Film scores

Soundtrack review: Fort Ross (Yuri Poteyenko – 2015)

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“Fort Ross” is a Russian adventure film based around the history of Russia’s most important colony in California. The story shifts between St. Petersburg in 1825, Fort Ross in 1820 and modern times as a group of Russian journalists travel to San Francisco. Thanks to an iPhone struck by lightning, the group gets transported back to the 19th century where they immediately witness the hardships of Russian colonists. Yuri Poteyenko wrote the score and I’m sure this pirate story will get him out of his laid back orchestral comfort zone I’ve gotten familiar with.

Pirate music is very distinctive in film and TV land. I still say what Bear McCreary did for “Black sails” is the most raw and most original of them all but I enjoy just as much the flamboyant and swashbuckling sound that Hans Zimmer or John Debney brought fourth. Yuri Poteyenko seems to go this road as well and the music is playful and enjoyable. “Fort Ross” seems to lean more towards the family adventure sound actually. There are times when the horns shine and that are when I feel I’m on a pirate ship.

The music is nice and harmless. It sounds very appropriate for a Saturday morning movie for kids. I need to get in that frame of mind in order to better enjoy the music. The cues don’t vary much and they seem to be based on the same melodic like and motifs. I smile at moments like “Russian rum” and the score passes by like a breeze. I could do other things while listening to it and come back to a similar cue though.

Still there is a theme in here, and I realize it when it returns for “On a pirate ship”. It’s simple and catchy and purely orchestral. It reminds me of the music of old pirate computer games I used to play as a kid. That’s the sound that Yuri Poteyekno brings here, that simple, amusing and catchy sound that used to accompany me through hours of gameplay.

When a cue like “Escape from the ship / Under fire / Pursuit” comes along I realize that this score had a lot of potential. When it gets serious, the music is even more exciting and I can connect with it much easier. It’s as if from that cue on the orchestra ship got reinforcements and can find with better chances and more confidence. In the end, “Fort Ross” was a fun passing of time.

Cue rating: 81 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 11 / 58

Album excellence: 18%

Highlights:

Russian Rum

Escape From The Ship/Under Fire/Pursuit

Pirates vs. Naval Cadets

 

 

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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