Last week during a home inspection I attended, the inspector – whether he knew it or not – endlessly whistled Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” At first it was amusing, which led to mild irritation and then it got downright invasive. You see, a 10-year-old girl wasn’t doing the home inspection, a 40-year-old man was. And it’s summer, Adele was so last year (and overplayed), but music reminds you of things. So now that song will further tie together my oldest daughter to a top 40 hit to one particular real estate professional. And let’s just say it’s stuck with me enough to write about it. Why? Two words: movie themes.
I’ve had the good fortune – some might say ability to play – to go and see a couple of the summer movie fare in Iron Man 3 and the new Star Trek 2, labeling the latter so because that’s exactly what it is. Both were good, okay decent, the latter also being the better of the two. And I’m no Trekkie – as in I only watched every episode of The Next Generation - all the other series and their respective seasons I’ve watched on occasion but TNG was where it was at when I was a tween / teen. And the new Star Trek 2, as good as it was, well, it’s no the old Star Trek 2, better known as The Wrath of Khan. And no, I’m not going to kvetch about story details. Shutup already, it was entertaining, lens flare, chase sequences, and undersea space vessels too. But the score to the new Star Trek 2? Or to Iron Man 3? I don’t remember them. They weren’t integral to the films. They were present (I think), but I doubt in 30-plus years I’ll be whistling them.
ASIDE: one musical thing I did notice in the new Star Trek 2 that was contiguous to the last Star Trek – you guessed it the new Star Trek 1 – for some reason the Beastie Boys are played during the Kirk intros. In the new Star Trek 1, he’s introduced as a tween himself and “Sabotage” screams along, while in the new Star Trek 2, as a young – shall we say – socialite “Body Movin'” plays. So as a viewer I walk away going, okay, for the new Star Trek 3 summer after next or whenever I might expect a “So What Cha Want” or a “Pass The Mic”? So be it. I think the late MCA would approve of this. You go JJ Abrams!
In a bout of insomnia the night before the home inspection I noted Netflix was streaming the old Star Trek 2. I had the benefit of seeing this film in the theater when I was 8, so in my sleep deprivation, I indulged. I hadn’t seen it in years, and comparing it to the new Star Trek 2 was fun with the notable exception of score. The music in this 1982 sci-fi romp has such a place in the story, providing both the crew of the Enterprise and Khan their own themes. For lack of a better description, it’s joyful. The fierce, driving strings as Khan engages or attacks possesses a fury, a whirlwind of encroaching danger. So when I was at that home inspection the next day, Khan’s theme was going over in my head, for no other reason than it holds a strong sense of place for me and frankly to the movie. It’s catchy and fun, and the movie just wouldn’t be the same without it.
As I wrap this up I think about my grade school music teacher Mrs. Graham (and also how lucky I was to have a grade school music teacher). I remember vividly and repeatedly watching with her in our music class the old cartoon short for Peter and The Wolf and learning the significance each instrument plays in the song, how it brings to the story the very element of each character. Holiday movie lovers will also recognize this piece’s importance in the now timeless A Christmas Story. Music should have a strong sense of place in any story. Enter Man of Steel, opening next week, and its score. Yet another Superman for yet another generation. Will its theme achieve a decades old bravado like John Williams’ from 1978? We all know it. The big and bold bum-bumba-bum-bum, bumm-baa-bumm. That one. How do you top that? And why wouldn’t a home inspector be whistling that instead of Adele?
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.