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Soundtrack review: Geostorm (Lorne Balfe – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Geostorm (Lorne Balfe – 2017)



Geostorm is an upcoming American disaster science-fiction action film co-written, co-produced and directed by Dean Devlin as his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Richard Schiff, Robert Sheehan, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Ed Harris and Andy García. The plot follows a satellite designer who tries to save the world from a storm of epic proportions caused by malfunctioning climate-controlling satellites. Disaster movies are my guiltiest of pleasures and I would watch them every day. Lorne Balfe wrote the score, and the only way you could associate his name with “disaster” would be in a phrase like “It’s a disaster if Lorne doesn’t write a dozen great scores every year”. But we are safe, since he usually does.

I’ve recently watched “Terminator Genisys” again and this is the freshest Lorne Balfe score in my head. Somehow I think “Geostorm” might have some of the metallic boldness of that sound. I love how this album starts because “Nature” has the epic might and buildup a disaster movie opening should have; my preferences are simple for a score like this and I am getting my fix right from the start. When I am listening to a disaster movie score I don’t need to think and look for intricate thematic content and subtle textures; I want to feel the music moving at an alert pace and get goosebumps from the buildups and either epic or emotional cues. Lorne’s music here is lean and without any extra fat; the cues usually start quiet and build up into explosive motifs. The buildup that, for me, Hans Zimmer turned into an art and his RCP team is perfecting to this day, never fails and I love to hear it no matter how often it’s used.

“Geostorm” plays more like an above exciting thriller more than a disaster movie score. “Lightning chase” is the towering centre of this score, a frantic and electrifying (hello, electric sparks motifs from the Transformers scores) action theme that I look for in every thriller composition and very rarely get; this is what I’m talking about, an explosive, bombastic, massively exciting, epic chase theme that I can’t get enough of. I thin the technical term I’m looking for is that this cue completely blew my fuses. “Goodbye” takes care of the emotional content and the heroic goosebumps come in “Take off” which is my every epic dream come true. This one is going straight to my running playlist.

There is nothing more I could ask from a thriller score. There are no filler moments, nothing to break the pace or give pause to the listening experience; “Geostorm” is an almost permanent adrenaline rush and the musical peaks are electrifying and memorable. I might not be taking part in the chasing and running and explosions from the movie but I feel just as tired when the score is over as I need to catch my breath. If you need to sample just a bit to get you convinced, try listening to the score up from the title theme which combines the best elements from the score into a 7 minute action bonanza. Then comes the most heroic and inspirational theme from the album “May day” which makes me think of the climaxes of my favourite 90s Michael Bay movies and scores and the epic emotional conclusion “Family”. Spectacular, inspirational and simply beautiful, “Geostorm” is easily my favourite action score of 2017.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 36 / 52

Album excellence: 68%

Nature Warning
Hong Kong Falling
Lighting Chase
Satellite Destruction
May Day

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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  1. Kevin Keegan 14th October 2017

    ‘The only way you could associate his name with “disaster” would be in a phrase like “It’s a disaster if Lorne doesn’t write a dozen great scores every year”. But we are safe, since he usually does.’

    Is something wrong with you? Are you paid to write this?

    1. Mihnea Manduteanu 14th October 2017

      It’s a joke! Plus I am a fan. Sarcasm..

    2. Mihnea Manduteanu 14th October 2017

      I’m a big fan of you as well, by the way 😉 especially the Newcastle days.

  2. David Hand 15th October 2017

    Cannot wait to hear.


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