SCORE: A Film Music Documentary is Back on Blu-ray

Hans Zimmer plays at the keyboard in Score: A Film Music Documentary. Photo by Matt Schrader.

The Solzy Award-winning SCORE: A Film Music Documentary is back on Blu-ray with a limited amount of bonus features.

What makes this film special to me isn’t just the fact that it was one of the best documentaries of 2017. No, it’s the fact that the film festival review is what kicked off Solzy at the Movies that year. I watched the film as a press screener initially because scheduling conflicts prevented my attendance at the theater. In any event, Matt Schrader made this film for film music lovers like myself.

Financed in part through a Kickstarter campaign, the documentary is amazing but it could be so much more. It’s only 93 minutes but with a better budget, it could easily be two hours or more. While I certainly have an interest, the six hours of raw interviews on the two-disc DVD set or the second volume (three more hours of raw interview footage) are currently out of print. Schrader tells me that they’ll be printed again soon. The filmmaker also said that this new Blu-ray run came without any warning. It’s not a good look for the studio to not be in contact with filmmakers. They  had uploaded the film onto YouTube despite the filmmakers being against it. In any event, fans wanting more can always check out the companion book of interviews.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a John Williams fan. I imagine that many other people are also Williams fans. He is in the film but only through archive footage. There’s no new interviews with him so we’ll have to wait for the upcoming Laurent Bouzereau documentary on the legendary composer to make its way into theaters or onto home video. Obviously, the work of John Williams speaks for itself even if Schrader does not get any new interviews with him. The timing didn’t work out for an interview with Michael Giacchino either. Other composers, like the late James Horner, appear by way of archival interviews. But again, you can only fit so many interviews into a film of this length!

Discussing music in general, it is amazing to see these brilliant film composers taking us behind the scenes of what they do and the challenges that may come as they bring music to a film. They have one of the hardest jobs in writing the music that complements a movie. Can you imagine films like Star Wars or Indiana Jones without their iconic theme songs by John Williams? One thing I’ve learned through the years of interviewing composers is how certain tracks can evolve through the process. If filmmakers re-edit a scene, the music might no longer work. In some instances, a cue might start out in one direction but end up as an entirely different piece by the time the composing process is over.

During the documentary, Brian Tyler is seen walking into a screening of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron just to see how the audience reacts to the score. He tries to avoid people watching him as he watches them. It’s not uncommon for filmmakers to walk into a theater but it’s amazing how many composers walk in unannounced. You have to wonder if anyone would recognize them.

Schrader, a three­‐time Emmy Award-‐winning news producer, left CBS in 2014 to pursue this movie, one of the most popular crowdfunding campaigns that year. This is his first feature-length documentary and it really doesn’t get much better than this. SCORE: A Film Music Documentary is the film that many film music lovers, myself included, have been wanting to see for years. Does it fall short of expectations? No. Could it be better? Definitely–but I’m satisfied by what’s on screen.

Bonus Features
  • Audio Commentary with Director Matt Schrader
  • Interview with James Cameron (29:03)
  • Bear McCreary Rocks the Hurdy Gurdy (7:12)
  • Harry Gregson Williams at the Piano (3:26)
  • Inside the Hans Zimmer Mind (1:52)
  • Sounds of NYC with J Ralph (0:45)
  • Tyler Bates Guitar Viol (6:09)
  • Trailer

FEATURING: Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Rachel Portman, Trent Reznor, Quincy Jones, Randy Newman, Alexandre Desplat, Tom Holkenborg, Harry Gregson-Williams, Brian Tyler, Steve Jablonsky, Bear McCreary, Thomas Newman, Howard Shore, Patrick Doyle, Atticus Ross, John Powell, Mervyn Warren, Mark Mothersbaugh, Moby, Marco Beltrami, Trevor Rabin, Mychael Danna, Christophe Beck, John Debney, Heitor Pereira, Leonard Maltin, Robert Kraft, James Horner

Gravitas Ventures released SCORE: A Film Music Documentary in theaters on June 16, 2017.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.