Two days ago, we lost an incredible film composer. I grew up with this guy’s film scores, along with other giants of the time. In fact I am so intimate with his work that I poked fun at it a little here. But the truth is…I wouldn’t be so knowledgeable about his work if I didn’t like it. There are several of his scores that still hold a special place in my heart. I’d like to take the opportunity to briefly go through two of those.
The Rocketeer is a fantastic tongue-and-cheek adventure film set in the 1930’s. It’s kind of the quintessential period piece for that era. In fact, those of you watching Agent Carter will notice several nods to this movie in its first season.
The main theme of this movie perfectly showcases Horner’s gift for melody. This cue is over the opening scene, in which the protagonist takes off in a custom-built plane in hopes of taking it to the national races.
He also wrote – for my money – one of the most moving pieces of underscore in film history: the death and funeral of Spock in Star Trek II. I still can’t watch this scene without shedding a tear or two. Even the buildup to the death scene is brilliant; it’s a montage of the birth of Genesis and Kirk racing to the engine room to try (in vain) to save his friend. It’s scored with a desperate beauty that perfectly describes the inevitability and duality of life and death.
Rest in piece. Your works will not be forgotten.