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Soundtrack review: Ender’s game (Steve Jablonsky – 2014)

ender
When this score is at its best it is epic and amazing and when it’s normal it is a great ambient composition

The Ender saga is my favorite science fiction work ever. I like it more than Dune or Foundation and I read all the books breathlessly. Orson Scott Card created an amazing world and raised some intelligent and deep debates which still echo in my mind. I was very happy to finally see a movie adaptation after so many years. Everyone who read the books knows that this could not possibly become a true franchise because only “Ender’s game” was right for a visual adaptation. The other parts of the story are better enjoyed through reading…I will not debate the merits of the movie here. I will talk about the score; it was written by Steve Jablonsky and I was happy with the choice. Harrison Ford stars in this movie so it’s part of “The Expendables month”.

“Ender’s war” introduces us to the character with a piece of the Transformers sound I love so much. This is what works for this score: the sound and general atmosphere. Steve Jablonsky didn’t take any risks; he stuck with what works and the result is awesome. When I hear “The battle room” I realize that this is how I imagined the sound of those battles when I was reading the books: a nice buildup with sharp strings and a soft choir in the background. This is one of the most beautiful themes Steve Jablonsky has ever written. It moves me, it challenges me. “Mind game Pt 1” comes next and is an atmospheric track worthy of the story.

I love it how Steve constructed the battle tracks.  For someone like me who is deeply familiar with and attached to the story, the subtle inflexions of the music, the epic buildups and the emotion that transpires through these cues are everything I wish for from an Ender score. The main characters are children thrown into a mind battle and their themes needed this approach. “Salamander battle” and “Dragon army” are the best of these cues. The warm violin caresses my ears and reminds me how much I should care for these children. This warmth is everything Steve Jablonsky’s sound needed to become even better.

I have to say that I enjoyed the epic tracks from “Ender’s game” even more than those from the Transformers series. I had high expectations from this score and it matched my own thoughts. I also found a few cues to introduce in my running playlists and that’s always a good thing. When this score is at its best it is epic and amazing and when it’s normal it is a great ambient composition and a very rewarding listen. A clear winner for me and the echo of that violin will haunt me for days.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 46 / 72

Album excellence: 64%

Highlights:

Ender’s War

The Battle Room

Mind Game Part 1

Salamandar Battle

Dragon Army

Ender Quits

Mazer Rackham

Enemy Planet

Game Over

The Way We Win Matters

Ender’s Promise

Commander

 

 

About the author

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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