My iTunes is littered with albums whose titles begin “Music from the Motion Picture…”, which is why today’s post is about movie themes*.
Nothing helps me recall the emotion I felt while watching a movie quite like its instrumental score, and a good theme will evoke a genuine response in me long after I have seen a film. Whether it be excitement or sadness or joy or nostalgia or whatever that emotion is that causes you to sit up straighter in your seat and stare off wistfully into the distance, movie themes often fill me to the brim with…something.
For that reason, I have selected 10 of my favorite instrumental themes. Not the 10 that I necessarily think are the greatest film musics ever composed, but the 10 that resonate with me on a deeply personal level.
And my 10 Favorite Instrumental Movie (and TV) themes are…
10. Theme from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
This theme is basically saying, “Oh, you gonna cry in the next 60 minutes. You gonna cry.”
9. Music from the Water for Elephants trailer
From when I finished the book by Sarah Gruen to when the completely lacklaster Robert Pattinson movie came out, my sister and I must have watched this trailer 100 times, each time exclaiming about how the music just perfectly captures the MAGICAL TONE of the novel. Then the theme wasn’t even in the movie – no wonder it was so lackluster!
8. La Valse d’Amelie from Amelie
Yes, yes, I would like to give up my normal life and move to Paris for awhile. Thank you, Amelie score for reminding me.
7. Shire/Hobbit theme from Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit-shire theme just sounds like coming home to me. Now I simply must acquire a Hobbit-hole for my home, and all will be perfect in my life. Of course there are other Themes of Excellence on the scores to the three LOTR movies, but this is my pick for my favorite. It is played here by a random dude on ocarina (I had so many like this to choose from on Youtube). I still find it moving when played on a lone ocarina, which I think speaks to the quality of the theme itself:
6. Doctor Who Series 5 – Action theme (best exemplified in tracks like “The Sun’s Gone Wibbly” and “I Am the Doctor on the soundtrack album)
This is the theme that says, “The Eleventh Doctor is getting sh*t done“. It is unbelievably good, and one of the reasons why the Eleventh Doctor is my favorite (most of the other reasons having to do with Matt Smith’s face).
5. Overture from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
It is widely known that I have a thing for Robin Hood, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is one of my all-time favorite movies. I saw it when I was like 8, around the time that I heard Everything I Do [I Do It For You] on the radio and decided it was the most beautiful song I could ever hear. Although some of the score uses the Bryan Adams melody, nothing beats the Overture for getting you pumped for the Robin-effing-Hood-iness you know will follow. (FYI – It starts very quietly, but it sure don’t stay that way…)
4. Test Drive from How to Train Your Dragon
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to ride on the back of a dragon? Well, it feels like this song, for starters..
3. Main theme from Jurassic Park
There are no words for how amazing this here tune is. To me, it sounds like if your dream in life was to actually bring back dinosaurs and then you totally accomplished it, this is how you would feel inside.
2. Main Title from Last of the Mohicans
Simply the greatest movie theme ever, perhaps? Save your Jaws and Star Wars and stuff – I would cast my vote for this one in a contest. That moment at :42 is phenom.
1. “Orchard House” from Little Women
Nothing but nothing reminds me more forcefully of the happiness of my childhood than the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women. This was THE MOVIE of my life at the time – and remains an unspoken influence on my life to this day. The first big swell of this theme (:21) sounds like straight up CHILDHOOD to me.
So tell me, friends – what glaring movie theme oversight do you think I have made? What movie or TV instrumental themes speak most to your hearts? Let me know in the comments please – I am genuinely curious, and a little afraid that I missed some good ones!
Besides of course for leaving out Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, which someone I know believes belongs on this list, and so I will include as a bonus here:
*Already I am one day late posting my third post on my first theme, because I am a liar and also lazy. Next week things’ll line up better. Tomorrow I will announce my new theme and post three on it (at least) before Sunday.