The science fiction and fantasy soundtrack

Scores or soundtracks are not thought about much by the average film goer, but it is the music that fundamentally holds the movie or show together. This is especially the case when it comes to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres, as the score gives the feeling of being in endless Outer Space, in the dystopian world of 3013 or more generally, just straightforward, imminent danger.

Sci-fi composer, John Williams

Though soundtracks go somewhat underappreciated, many people forget how important, iconic and epic theme songs and scores can be. Let’s face it, if you were watching The Matrix without any of Don Davis’ music in the background to accompany those high-speed chases and slow motion fight sequences, you would be wishing Neo had taken the blue pill and the film had ended an hour earlier.

Sometimes after watching a film or a TV show, you don’t even realise that a certain song has stayed with you. Occasionally you will find yourself playing air-guitar to Remy-Zero’s track Save Me, the theme song for Smallville and when you switch to BBC One and hear that familiar Doo-Wee-Ooooh, you know that The Doctor is off in his blue box to save another world.

Most Sci-Fi and Fantasy films bring back memories of childhood and it is the familiar songs that make the most poignant scenes recognisable. John Williams’ Flying Theme for E.T: The Extra Terrestrial will forever bring to mind the image of a silhouetted E.T. and Elliott flying on a bike across a giant, shining moon, a thought that never fails to bring a tear to even the most cynical of eyes.

Much in the same way, Alan Silvestri’s famous Back to the Future Overture allows for a subconscious sigh of relief as once again Marty McFly has travelled safely back to the future with the crazy Doc in tow.

Although better described as Fantasy than Science Fiction, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is another example of how soundtracks set the atmosphere for a film, as Howard Shore’s perfectly-toned score takes you through a glorious range of emotions that can’t quite be put into words. If you do however want something to sing along to, the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack with tracks like The Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite and the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once More With Feeling, both provide fun and surprisingly timeless songs which have a novelty that does not ever wear off.

In more recent times, many contemporary artists have taken to creating scores or inputting into Sci-Fi and Fantasy soundtracks. Daft Punk’s score for reboot Tron: Legacy was the best part of the whole film and while you may not think kindly of the Twilight saga, the soundtracks have produced great songs from the likes of Muse, Bon Iver, The Black Keys, Florence + the Machine and more.

In hindsight, you may not quite know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, but you will find you can instantly recognise the theme song to The X Files, and dark and intense scores for films like Inception (Hans Zimmer) and Alien (Jerry Goldsmith) will stay with you long after the credits have rolled – or the show has been cancelled.


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June 2022
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