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Soundtrack review: Angry Video Game Nerd: The movie (Bear McCreary, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Angry Video Game Nerd: The movie (Bear McCreary, 2014)

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Sooo…back when we were kids, all of us must have had a few favorite foods, ranging from French fries to cakes and soups and weird sandwiches. Occasionally, because we didn’t know better, we might have even combined a few of them in the same time, to the dismay of our parents…I mean who puts chocolate cake, French fries and a few sticks of chewing gum on the same plate, and actually enjoys the result?  Well…
…I don’t know if Bear McCreary did this when he was kid. I don’t know how the ones around him reacted if he did, but judging by what I’ve just listened to, I think the others not only enjoyed what weird combinations he came up with, but actually encouraged him to continue. Bear is all grown up now (I guess) and he went into his studio and decided to have some fun and replicate those moments, but with music genres. He took electronic music, heavy metal music, orchestral music and even a dash of western music and poured them together into the score for “Angry video game nerd: The movie”. And, naturally, since he was having so much fun being a kid again, he brought his brother in as well to contribute with two cheesy glam rock songs which made me think of bands like Twisted Sister (just listen to “Nerds before birds”. It’s 80s rock magic). The result? An insane, funny and awesome movie score which not only pays homage to the early arcade video games and their unforgettable sounds but also to hair metal and the entire nerd culture.
Highlights? Well, just try “Sacred ground on the golden turd”. That’s one funny and catchy track, and it’s way sweeter than it looks. Then, I can only imagine the fun Bear had playing with all this when I listen to the “Source music medley”, a track based collection of sounds from the video games we all loved. He took those sound effects and sprinkled chiptunes all through the score. Nostalgia factor is very high on this one for me! I also love the main theme, an action track with a great beat, and some sudden orchestral inserts that make my adrenaline level rise. I actually feel like a poorly drawn 8-bit video game character running from monsters. I also enjoy the fact that it’s almost 5 minutes long, because that means my character can’t lose a life for that long. And the guitar riff towards the end? Pricelesssssssssss!
“Zandor’s tale” is the most special cue of the score for me, because it breaks the mood with some serious suspenseful and dramatic tones.  The electronics are at a minimum, and this is the one track that reminds me that this is an album gifted to us by the guy who scores “The walking dead” and who composed one of the most unbelievably awesome themes in recent years, for “Black sails”.
My favorite cue though is “Unidentified flying nerd”. It opens very grungy and alert…then it suddenly turns into the classic, unmistakable old school flying saucer sound, which is just the prelude to an orchestral madness which breaks again into arcade game sounds and …it really is a magnificent and addictive track.
Bear McCreary proves once again that he is one of the most versatile composers around, and I just can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
P.S. If you liked this score, you might find something similar…nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. It’s one of a kind.

My ratings:

Cue score: 70 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 78
Album excellence: 44%

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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