Film, Game Music, Reviews

PIXELS Original Soundtrack (Review)

July 24, 2015 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook PIXELS Original Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

Pixels is a new Hollywood blockbuster that features several classic video games including Pac-ManDonkey Kong, and Q-bert to name a few.  The movie is getting two soundtrack releases in and I had the opportunity to listen to a copy of the score.  The score was composed by Henry Jackman, who wrote the music for super hero films X-men: First ClassCaptain America: The Winter Soldier and Big Hero 6.  He also wrote the score for the animated video game film Wreck it Ralph, and he has also written the score to the upcoming game Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End which I can’t wait to hear.

Prior to listening to the score I was curious to find out if it offered symphonic representations of some classic video games, or something entirely different.  Read on to find out what I thought of the score.

The score to Pixels is an orchestral work, and not an electronic or chip tune creation.   The album contains 21 tracks, totaling  just over 37 minutes which is short for a film score.  But taking a second look at a list of all the 14 songs that are featured in the film over at (including the Smurf’s theme song) I understand why – there isn’t any room for more score.

The review copy supplied to Original Sound Version excluded the track “Q-Bert” which I was genuinely curious about, but I have a feeling its similar to the rest of the tracks on the score.  Listening to the score, if I didn’t know it was for Pixels I would assume that it was the score to a super hero or adventure film.

The choice to score the film this way is explained in the quote from Henry Jackman:

“Since we already have the iconic characters and sound effects, we discovered early on that 8-bit music made the whole thing pretty silly,” said Jackman. “[Director ChrisColumbus wanted to utilize an orchestral symphony to celebrate the era of film making like E.T.Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars.”

Composer, Henry Jackman

The Hollywood Reporter has three exclusive tracks that you can sample from the album on their site “Centipede”, “Gobble or Be Gobbled” and “Roll Out the Barrels” – I had to read the last track name twice because at first glance I thought it was a Star Fox reference and read “Do A Barrel Roll!”.

My favorite piece was the last track on the album was the titled “Arcader’s 82 (Bonus Track)” which blends chip tunes with orchestral score for a nice melody.  Although I’m not sure when it features in the film, I was imagining it playing with the above pictured Arcaders walking in slow motion, which some intense nodding and pointing.

If you like action, and super hero themes you will enjoy the score to Pixels.  If you’re looking for symphonic representations of video game music, or a chip tune sound you’ll have to look elsewhere.

The album will be available from Varese Sarabande on July 24, 2014 for $17.98 and you can pre-order it here.


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