Tag Archives: Robert Zemeckis

Rocks In The Attic #785: Alan Silvestri – ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit (O.S.T.)’ (1988)

RITA#785You might know Alan Silvestri from his orchestral scores to some of the biggest blockbusters of the 1980s, 1990s and beyond, but the really surprising credit to his name is for something far earlier. The Academy Award-winning composer of such classic scores as the Back To The Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, Predator, The Abyss, Cast Away and Young Guns II first got his break composing music for television in the late 1970s.

From 1977 to 1983, Silvestri scored the music for the hit show CHiPs, including its amazing main title, eventually scoring 95 of its 139 episodes. He also scored episodes of Starsky & Hutch, Tales From The Crypt and T.J. Hooker. His partnership with director Robert Zemeckis began in 1984 when they collaborated on Romancing The Stone; he has composed the music for all of Zemeckis’ films since.

RITA#785a1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a watershed moment in cinema. In 2019, it seems an everyday occurrence for an actor to share the screen with computer-generated images or characters. Such technology was in its infancy in 1988 – the first fully computer-generated animated character had only hit the screens three years earlier in Young Sherlock Holmes (courtesy of Lucasfilm’s John Lasseter, who would go on to establish Pixar Animation Studios). Instead, Zemeckis’ film relies on physical actors acting alongside empty spaces which was then overlaid with hand-drawn animation featuring three-lighting layers to give the appearance of three-dimensionality.

It’s just mind-blowing to watch the scene where Bob Hoskins’ character Eddie is handcuffed to Roger Rabbit, and he expertly hides him from the evil weasels. This was filmed over thirty years ago, and it still looks great.

My kids are currently aged 7, 6 and 4, and I don’t think I’ll be letting them watch the film anytime soon. It’s just a little too dark for them – particularly the more violent aspects of the plot with Judge Doom murdering toons by dunking them in ‘dip’. Maybe when they’re older…

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Silvestri’s score sounds as majestic as anything else he’s done, possibly coming closer to the zaniness of Danny Elfman than usual, and the soundtrack is interspersed with Roger and Jessica’s songs, sung by Charles Fleischer and Amy Irving respectively. This reissue by Mondo Records is pressed on a beautifully bright Jessica Rabbit neon pink and white splatter vinyl, and includes a reproduction of Roger’s poem to Jessica.

Hit: Why Don’t You Do Right? – Amy Irving

Hidden Gem: Valiant & Valiant

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Rocks In The Attic #548: Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – ‘Stranger Things Volume One (O.S.T.)’ (2016)

rita548Clearly the pop-culture TV phenomenon of 2016, Stranger Things landed in July through Netflix – with all eight episodes released concurrently, providing the perfect opportunity to binge-watch. The show is steeped in nostalgia, tailor-made for somebody my age, taking its cues from science-fiction films of the 1980s, most notably the works of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Carpenter, Richard Donner, Joe Dante, Stephen King and Robert Zemeckis. It’s almost as if the kids from Stephen King’s It met up with Richard Donner’s Goonies and fell into a Carpenteresque, Spielbergian sci-fi horror.

On paper, that all sounds amazing, but the thing that clinched it for me is the heavily John Carpenter influenced soundtrack – all moody synths and drum loops – which really helps to place the show in the 1980s. I’ve written about John Carpenter’s soundtracks twice before – I’m a big fan – and this soundtrack stands up with the best of his work, but also touches on the likes of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream among others. Composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein are half of Austin-based synth pioneers Survive, a band I really need to check out. Stein and Dixon were brought on board after the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, used a Survive song in the mock trailer they created to pitch the show to Netflix. They were hired when the show was green-lit, with early demos influencing the casting process by being played over the actors’ audition tapes.

Season two of Stranger Things is planned to air some time in 2017, with the main cast fleshed out by the addition of ‘80s stalwart Paul Reiser and chief-Goonie Sean Astin.

Hit: Stranger Things

Hidden Gem: Kids