Writer’s Music: David Arnold

markmurphyI admit, there’s a bit of danger using a franchise’s music. One can’t hear John Williams’ theme for Superman and NOT think of Superman, for instance. One can’t hear the James Bond theme and NOT think of gun barrels, bikinis, and baccarat. Also, car chases, volcano lairs, world domination, death rays, etc.

Yet here I am, sharing some James Bond chase music.

If you grew up on James Bond, as husband Bo and I have, then perhaps you too lament the absence of the James Bond theme in the Daniel Craig films. This isn’t to say David Arnold is a lousy composer–nooooo. No no. The man’s music for BBC’s Sherlock helped propel that series into the cosmos, and his skill with a fantasy epic couldn’t be clearer with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Arnold has, without a doubt, made a mark on the music of the Bond universe.

Take “Time to Get Out,” which comes from the opening minutes of Quantum of Solace, the first of twenty-some Bond films to pick up immediately where its preceding film (in this case, Casino Royale) left off: Bond capturing a bad guy. Quantum opens with Bond trying to escape other baddies with his capture in tow. Commence chase!

Yes, car chases are typical of the Bond films. No, you don’t have to have a car chase to utilize this music for your own story. All stories must have action of some sort, however, and for many genres, this action can be found in pursuit. Granted, this music is not for the low-key, suspenseful hunt; the brass and percussion demand a public, in-your-face rundown through the streets. The rhythms build, and build, and build until the final half minute, where the hunt ends in the protagonist’s favor. One knows because Arnold adds just a dash of Bond in the end. I doubt your characters would mind such a connection in their victory over the enemy. Mine sure don’t.

Click here for more on QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

18 thoughts on “Writer’s Music: David Arnold

  1. I grew up with Bond films in the 70’s and 80’s, so the original theme is embedded in my brain. I’m a Daniel Craig fan (I particularly loved his performance in “The Golden Compass” – I know people either love or hate that film, but that’s another topic….) so you may not believe me when I tell you that
    I haven’t seen him in the Bond films, which is ridiculous.

    I’m going to have to change that. I just listened to the sound clip and yes, the music is good. It sounds perfect for the tension-filled opening scene I’d expect in a James Bond film.

    As the daughter of a violinist who played on many of his composer friend Jerry Goldsmith’s award-winning film soundtracks (“Poltergeist”, “Along Came a Spider”, “Air Force One”, “The Turning Point” are just a few) I found David’s composition interesting!

    Thanks for writing such an intriguing, eloquent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is such an AWESOME connection to Jerry Goldsmith! Love it. As for “The Golden Compass”: the casting fit the story, Craig included. The adaptation of that story from the book is, as you say, another matter entirely. 🙂 If you are to see the Craig films–and despite my husband Bo’s complaints, they ARE decent films–be sure to watch them in order. The Craig films are the first to follow a linear plot line; any other Bond film can be watched at random without feeling lost. Thank you so much for listening–I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will do as you wisely suggest; I also adore Judi Dench so how can I go wrong??? And I totally agree with you about the Golden Compass casting. Long ago I thought I could be a casting director, so that whole area fascinates me. I thought Nicole Kidman was spectacular, as was the newcomer who played Lyra. I know diehard Pullman fans were upset – I get that. And the movie does have lots of flaws, but it’s very cool. The music is great too! :))))))) I’ll let you know what I think of my boyfriend Daniel Craig in the Bond films. (Just kidding. I’m so obnoxious. At least I freely admit it!)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, this one had its moments, but it’s overall a weak movie because unlike aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the other Bond movies, this one’s a direct sequel. Bond movies had always stood on their own before that. They may have occasional references to other films, but over all they’re individual stories. The Daniel Craig Bond films are the only films to push a narrative arc from one film into the next.

      Liked by 1 person

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