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Soundtrack review: The last warrior (George Kallis – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The last warrior (George Kallis – 2017)

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“The Last Warrior” is an 2017 Russian comedy fantasy film directed by Dmitry Dyachenko. The story develops around Baba Yaga and Koschei, Russian folk heroes from the Russian fairy tales. The film was produced by American film companies The Walt Disney Company CIS and Village Roadshow Pictures in cooperation with Russian film companies Yellow, Black and White and Kinoslovo. When Ivan meets his new friends in another place called Belogorie, his quest on the new country begins with sparkling immortals effect within love in the pass from his childhood up on his time. The score was written by George Kallis and I am all in for a fantasy score by him, he never fails.

Why would he waste any time in diving into the epic? The title theme opens the score and it’s already a rousing anthem, an inspirational piece that is about as much an adrenaline rush as trailer cues usually are. A composer as positive and optimistic as Kallis can do wonders with a fantasy story like this and he should get more and more gigs to showcase his talent. There’s room for ambient emotion int he beginning of the score as well to make me connect better with the story and I just close my eyes and enjoy the sweet piano and cello musings of “The boy and the orphanage”, a theme that explodes midway into a fairy tale piece. The feeling of a musical story is intensified with a few cues that are tense and mysterious and add another dimension to this score.

The music is quite delightful at times, especially when the composer turns up the Russian influences with the inspirational and playful trumpet and the subtle choral inserts. A cue like “The legend of the magic sword” just fills me up with positivity and puts me on a very good mood. Whenever the brass section starts playing, usually with the woodwind section right on its tails it puts a smile on my face as the music gets playful, almost animation like, but infectiously joyful. I feel as if I am in the middle of a fairy tale, meeting into all these quirky characters that invite me to play with them, except it’s not characters but instruments and motifs.

For me “The last warrior” sounds exactly how a fantasy fairly tale score should sound like: full of stride, without fear, positive and optimistic; the music has moments when it just takes over and inspires me, make me want to rise from my chair and help the characters. Other times it’s playful and happy and at no point do I feel any weight while listening to this score regardless of how dense and complex the music is. George Kallis finds the perfect balance between epic action music and light playful music and writes another of his memorable scores. I will overuse this word but I am just delighted at the end of this album as the standalone listening experience is about as enjoyable and rewarding as it gets for this genre. Do not miss this one.

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 45 / 63

Album excellence: 72%

Highlights:
The Last Warrior
The Boy and the Orphanage
The Legend of the Magic Sword
Vasilisa, The Frog Princess
Ivan and Vasilissa
The Hut on Chicken Legs
Chased in the Woods
The Journey Begins
Chudo-Yudo, The Ogre Cannibal
Ivan’s Story
Evil Furry Rabbit
Running Away
Prisoners and the Old Sword
The Magic Sword and the Crystal
Ivan shoots Dobrynya
Ride of the Gorynych
The Battle for the Crystal
Ilya Muromets and Celebrations
The Boy Opens His Eyes
The Warriors Rise

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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