Film scores

Soundtrack review: The wave (Magnus Beite – 2015)

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This time last year I was out with some friends in one of our country’s most beautiful cities and one of them was showing us very excited behind the scenes footage from the movie he was helping produce. A Norwegian crew was filming a disaster movie in our country and he was deeply involved. We saw how the sets were constructed, how suddenly a so und stage became a muddy hill which had swallowed a bus… how water invaded a hotel and so on. A year later I get to review the score for “The wave”, written by Magnus Beite with this small emotional connection.

Hello there epic disaster music! I’ve missed you in a year dominated by minimalistic scores. Since “Mad Max: Fury Road” it’s been hard to get our explosive film music fix. I love minimalistic music and I hope this trend stays but every now and then we need something like this. Even if the music is nothing I haven’t heard before with its combination of pounding electronic pulses and bursts of epic I am enjoying it because it’s been a long time coming. The composer didn’t try to overdo anything. He had a disaster popcorn movie to score and he went with it without being too sophisticated or pretentious.

“Alarm” is the first cue that really gets me excited. It’s menacing and it rolls as if from the top of the mountain, coming down to crush me with the sound of percussion and Roman sounding choirs. Short and sweet. The dramatic moments couldn’t miss because this probably is a by the book disaster movie so it should have all the ingredients. But who cares about checklists and all when a cue like “It’s coming” crushes us with the force of the best trailer music around.

I feel like making myself some popcorn when I hear “Escape to the hills”. It’s an adrenaline rush and even if I know it’s synthetic I still love it. I didn’t expect to get such a rush from this score. I didn’t feel this when listening to “San Andreas” for example which should have been the disaster movie of the year.

Sure there are some lackluster moments on this score but they don’t matter. I will keep those few explosive cues and play them when in need. This score reminded me of “Hercules” from last year in some instances. Yes it won’t shatter any rankings this year but I was in the mood for something like this.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 11 / 38

Album excellence: 30%

Highlights:

Alarm

It’s Coming

Escape To the Hills

Rescue Action

It Did Happen

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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