Soundtrack review: I kill giants (Laurent Perez del Mar – 2018)
From the acclaimed graphic novel comes an epic adventure about a world beyond imagination. Teen Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe, The Conjuring 2) is the only thing that stands between terrible giants and the destruction of her small town. But as she boldly confronts her fears in increasingly dangerous ways, her new school counselor (Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy) leads her to question everything she’s always believed to be true. I Kill Giants is an intense, touching story about trust, courage and love from the producers that brought you Harry Potter. Laurent Perez del Mar wrote the score.
The score opens with the theme for “Barbara”; I was expecting a sweet and light theme but the composer puts this main character in the context of the story and there is a dense, dark undertone beneath a whimsical piano motif to show that Barbara knows her place and that the fight was not a surprise, she’s like Buffy, aware of her role. It’s a nice fantasy cue that ushers us into the mysterious and dangerous world this story takes place in. The next cue “Gift of gold” shows the melodic potential of this score with a grandiose fantasy theme. This is the tone I like for this score, the path of comfortable keyboard sounds that makes the mystery more relatable, that unveils the emotional core of this album. The composer plays with the tone as if it was an imaginary equaliser of intensity and the transitions are very natural.
The “Giants” theme is the first standout, riling moment of the score. It’s only a prelude to an explosion of orchestral delight, “The forest” which is the stuff fairy tales are made of. It reminds me a bit of James Newton Howards’s “White stag” from “Snow white”. Too bad the cue is so short. There is a certain emotional depth in this score that I enjoy; I appreciate the care with which the composer treated both the emotional and the action parts.
It’s refreshing to hear a score where the composer didn’t go for a superficial and generic sound and created his own story; a cue like “Under the water” with its epic buildup, the fantastic sounding female voice that rises with the orchestral tide, is a mark of a very good composer. For me this is the kind of cue that separates normal composers from those who have a potential for greatness. I hear Morricone in this cue. I am spoiled with a cue like this so even if the electronic tension in the next one “Fight the forest giant” is palpable and the growl of the music sends chills down my spine, it’s a rude awakening from the bliss.
“I kill giants” was a nice surprise for me from a composer I hadn’t heard much of or from; it’s a tale of two sounds, a warm, sweeping melodic one and a cold tense one that both work also as a standalone listening experience. If I were to choose, the romantic and dramatic sound sealed it for me so he should focus on orchestral complexity because he is very good at it. I got a rewarding fantasy score and I will keep my ears open for Lauren Perez del Mar’s future works.
Cue rating: 84 / 100
Under The Water