Welcome to a new column here on MRFH, Soundtrack Spotlight! Ever since Mutant Reviewers was incorporated, we’ve taken time here and there to highlight soundtrack scores and musical numbers as well as the films themselves. Well, I want to make this more of an official thing by occasionally hosting a spotlight wherein I’ll share with you five of my favorite scores, grouped by theme.
For this inaugural article, I’m going to pick scores that were among the very first I ever purchased in the 90s when I got my first CD player. It was a monstrous beast of a machine, a 7-disc CD changer boombox, and I loved it quite a bit. If you could travel back in time and — for some bizarre reason — visit my room, chances are you’d hear me playing one of these tracks:
1. Dave – Main Theme
Dave’s theme is incredibly identifiable, and that’s probably because so many comedy trailers used it for years afterward. It’s a very bubbly, well-done piece that fit the film perfectly, and I’d even put it as among James Newton Howard’s best.
2. Jurassic Park – Welcome to Jurassic Park
Past 1994, I don’t think anything John Williams has produced has been as splendid as what he did before that mark. 1994 was notable in that he made two classic scores: Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park (both directed by Steven Spielberg as well). Jurassic Park’s theme is meant to be played as loudly as possible and is a favorite of high school orchestras everywhere. It contributed so heavily to the sense of wonder and majesty of the film’s titular park, and if this had to be the last big hurrah of Williams’ career, I’m happy this was it.
3. Dances with Wolves – John Dunbar Theme
The late John Barry’s score for Dances with Wolves won an Oscar in 1991, and rightfully so. It’s such a sweeping, epic score that would fit in just as well in the 50s as it did in the 90s. I liked that it combined western motifs, a bit of Civil War marching themes, and Native American beats to create something that would echo in your skull for a long time after hearing it.
4. Star Trek VI – The Battle for Peace
I’ve gushed about Cliff Eidelman’s score on MRFH many times before, but it bears repeating: This is the best Star Trek sountrack, period. It’s dark, moody, and once it gets going there’s no stopping it. I’ve listened to this dozens if not hundreds of times, and it still gives me chills.
5. Mission: Impossible Theme (1996)
The M:I theme from the first movie took the classic (and catchy) tune to a fun place, with a grungier beat and synthesizers. I’ve always liked it, definitely more than the later films’ versions, so it got plenty of play on my CD player.