Deferred Hat Tip - Tron Soundtrack

As we get more and more trailers for the upcoming Tron movie I'm getting more and more excited for no apparent reason. I didn't even like Tron to begin with. In fact, I thought it was boring with the exception of Syd Mead's awesome Light cycles. In my effort to better understand my past and my feelings about them, I decided it was high time to give Tron another shot, and to be perfectly honest, I still think it's boring. The soundtrack, however, is rather amazing.

I'm stealing this joke, but it rings true for me, nonetheless: I had to ask my dad when I was a kid who Wendy Carlos was, and why she used to go by a different name. I can't remember his explanation, but it was probably something that completely masked the fact she had gender reassignment surgery. Either way, my inner-prude has always been suspicious of Wendy Carlos' excellent scores, including Tron's. I'm not filled with hate or anything, nor does it even bother me. I guess in my early years. I just thought it was weird. Anyway, what really matters here is the music itself, and boy is it neat.

As a rule I've come to despise emotion-controlling-epic-symphonic score's to movies. I can't stand them, I think Hans Zimmer is the biggest hack to grace the stage. Tron doesn't shy away from these moments either, but the inclusion of the synthesizers make everything okay for some reason. It's like they add a layer of goofy self-awareness to the score and makes the London Philharmonic Orchestra somehow less lame.

The fact the soundtrack seems to mimic themes from the film, namely this weird struggle between synthesized and real seems to just add to the glory of it. The soundtrack is often curious in its schizophrenia, even annoying in its labored attempts to differentiate between the electronic and non-electronic. Still, it's an excellent piece of source material for those who argue for the go-big, go epic attitudes of modern blockbusters. This is about as subdued of a soundtrack a major motion picture, especially a family friendly film could possibly get, even if a couple songs from Journey get thrown in for good measure.

It's not exactly perfect though. The licensed tracks from Journey are forgettable, and you can feel Wendy Carlos' push against the London Philharmonic Orchestra -- it seems like she just plain didn't want them there and rightfully so. There is a certain amount of control that can be seen here though. It's not totally over-the-top. It holds back as best it can, and for that, it still remains an interesting score to a boring yet visually stimulating movie. That's more than I can say for other visually stunning yet epically hollow films.

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Thorin Klosowski
Contact: Thorin Klosowski