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Pacific Rim by Ramin Djawadi

Pacific Rim

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Pacific Rim (Soundtrack) by Ramin Djawadi
Pacific Rim (Soundtrack) by Ramin Djawadi











Pacific Rim (Soundtrack) by Ramin Djawadi

Pacific Rim
Composed by Ramin Djawadi
Water Tower Music (2013)

Rating: 7/10

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“'s true that score may not have garnered as much mainstream attention as some others, but the PACIFIC RIM score has at least one thing in abundance that others seem to lack almost entirely. RAMIND DJAWADI has given this score a very distinct personality. ”

Category 7 ... out of 10

Review by Christopher Coleman


Big robots. Big monsters. Neither have had much critical success on the big screen in recent years. Put the two together and you could just be doubling up the level of fail. But under the skillful direction of Guillermo Del Toro? Well, that’s a different story... a different movie.

Del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM has, for some, become the darling of the 2013 Summer film season. It’s a movie that turned out to be just what it was promised to be... and even what it was marketed to be. What a concept! While this would have been enough to put an untainted smile on my face, PACIFIC RIM even went a bit further. It actually features a personality of its own and delivers a character or two to care about, which sadly can’t be said for all that many of it’s contemporaries.

Composer RAMIN DJAWADI may best be known for his memorable theme for GAME OF THRONES, but caught ears (for better or worse) with his rock-and-rolly original score for IRON MAN back in 2008. I happen to think it was very much for “the better.” Djawadi’s score for PACIFIC RIM is, in part, the spiritual successor to IRON MAN. His title theme, featuring the distinctive guitar work of Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), is the only track you’ll need to hear to make the connection.  But you shouldn't stop there...go on and listen to more ... of both scores.

Like the sadly abandoned, original, Iron Man theme (no offense to Brian Tyler and his wonderful score for Iron Man 3), “Pacific Rim” (1) is driving and purposeful. The electric guitar chuggs along until, what for some is, the soundtrack-death-blow is delivered...the Inception-brass-blast (or the Horn of Doom). Fortunately, Djawadi does not leave it there. He finishes up his theme with a section of descending strings which recalls memories of, what still might be his best overall score, CLASH OF THE TITANS. We hear intriguing variations of this title theme throughout including: a “western” variant in “Cancelling the Apocalypse” (3), another big, brass performance in “Go Big or Go Extinct” (18), and even a royal performance on the French horn in “Deep Beneath the Pacific (23).

Thankfully, there are a number of other key thematic and textural ideas woven into the score. The central Jaeger ( the human-controlled, weaponized, robot) is the Gipsy Danger, and it is given it’s own heroic musical I.D. Here, Djawadi eludes to this technical wonder by adding electronic pulses and clicks to the heroic mix of string and brass (see track 2). The destructive and villanous, Kaiju (monstrous, alien, creatures sent from the ocean-floor to eradicate the human population) are represented by a strong, four-note, motif on brass and fortified by taiko hits and anvil strikes. You won't hear a better, more forceful, representation of this Kaiju theme than in "2500 Tons of Awesome" (5), which, while sadly short, is this releases best track.  Just as Del Toro pays homage to the great, Japanese, monsters films of decades past, Djawadi does with his Kaiju theme; going as far as to using the very same first, brass note as Akira Ifukube's unforgettable "Godzilla Main Theme."

Bringing some much needed emotional balance is the theme for “Mako,” (7) which is formed by soft electronics and a wordless vocalist, Priscilla Ahn. Newton Geizler is given a funky baseline, guitar chugs, and a drum machine beat in “Call Me Newt” (8), while “Hannibal Chau” (19) is denoted by erhu, koto, twangy guitar and equally contemporary rhythms.  There certainly more to this score than mere over-the-top, brass explosions, guitar wails, and electronic disturbances; however, Djawadi succeeds with some of these representations more than others.

It's true that PACIFIC RIM may have paled in comparison to a number of other Summer-films in the USA regarding box-office totals, but it has done quite well overseas, where different tastes have found something to appreciate.  Similarly, it's true that score may not have garnered as much mainstream attention as some other Summer scores, but the PACIFIC RIM score has at least one thing in abundance that others seem to lack almost entirely. RAMIND DJAWADI has given this score a very distinct personality. Both the heroes and villains are clearly, musically defined and whenever the two clash, the score reaches its peak. Additionally, most of the main characters receive some sort of musical representation, helping the score from simply falling into the “long, dull, dronings” of far too many “sci-fi,” action films these days. No doubt, PACIFIC RIM is not for everyone. It’s not Djawadi’s best and may not be one that a person keeps on repeat, yet there is little denying its effectiveness within the film.  Still if one has the palette and patience for it, listening even closer to the score might just unearth some category-5-level-appreciation.

Rating: 7/10


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Pacific Rim 4:53  ***
2 Gipsy Danger 3:18  ***
3 Canceling the Apocalypse 3:37  ***
4 Just a Memory 2:07  ***
5 2500 Tons of Awesome 1:05  ****
6 The Shatterdome 2:30  ***
7 Mako 4:23  ***
8 Call Me Newt 1:42  **
9 Jaeger Tech 1:58  ***
10 To Fight Monsters, We Created Monsters 2:03  ***
11 Better Than New 1:42  ***
12 We are the Resistance 1:49  ***
13 Double Event 2:27  **
14 Striker Eureka 1:55  **
15 Physical Compatibility 2:31  ***
16 Category 5 2:15  ***
17 Pentecost 2:11  ***
18 Go Big or Go Extinct 2:24  ***
19 Hannibal Chau 1:33  **
20 For My Family 1:57  ***
21 No Pulse 0:58  ***
22 Kaiju Groupie 1:15  **
23 Deep Beneath the Pacific 1:56  ***
24 The Breach 3:14  ***
25 We Need a New Weapon 1:40  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 57 minutes  


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