Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Most Compelling Musical Moment in Any Film

There are hundreds of movies out there with breathtaking scores paired with stunning visuals, but for me, none can compare to the scene The Kraken in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. On its own, the score is epic and impossible to ignore. The scenery is likewise awe-inspiring. But there is one moment that mixes the two and transcends even the most famous and well-known films.

The crew is feverishly battling the Kraken, Will is clinging to the mast, and the orchestra is narrating the fight. Then, the Kraken's tentacles rise straight up the side of the ship and the music is replaced with silence. (A similar tactic is used later on in the scene "I've Got a Jar of Dirt" when the Kraken's tentacles can be seen through the cannon's portholes.) The sight of the massive arms raised high above the ship momentarily freezes the action of the scene before the tentacles come crashing back down accompanied by the sound of a gargantuan being and a weathered ship creaking in unison. As the tentacles crash into the ship, the orchestra is replaced with the majesty of the pipe organ.

In print, the scene seems interesting, but otherwise unremarkable. You can't imagine how heart-stoppingly awesome (and I mean that in its true sense, as the scene awes me) the combination of sight and sound are.

It's true that sound and music are both vital aspects of film, setting the mood, telling us how to feel about events and characters, and directing our attention to important objects, people, and events, no matter how subtle. However, some films and some composers manage to do more than that. They make their way into your chest and remain there in our memories and emotions.

I'm aware that I sound entirely too sentimental and possibly sickening about this single scene, but I can't help it. As someone who's always been obsessed with monster movies and as someone who can't live without music (listening, performing, etc.), the Kraken paired with the pipe organ is like my catnip, were I a cat.

I've now watched the scene about 6 times while writing this and every time, I get that feeling in my chest like I can't believe what I'm seeing/hearing. It's a fantastic feeling. Well done, Hans Zimmer and Gore Verbinski.

No comments:

Post a Comment