which is great news, I never liked her in the part), there is a new M (played by Voldemort, er.. Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny and Q have been reintroduced and Bond is back from the dead and back to form.
The only real negative in the movie is that the DB5 car was heart brokenly shot to hell, but maybe it was insured so it may be back in future movies.
This movie feels like the beginning or foundation that Casino Royale should have been and now the movies can move forward to greatness.
For once, I'm actually hopeful.


Thursday, September 5, 2013



YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY

I'm going to introduce a new feature on my blog showcasing one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
FILM MUSIC.

I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

So,
without further ado, here is the
YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY


Jerry Goldsmith's score to Patton is masterpiece, one of the best of all time.  He should have won an Academy Award for this score but genius is often not recognized in its time.  Too bad.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY

I'm going to introduce a new feature on my blog showcasing one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
FILM MUSIC.

I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

So,
without further ado, here is the
YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY




Staying with the Star Wars theme of the last few posts, here is the finale to Star Wars: The Throne Room and End Title.
This is a concert version by Erich Kunzel and the Cinncinatti Pops Orchestra so its a bit different from the original soundtrack.

TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

So
without futher ado here is the
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY
 
ME AND THE DARTH
 
 

Haters gonna hate, and Vader's gonna Vate!!!
 

"I'VE GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS"




2015 is a long way in a galaxy far, far away.
But, Episode VII is coming.
To this hopeless Star Wars fan, that's good news.
But I have a few worries.

The main thing that concerns me is that J.J. Abrams has been put in charge of this thing.
This guy destroyed Star Trek!!!!
I absolutely loathe the new Star Trek and I lay the blame completely at Abrams' feet.
If he does to Star Wars what he has done to Star Trek, I might have to take some drastic action.

So, in the hopes (because I'm not totally hopeless) that the Star Wars saga can be salvaged, I've decided to put out there my idea for where the sequel trilogy could go.

Disclaimer:  Now these are just ideas and notes and not a complete outline for the sequel trilogy

Episode VII - The Missing Hero (or The Fallen Hero)
Episode VIII - The Sith Strike Back
Episode IX - Triumph of the Force (or Victory of the Force)

The over-arching story arc of the trilogy is the final victory of the light side of the Force over the dark side and its ultimate destruction.

How can this happen?
Well, suppose instead of a yin-yang understanding of the Force, suppose the Force is inherently good and that it has been corrupted by an outside object to create the dark side.
And since the Force is created by all life in the galaxy, the object that corrupts it is an object that is not alive and an object of Death.
So here is what I suggest.  Lets call this object the Kaiburr Crystal (yep, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, I'm looking right at you) and it is located on the dead tomb world of the Sith known as Korriban (nod to the expanded universe).  This crystal was for many millennia imbued through native Sith magic with the souls of the Force-sensitive Sith race against their will by their priests (think Mayan human sacrifice here).  Over the millenia these dead Sith souls reached out to the Force and slowly corrupted it and created the Dark Side of the Force.  Whereas the Force is created by life, the dark side is created by something that is not alive and yet imbued with Force sensitive souls that are trapped and desperate and eventually succumb to bitterness and madness.  Hence the creation of the Dark Side of the Force.
So, if this object is destroyed, then couldn't the Dark Side be destroyed as well?  Yep.  That's the idea.
More on this later.

Another theme of the trilogy is the redemption of the father through the son as it is played out in the Skywalker family.
(Note - If the new movies don't have to do with the Skywalker family then I may have to take even more drastic action.)

And another theme of the trilogy is the conflict between Ben and Anakin which mirrors the prequel trilogy.
More on this later.

(Note - Just a word about the prequel trilogy:  It should be neither over-acknowledged nor contradicted.  For good or bad, the prequels exist and they are canon.)

Episode VIII - The Missing Hero (or The Fallen Hero)
                         see the poster above for a great preview of what could be
                         Is that Luke on Korriban?  Could be.

It has been 30-35 years since Return of the Jedi.
Grand Master Jedi Luke Skywalker is missing (he's been missing for some time perhaps as long as 2 years).
He left to discover the origins of the Sith and perhaps the Dark Side of the Force itself which leads him to the dead tomb-world of the Sith species, Korriban, where he is captured and held by a powerful Sith spirit that for the moment I will name Darth Thrall.

Darth Thrall is of the Sith species and his purpose is to syphon off Luke's life force so that he can come back to life and he holds Luke as his captive and under his control.  Yep, he's that powerful.

Now, 2 Jedi decide to go in search of Luke, The Missing Hero.
These Jedi are brothers, Anakin and Ben Skywalker.  Anakin is older in his early 20s and Ben is around 18 or 19 and has just become a Jedi prior to the events in this movie.

The movie starts on Nar Shadda, the homeworld of the Hutts, where the two Jedi have been captured (or allowed themselves to be captured) by a relative of Jabba the Hutt (perhaps his son?).  They are on Nar Shadda because they got a lead on where Luke might have gone and are following up on it.
Once they find out the information they need, which will put them on the trail to Korriban, they easily break free and take down the Hutt (all this is a nod to Return of the Jedi).
They escape in none other than the Millenium Falcon.
But who is piloting the ship?
Well, I think it would be hilarious if the copilot was Chewbacca except now he has all grey hair (cuz he's old, get it?) and a girl who is the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia.  For now let's call her Jaina Solo (nod to the expanded universe and because I always liked that name).
She is not a Jedi, about 20 years old and a pilot very much in the mold of her dad.  Now here's the thing, both brothers are in love with Jaina but she prefers Ben. (cousins in love, is that too weird?  Maybe)
So, of course, we have a love triangle that will have big consequences down the road.

They return to Coruscant with their information and report to both the Jedi Council and Han and Leia (yep, here we get cameos of the original actors).
The boys want to pursue the lead they have but the Council forbids them to go as does Han and Leia, but they decide to go anyway in Jaina's personal ship (I don't know, lets call it the Centurion Cruiser).

They head to Korriban but its not easy to get there because it is located in an area of space that is almost un-navigable and we get some cool piloting by Jaina to get them through.

Once they make it to Korriban, they go in search for Luke.  Remember this is a tomb world and their are wild animal-beasts or perhaps Massassai warriors (nod to the Expanded Universe) protecting the tombs.

In the course of the journey, Anakin gets separated from the others and is placed in a situation where he has to use the Dark Side of the Force in order to survive.  This is the first touch of the Dark Side for Anakin and will have great consequences later in the trilogy (also, if this movie is called The Fallen Hero, this would allude to Anakin).

Finally they find Luke and the spirit of Dark Thrall and have to actually fight an enthralled Luke (the father fighting his sons, does that sound a little familiar?) and Luke actually overcomes Anakin but before he can kill him, Ben convinces him to return to the light side and overcome Thrall's uh.. enthrallment.
Now when Luke is freed, Thrall disappears with a shout (NOOOOOO!!!!! ... hello Revenge of the Sith bad Darth Vader yell of despair).

The boys, Jaina, and Luke escape and return to Coruscant.  The Missing Hero has returned and their is a big celebration.  Jaina and Ben celebrate with a kiss as a jealous Anakin looks on with an equally concerned Luke.

And then...
In the final scene of the film, we return to Korriban as a large red crystal is shown which smokes and then in a flash of light and a scream of anger... Darth Thrall appears alive once again.

This first movie should be a self-contained unit, just as Star Wars (Episode IV) was but with the possibility of future movies (remember at the end of Star Wars, Darth Vader rights his ship and flies away to who knows where).


Episode VIII - The Sith Strike Back

Ok, so I'm not crazy about that title but it works for now and does describe what happens in the movie.

Darth Thrall attacks the New Republic and specifically the Jedi temple on Coruscant.
Perhaps he uses the Massassai Warriors of the expanded universe to help him (are they immune to the Force?  Interesting idea).

The movie ends with a big battle between Luke, his sons and Thrall.
Thrall defeats Ben, knocks Anakin out, and battles Luke to the point of submission and just as Anakin recovers his senses...
THRALL KILLS LUKE SKYWALKER!!!!
Yep, that's right.  Luke is killed and Anakin witnesses it and then goes absolutely bonkers (another NOOOOO!!!! scream?  Maybe) and using the Dark Side he kills Thrall.
(See the parallel between this and Luke in Return of the Jedi who succeeded in overcoming his anger?  Anakin fails and succumbs to the Dark Side - who is The Fallen Hero from Episode VII?)


Episode IX - Triumph of the Force (or Victory of the Force)

Anakin has disappeared.

Ben goes to find him along with Jaina.

(This mirrors Episode VII just as the two plot devices of the two Death Stars mirrored each other in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi)

Anakin has fled back to Korriban and found the Kaiburr Crystal which is the source of the Dark Side of the Force and has become more powerful than ever in the Dark Side.

A final confrontation develops between Ben and Anakin.
And just as Anakin has Ben at his mercy and is about to kill him, Jaina begs him not too and is ready to sacrifice herself for Ben by throwing herself over Ben's helpless body (or something like that).
Anakin can't do it because he still loves Jaina and then...
the Force Spirit of Luke appears and urges Anakin to return to the good side of the Force and destroy the Kaiburr Crystal which he does (big dramatic moment) but at the cost of his own life.
Anakin dies (returning to the light side of the Force) but the Kaiburr Crystal is destroyed and so is the Dark Side of the Force.
The sun shines on Korriban for the first time in many millennia.
Ben and Jaina escape seeing the Force ghosts of Luke and Anakin as they leave and then they live happily ever after.
Cue the John Williams music.


Well, that's it.
That's my idea for the sequel trilogy.
I think it would make some good movies.
I would pay to see them (especially if it said in the credits:  Story by Matthew Cochran,  heh-heh)
Obviously, some things need to be fleshed out and there are some lingering questions, the biggest probably being - who is Anakin and Ben's mother?  But hey, as I said, these are just notes not a script or even a movie outline treatment so give me a break and let me know what you think.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY

I'm going to introduce a new feature on my blog showcasing one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
FILM MUSIC.

I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

So,
without further ado, here is the
YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY





So I just put up my Top Scores of the 1960s in my Film Music Musings and one of those great scores is Elmer Bernstein's The Great Escape, one of the best movies and scores of all time.


FILM MUSIC MUSINGS



I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

So,
without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings


A good friend of mine (yep, Frank, this is for you) asked me about the Top Scores of the 1960s, so here are my picks for both the 1960s and 1950s.
Now these scores are in no particular order so consider them a group and I only have a Top 10 list for the 50s but there are 20 scores for the 60s.

Top Scores of the Decade: 1960s
No Particular Order

Spartacus - 1960 Alex North
Goldfinger - 1964 John Barry
The Magnificent Seven - 1960 Elmer Bernstein
Lawrence of Arabia - 1962 Maurice Jarre
To Kill a Mockingbird - 1962 Elmer Bernstein
Romeo and Juliet - 1968 Nino Rota
Planet of the Apes - 1968 Jerry Goldsmith
Psycho - 1960 Bernard Herrmann
Cool Hand Luke - 1967 Elmer Bernstein
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - 1967 Ennio Morricone
The Lion in Winter – 1968 John Barry
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 1969 John Barry
The Agony and the Ecstacy - 1965 Alex North
How the West Was Won - 1962 Alfred Newman
Fall of the Roman Empire - 1964 Dimitri Tiomkin
Becket - 1964 Laurence Rosenthal
The Alamo - 1960 Dimitri Tiomkin
Doctor Zhivago 1965 - Maurice Jarre
The Great Escape -1963 Elmer Bernstein
Mutiny on the Bounty – 1962 Bronislau Kaper



Top Scores of the Decade: 1950s
No Particular Order

Ben-Hur - 1959 Miklos Rozsa
A Streetcar Named Desire - 1951 Alex North
On the Waterfront - 1954 Leonard Bernstein
Sunset Boulevard - 1950 Franz Waxman
Quo Vadis - 1951Miklos Rozsa
High Noon - 1952 Dimitri Tiomkin
The Ten Commandments - 1956 Elmer Bernstein
Vertigo - 1958 Bernard Herrmann
The Big Country - 1958 Jerome Moross
North by Northwest - 1955 Bernard Herrmann


TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

So
without futher ado here is the
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY
 
HEAVEN CALLING
 

 

Friday, August 30, 2013

MY LATEST PRO WRESTLING BELT

Something kinda exciting happened this week.
To me, at least.
I got my seventh pro wrestling belt.
That's right.
I have seven (7) pro wrestling belts.

AND THEY ARE AWESOME!!!

The latest belt I got is the Intercontinental Championship Belt with the white strap.



Pretty Awesome, huh?

I've wanted this belt for some time but its always been a bit too expensive but recently, the price was right and I seized the moment.

AWESOME!!!

And just for giggles, here is a pic of me with another one of my belts.






















Ok, so that's not a pic of me, but I do have the belt.  That counts for something, don't it?


YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY

I'm going to introduce a new feature on my blog showcasing one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
FILM MUSIC.

I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

So,
without further ado, here is the
YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY


In my Film Music Musings, I just presented the best year of the 90s, namely 1993.  So, in connection with that, here is the main title from Trevor Jones' great score to Cliffhanger.

TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

So
without futher ado here is the
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

NOW THIS IS A HOT TUB



I've said it before and I'll say it again:  ALL FAT MEN LOVE HOT TUBS!!!

FILM MUSIC MUSINGS



I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

So,
without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings


So now that the best of the 90s have been posted, its time to highlight the best individual year of the 90s:  1993.


The Best Year of the Decade - 1993

1993 was indeed a great year for film music. No question about it. 1993 was the year that saw a great score with each new movie regardless of how bad the movie was. But the music was definitely there to stand out ahead of the movie. And in some cases, the music has outlived the movie itself.
In this year, James Horner scored no less than 10 movies ranging from live action to animation with the films:
Once Upon A Forest, The Pelican Brief, House of Cards, Jack the Bear, Searching for Bobby Fischer, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, Bopha, We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story, and A Far Off Place.
Jerry Godsmith, fresh off an Oscar nomination for Basic Instinct the previous year, was plenty busy himself scoring films like: Dennis the Menace, 6 Degrees of Separation, The Vanishing, Malice, and Rudy (unfortunately snubbed by the Academy).
And John Williams played with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and scored the ironic true tale of Schindler's List (the Oscar winner and some say the the best score of the decade).
It also saw the emergence and return of a few Hollywood standouts.
James Newton Howard scored as many films as Goldsmith, scoring the hit films Falling Down, Dave, and Alive, a small but somewhat memorable drama in The Saint of Fort Washington and of course, the megahit, The Fugitive, garnering his first Oscar nomination.
Then there's the legendary Elmer Bernstein, who was practically type-cast in the late 80s and early 90s scoring comedies such as Oscar but he was approached by Martin Scorsese to adapt the music of Bernard Herrmann for the remake of Cape Fear and then tapped to provide the score for Scorsese's critically acclaimed Age of Innocence during this year, which contained some of his most memorable music in the 90s and an Oscar nomination.
After making a splash with his 1989 score to Henry V, along with 1991's Dead Again, Patrick Doyle came to the forefront with some great music of his own with Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, Brian DePalma's gangster opus Carlito's Way and the truly creepy music for Needful Things, which proved that he could not only write memorable melodic themes, but great climatic action music as well.
For the star-studded Tombstone, director George Cosmatos was in desperate need of a composer who had or came close to the chops of a Jerry Goldsmith, after he had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. After a high recomendation by Goldsmith, the scoring duties went to the much underrated Bruce Broughton. And with the power of the Sinfonia of London on the forefront, Broughton went onto provide the film with the score it needed and even more than that.
Dave Grusin provided another quality score for the overblown and really overlong Tom Cruise thriller, The Firm. A strange one because it was all performed on a single piano and another strange occurance, it garnered an Oscar nomination.
1993 also produced little scores that hardly anyone talks about like:
Trevor Jones' wonderful and rousing score for Cliffhanger
Elliot Goldenthal's Demolition Man which would later evolve into his Batman scores
Marc Shaiman's wonderful integration of Hugo Friedhofer's score from An Affair to Remember for the Tom Hanks-Meg Rayn romance Sleepless in Seattle
Michael Kamen's swashbuckling follow-up to Robin Hood with Disney's The Three Muskateers which proved to be a hit without being overly violent
Zbigniew Preisner's score to The Secret Garden flying in the face of the musical version
Graeme Revell had an interesting year scoring two controversial films in Boxing Helena and Body of Evidence producing mock Goldsmith textures to both films.
And then there are other scores like Alan Silvestri's Judgement Night, Ennio Morricone's In the Line of Fire, Basil Poledouris' Hot Shots! Part Deux, David Newman's The Sandlot, Howard Shore's M. Butterfly, and Thomas Newman's Scent of a Woman.
Other composers had landmark years such as Randy Edelman, who wrote two really memorable scores to the Turner produced Gettysberg and the now-trailer music staple, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
Danny Elfman also composed two scores: Sommersby and The Nightmare Before X-Mas, the former a wonderful break of style with beautiful, sweeping melodies, and the second a definitive Elfman score.
I should also mention the Oscar-nominated score for The Piano by Michael Nyman, a case of the Academy being fooled by a musical subject and feeling obligated to give it a nomination (much like The Red Violin).
Truly an amazing year for film music. The best of the decade.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FILM MUSIC MUSINGS



I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

So,
without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings

So now here comes the best scores of the 90s.  A difficult decade but with standout scores nonetheless.

Best of the 1990s

10. Mission to Mars - 2000 This might be a bit of a cheat in that this score came out in 2000 but I had to include it as Ennio Morricone brings the essence of wonder and triumph to this science fiction movie. From beginning to end, the craftsmanship of this music shines through as does it undeniable uniqueness (an organ in space?). This score culminates in some of the greatest finale music in a movie since Star Wars or ET. The maestro brings the stars and planets and majesty to us in this score and does it all so well that it cannot be ignored.

9. Bram Stoker's Dracula - 1992 Wow!!! Who is this composer? What's his name and more importantly, how do you pronounce it? No matter, Wojeich Kilar hit the film-score world with a creepy, rumbling bass-line with riff-upon-riff piled onto it that absolutely fit this off-kilter adaption of the Dracula story. From horror to the sublime, this is another score that is actually better than the movie. Meticulous and religioso-mysterious, this score assaults and exalts the listener throughout. A perfect complement to Francis Ford Coppola's most exotic film. This one is a keeper. Now if only I could pronounce the composer's name.

8. Titanic - 1997 THE MOVIE EVENT of the decade yielded up one of James Horner's finest efforts of the decade. After establishing the "Rose" motive, you can listen to this score and in a true Wagnerian way tell when Rose is on the screen and what kind of trouble or mood she is in. The opening title is one of the great mounful tunes (perhaps along with the entire score to Schindler's List) of the decade revealing to the audience that what is coming is going to be emotionally wrenching and for the next three hours he proceeds to do just that. Superbly constructed and executed, this film and score is a true highlight of the decade.

7. Jurassic Park - 1993 1993 was perhaps the best year for film music of the decade. Besides Edelman's Gettysburg, Patrick Doyle gave us Much Ado About Nothing and James Horner contributed The Pelican Brief but the year really belonged to John Williams who composed his Academy Award-winning score for Schindler's List and the thrilling adventure score for Jurassic Park. Revisiting the style of Jaws with its suspense-driven themes, Jurassic Park ventures further into grandeur and awe as the dinosaurs are first seen onscreen. And only Williams can write for a helicopter ride (he did it in The Towering Inferno and does it differently and better here). Strangely, this score (like the also-brilliant Phantom Menace) was not nominated for an Academy Award, but Williams still won that year, just for the wrong score.

6. Bicentennial Man - 1999 A guilty pleasure of mine. I JUST LOVE THIS MOVIE! Horner is in top form here, but this is not the action of Apollo 13 or the more bombastic parts of Titanic, this is the more contemplative, beautiful (one could say Romantic) Horner. Reminiscent of Braveheart in some of its more soaring moments but even more rich and with a slight humorous edge, this score touches every emotion and represents a sort of middle ground between Apollo 13 and Titanic in Horner's output for the decade.


5. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 1991 This one is just plain FUN. I loved this movie. From the first notes of the overture I knew it was going to be something special. All the adventure and romance is right in this Michael Kamen score. OK, OK, so there were a ton of orchestrators, who cares, the music turned out great. Before Titanic broke all the records for a theme-song related film score, there was Everything I Do (I Do It For You). Robin Hood lives (even without a British accent). Korngold would be proud.

4. Apollo 13 - 1995 1995 was Horner's year. He put out three really great scores in Braveheart, Casper, and Apollo 13 and two other good, but mediocre scores, Balto and Jade. But this score takes the prize. One only needs to watch the 10 minute Launch cue and this score's greatness becomes apparent. Besides Titanic in 1997 and Bicentennial Man in 1999, this is Horner's supreme effort of the 90's and a culmination of his style that he had been building up to this point.

3. Gettysburg - 1993 A powerful score for a powerful movie that wouldn't be half as powerful if not for the powerful score. Whew!!! There are moments in this film that consist of nothing but gun-shots, cannon blasts, and the music of Randy Edelman. Likewise, the profound (almost Shakespearean) speeches are perfectly complemented by Edelman's music. From Chamberlain's speech about freedom, to Armistead's speech about the South, Edelman's music is there in support, never overwhelming but always exactly portraying the emotion of the moment. The best epic movie of the decade that I was fortunate to see on the big screen, this one may also be the best movie of the decade.

2. Shakespeare in Love - 1998 One of the best scores of the decade for THE BEST movie of the decade. John Madden's take on a writers-blocked Shakespeare is brilliant in every way, including this score. From the opening chords, one is transported to an idealized Elizabethan time of acting and poetry. Stephen Warbeck (after scoring the earlier Mrs. Brown for Madden) simply exploded on the film-score scene. From sparse simplistic motives, Warbeck builds a score with crescendo and instrumentation that is a delight to the ears. He even gets a chance to throw some Baroque-sounding dance music into the score. You just can't beat that.

1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - 1999 John Williams reopens the Star Wars book and creates a score that is so much better than the movie that Lucas gave us. This movie is so bad but this music is so good that it makes you believe Williams is the greatest film composer of all time (and one could make an argument for that). A wall-to-wall score, this one never lets up. From the opening credits to The Flag Parade to Anakin's Theme to Duel of the Fates, this one has everything and what would you expect from Williams and Star Wars but the best score of the decade for, quite possibly, the worst movie of the decade.


 
Very near misses - The Mask of Zorro by James Horner
                                  Nixon by John Williams
                                  Forrest Gump by Alan Silvestri
                                  Much Ado About Nothing by Patrick Doyle
                                  Star Trek: First Contact by Jerry Goldsmith

 
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

So
without futher ado here is the
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

A MOTHER'S LOVE





YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY

I'm going to introduce a new feature on my blog showcasing one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
FILM MUSIC.

I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

So,
without further ado, here is the
YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY




Ennio Morricone's score for Mission to Mars is one of the great scores of the 90s and a personal favorite of mine.  This is the final cue of the score and the climax of the movie and you have to listen the whole way to get the incredible payoff by one of the greatest film composers of all time.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

So
without futher ado here is the
TWITTER PIC OF THE DAY
 
GREEN NEBULA
 
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

AVENGERS ASSEM... ASSUME THE WORST





2015 is a long way away.
But I'm already a little bit worried.
I heard some news the other day about The Avengers 2 that made me stop and consider. 
It also scared the living hell outta me.

Now first off, I gotta say that I'm an Avengers fan.  A serious Avengers fan.
My Avengers comic collection goes all the way back to around Avengers 160 (that's late 70s for anyone that's counting) and I've been following their adventures every since.
They are my team.  I know them like I know my family.
The movie-version from 2012 was really good and faithful to the comic book roots.  I especially loved how they made Loki the springboard to the origin of the group like it was in the comics.
They respected the source material.
All comic book movies should follow the Avengers lead.

RESPECT THE SOURCE MATERIAL.
Comic book movies get into trouble when they don't respect the source material.  Name any bad comic book movie (or any good comic book movie) and the judgement on whether its good or bad can be condensed down to whether it was faithful to the source material.
Case in point - Iron Man.  Very close to the source material.  Very good movie.
Iron Man 3.  Far from the source material.  Very bad movie. (The Mandarin was an actor?  WTF??)

So, how does this relate to The Avengers 2?
Well, I just found out that the second Avengers movie is gonna be called - The Avengers:  Age of Ultron.
Ok, no problem there.  Ultron is one of the Avengers key villians and I even heard a rumor that Vin Diesel might be cast as The Vision (which seems perfect to me, Diesel's monotone delivery and robotic acting are just right for the monotone and robotic Vision).
However, and here is the fly in the buttermilk, Ultron is not going to be created by Hank Pym.  Instead Tony Stark is going to create Ultron or Stark's butler computer system Jarvis is gonna go crazy and become Ultron.
Uh... NO!
That won't work.
It may seem like a small change but its those small changes that force other changes down the line and then pile up until pretty soon you are stuck with X-Men First Class (a really bad comic book movie that has almost no faithfulness to the source material due to all the changes from previous X-Men movies and then more arbitrary changes made for no apparent reason).
So, all of a sudden I'm worried and my natural pessimism is kicking in big time.
Now, we still have a few movies between now and then such as Thor 2 and Captain America 2 but if these films go too far away from the source material (I'm looking right at you Thor 2) then this franchise is dead before arrival.


FILM MUSIC MUSINGS



I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

So,
without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings

To continue in the same vein as my last Film Music Musings where I talked about 1989 being the best year of the 80s for film music, I thought I would post my Top Five Scores for 1989 with my original commentary for perusal and perspective.
Now, you may be asking, why 1989?  What was so special about that year?  Well, for me 1989 was a seminal year in my life.  It was the year I graduated from high school and went off to college.  I was 18 and in the prime of my life.  For me, it was my greatest year.
But, let's talk about the Film Music of that incredible year.


1989
Born on the Fourth of July - John Williams
Field of Dreams - James Horner
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - John Williams
*Batman - Danny Elfman
*Henry V - Patrick Doyle
Glory - James Horner
The Little Mermaid - Alan Menken

Italics = Nominated for Academy Award
Bold Italic = Winner of Academy Award
* = One of my Top Scores of the 1980s

Unquestionably, the best year for film scores in the last three decades (only 1993 or 1982 comes close),
1989 boasts two scores that are among the best of the decade and it is almost impossible to narrow the list down to five. John Williams completes the Indiana Jones trilogy with a score of religious overtones and Indiana Jones-action. Perhaps even better than its predecessor this score is exhilirating. Two newcomers, Patrick Doyle and Danny Elfman contributed scores that defined their styles. Doyle burst onto the soundtrack scene with a blaze of fire with Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. One of the best scores of the decade, this score is majestic, tragically moving, triumphant, and somber at different times and at the same time. Elfman defines the gothic action comic book movie with a finale that gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it and a main title/theme for Batman that makes you forget the 60s campy TV theme and realize that this is a hero for all time. James Horner gave two great scores for this year in Glory and Field of Dreams. One of the best of the decade, the only drawback to Glory is that at the climax it sounds a little too Orff-like but other than that it sings with heroism and, forgive the pun, glory. In Field of Dreams, Horner draws on a softer, more melancholic synthesizer sound but with incredibly moving results. John Williams also gave one of his most thoughtful and intensely powerful scores ever for Born on the Fourth of July, his first collaboration with Oliver Stone. And last, Alan Menken enters the Disney arena and elevates the animated musical to a new level of unprecedented heights. The Little Mermaid is a masterpiece of scoring and song-writing that sings with unforgettable tunes that were good enough to win the Academy Award and begin one of the most dominating string of wins in Oscar history but this score was the first and the best.