Five Favorite Film Music Moments

A while back I made a post about my five favorite film scores. I decided to expand on that and give you all my favorite film music moments. So the way this works is I’m going to name some of my favorite movie moments and touch on why the music means so much to the scene.

Let’s begin!

5. Dawn Raid on Fort Knox (from Goldfinger) 1964, music by John Barry

The climax of the 3rd Bond film opens during the early morning as Goldfinger puts his plan into action. The Flying Circus of Pussy Galore soars across the skies as this musical piece plays. The track has high aspirations that match Goldfinger’s motivations. Even though Goldfinger is not one of my ten favorite Bond films, I find it a movie of moments and this certainly is one of them.

4. “I never said thank you…” (From Batman Begins) 2005, music by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard


The ending to Christopher Nolan’s first installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy has Batman meeting with his now ally James Gordon. There they discuss the aftermath of the events that occurred in the 3rd act when Gordon presents him with a joker playing card. As Batman turns to jump off the building, Gordon says, “I never said thank you.” Batman’s response, “And you’ll never have to.” The music underscored this new relationship perfectly before transitioning to the credits. If there was no other film after this one, it would be a perfect ending since everything is wrapped up and we have the story of Batman Begins.

3. African Rundown (From Casino Royale) 2005, music by David Arnold

Back to Bond for this entry. Here we have a fantastic chase through Madagascar where Daniel Craig’s 007 runs down a bomb maker in a chase that culminates at an embassy. It’s a great scene made amazing because of the frantic score from Arnold. We recieved a new Bond and this scene and score told us he was a freight train that wouldn’t ever stop.

2. The Battle of Yavin (From Star Wars, 1977) music by John Williams

My favorite moment of my favorite film. The Battle of Yavin encapsulates all that make Star Wars my favorite film ever. The adventure, the thrills, the excitement. This piece of music IS Star Wars. Everything that it is, was and will be. Williams does it all. This is my favorite film score ever and this track is what makes it so.

1. Flight (From Man of Steel, 2013) Music by Hans Zimmer


The more I watch Man of Steel, the more it becomes one of my favorite superhero films. One of those reasons is the moment where Kal-El steps out into the world for the first time wearing the Superman attire. He is out in the Arctic thinking of the words his father Jor-El has told him and attempts to leap into the air. At first he struggles, but he clears his head, kneels and lifts off. Zimmer’s score for this scene is perfect. That is a Superman moment for me. I know this film is split amongst audiences, but this is a top moment in movies where the music and the image are in perfect sync.

There you have it! Five of my favorite film/music moments. Even in writing this post, I’ve thought of some more, so they may come at a later time. Let me know some of your favorite moments as well!

Film Review – Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is the 26th film in DC Universe Original Animated Movies line. It is an adaptation of the 1988 graphic novel of the same name written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland. The Killing Joke is a one-shot Batman story that has his archenemy The Joker, shooting Barbara Gordon and kidnap James Gordon in an attempt to prove that one bad day can drive anyone to madness. 

Now this graphic novel while acclaimed also has its share of controversy as it features the shooting of Batgirl and also the implied sexual assault of the character. This is a trope that has been prevalent in fiction for years where a female character is attacked in an attempt to spur the male character to action. Because of that, it was wondered how will this story translate into movie form? Let’s take a look.


Since the original comic isn’t a long read, DC animation added a 30 minute prologue that takes place before the events of the comic. It focuses on Barbara Gordon’s time as Batgirl before her shooting and paralysis. We got a teaser of Batgirl at the end of the film Batman: Bad Blood that I hoped would be a solo Batgirl film. I guess it was for this. It’s a shame because this sequence adds absolutely nothing to the original story. While Barbara is a capable crime fighter, she is presented as a needy girlfriend in a sexual relationship with Bruce Wayne. This element of the prologue pushes back something that would have been intriguing. During the sequence Batgirl gains herself an enemy who Batman warns her about the moment when a criminal takes it personal. Like him and the Joker. If not for the nonsense of their relationship, this would have been a great story on its own.


After the prologue, we get into the main story. And it’s pretty much an exact retelling of the original comic with not much else added to flesh things out. Since the controversy is so well known, it could have been an opportunity for Batgirl to have the spotlight and flipped the scripted where the Joker wants to drive her mad instead of her father. Here we get beat for beat the original story. 

As voice casting goes, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill return as Batman and Joker respectively. For some reason I felt Conroy was slightly off his game. He seemed a bit disinterested this time. Hamill on the other hand was fantastic as Joker and just as lively as he usually plays him. Tara Strong was also great as Barbara/Batgirl, however I was not a fan of Ray Wise as Jim Gordon.


The animation style for this film tries to emulate Brian Bolland’s fantastic artwork and at times it does work, but most times it feels very stiff. It doesn’t have much fluidity. Batman in particular seems to be the example of the stiffness that stood out to me the most.

Batman: The Killing Joke is mostly average. Since the prologue adds nothing to the original story and also manages as much controversy as the original, you could skip it and not miss a thing. The main story is beat for beat the graphic novel so it’s exactly what has been seen before It’s rated R, but honestly I feel Assault on Arkham pushed more limits with its PG-13 rating than this did with an R. This could have been an opportunity to right a wrong, but instead a mountain out of a molehill has been made with this story. Perhaps it’s just best to leave it be.

 

Final Rating (2.5/5) Batman: The Killing Joke is a missed opportunity to put this story in a more positive light. The prologue is pointless and adds nothing and the main story is unchanged with nothing added. Also has some stiff animation. Good for if you have the book and just don’t feel like reading at the moment. Pretty average adaptation.

Film Review – Nerve

Are you a Watcher or Player? This is the question at the heart of Nerve, a techno-thriller film from the directors of Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3 & 4, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost. It is based on a 2012 novel by Jeanne Ryan.

Nerve is the story of Venus “Vee” Delmonico (Emma Roberts). Vee is a high school senior with a reputation for playing it safe and not taking risks. She is told about a game called Nerve that recruits people to be either watchers or players. If you choose to be a player, you are constantly issued dares to complete. As you complete the dares you win money  and gain more notoriety. Vee decides to take part in the game to prove to her friends that she is more than capable of taking chances. Once she does she meets another player named Ian (Dave Franco). From this point on, Vee is going to realize just how deep this game really goes.

The trailer for Nerve hooked me with its idea. This game where everyone and anyone could be watching. Add to that the suspense elements with the various dares, and you have my attention. This was a quaint summer surprise. Especially with to being released when other blockbuster films like Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne are hitting the screen.

Nerve is a very contemporary film that showcases the modern Internet culture. It’s by no means deep and full of metaphor, yet you can tell throughout the film and equate it to situations we all may have online. It can be a case of “I think I know this person, but then it turns out that was a fa├žade. The film best shows this point in the 3rd act, although it came across a tad bit heavy handed to me.


The film also is well formed on the structure side of things. It’s 96 minutes in length so it doesn’t waste too much time. We are introduced to Vee, see what she is like, and she gets into the game. That works for me. The cinematography is vibrant and colorful. I felt that showed viewers how bright things may look, but once you get on the other side, it’s not pretty at all.

The acting is passable. Neither Roberts nor Franco light the room on fire with their performances, yet they don’t bring it down. Nothing in the script is really anything one would cringe over.

Overall Nerve is decent enough to be worth a viewing. It easily could have been a cheap, young adult thriller that had no purpose, but in the end it actually hase something to say about a prevalent part of our modern culture.


Final Rating (3.5/5) Nerve actually surprised me by having something to say in the midst of the suspense and the story at hand.

Flashback Review – Batman: Assault on Arkham

This will be the first DeaconsDen flashback review. These will be reviews that I didn’t cover at the time of their release, but are perfect to revisit for an upcoming release.

Since the month August will see the release of the movie Suicide Squad, I’m going back to take a look at the 2014 animated film, Batman: Assault on Arkham.

One could see this as a test to see how audiences would react to these characters be given the spotlight in any cinematic format. Considering that we are getting a live action film, this must have passed the litmus test.


This film takes place as part of Batman: Arkham universe. It comes after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins. In the film, Amanda Waller gathers a team of criminals that include Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider and Captain Boomerang. Their mission is to break into Arkham Asylum and steal a thumb drive hidden in the cane of The Riddler. During their mission they will cross paths not only with the Dark Knight, but the diabolical Joker as well.

Although this is an animated flick, it certainly contains mature content. It carries a PG-13 rating, but it makes the most of what it can do with that rating in regards to its violent and sexual content. Because of that, this is one of the better entries in the animated DC canon. Batman is in the title, but he is not the focus. The Squad takes precedence here and the film doesn’t let you forget about it. They are not heroes and don’t act like it. What’s their motivations? Complete the mission so they don’t die at the hands of Waller. So they do what they need to complete the task. The film never forgets that. Also the somewhat grounded plot (as grounded as a comic book movie can be) is a relief as it’s mostly an infiltration/espionage type mission.


From a technical standpoint, Assault on Arkham has some nice fluid animation to match its equally talented voice cast. Kevin Conroy once again is Batman.Neal McDonough is Deadshot and Hynden Walch as Harley Quinn both do admirable work and capture each character well. C.C.H. Pounder voices Amanda Waller just as she did on Justice League Unlimited. Troy Baker, who played the Joker in Arkham Origins, returns in the role here.


Batman: Assault on Arkham is a quality animation that shifts the focus from Batman to the criminals he interacts with. The movie reminds you that these are not good guys, but it never revels in it. Rather you just enjoy the ride of these bad guys being bad.

Final Rating (4/5)