Most of us by now have seen the Every Frame a Painting essay “The Marvel Symphonic Universe,” which attempted to dissect why MCU musical scores are not so memorable to the general public. Well, count Thor: Ragnarok composer Mark Mothersbaugh amongst the video essay’s viewers, and Mothersbaugh kept the video in mind when creating his score.
The video essay primarily raised ire with directors and studios who used temp scores, existing music over early cuts of the films, and pushed their composers to score the film just like the temp—this created a “sameness” effect that the video argues has also extended to the MCU. “We were looking at that, going ‘Wow, OK.’ That helps explain some things that I kind of felt myself,” Mothersbaugh told The Hollywood Reporter about that specific point.
With visual effects-heavy blockbusters not coming together until the eleventh hour, Mothersbaugh’s fear is that music composers receive the short end of the stick, given very little time to produce their score.
“The composer has been getting squeezed over the last few decades. I guess sometimes maybe it works. A lot of times, and especially in the cases of the films they were pointing to in this YouTube thing, it started sounding like musical wallpaper,” says Mothersbaugh. “I think that’s what people were reacting to. It didn’t sound like the music was written for that scene in particular. It sounded like somebody was just spraying the wall with some color. It was the right color for a specific moment but had no nuances to it.”
Luckily, the experience was good enough for Mothersbaugh that he’d consider working with Marvel Studios again.”Marvel is so successful, and it seems like it’s because the people that are at the top of the food chain are very integrated into the creative process, which I hadn’t expected,” Mothersbaugh explains. Music was certainly not an afterthought:”I’m sitting there with their in-house music editor and playing music for him and Taika [Waititi]. This guy walks in and it’s Kevin [Feige] and he sits down with me, he’s just listening in. He’s checking it out to see what we’re doing,” he continues.
After watching (and reviewing) the film, I can tell you that the combination of orchestral music and 80s-inspired synth music from the Devo frontman is unlike anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe has heard before, and it is a major factor in Waititi’s reinvention of Thor. After you watch the film, you’ll likely want to listen to the score by itself—the soundtrack is currently available on services such as Spotify.
What did you think of the Thor: Ragnarok score? Tell us your thoughts!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter