Examining the Musical Score of the Film Pitch Black Essay

Examining the Musical Score of the Film Pitch Black Essay

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A film concerning a futuristic universe, Pitch Black, directed by David Twohy, was scored using an arsenal of techniques that imbued a futurist connotation. The composer Graeme Revell used a wide variety of electronic tactics that screamed modern use of MIDI, as in the use of electronic drums and percussions. Much of the underscoring is as dissonant and eerie as the film itself. The only score that might have fit Pitch Black better would have been no score at all, for Revell seems to conjure silence through low, menacing sounds. Although the task seems as a paradox, Graeme succeeded in using the score to serve the five functions of music very well. The only aspect that seemed to be both a weakness and strength at the same time was the electronic sounds used. Often, it is hard to distinguish between sound effect and instrument; while this can be frustrating to a listening ear, the idea is also a strength, since the feeling of restlessness conveyed keeps a feeling of tension and anticipation.

The score begins with a black picture (0:00:22--0:08:23), a haunting tone with basic and electrical undertones vibrating beneath everything. As the ship appears, a horn proclaims its existence, with a few odd percussions seeming to echo out into space. Each new musical idea is emphasized by a new flash of a title card, rising up with the display of a simple logo--Pitch Black. This transition into the film suggests an eerie and menacing feeling. It conveys a sense of the deepness of space, and just how alone the crew is going to be. The underscoring has a hollow screeching edge, as Riddick's voice whispers in the hull. The score suggests danger, giving Riddick a feel of aloofness. The sound effects then begin to merge ...

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...t to the rest of the score jars one to attention with what is happening in the scene. The simplicity of the music allows notice to be drawn to the serenity of the glowing worms. In a world that seems complex and full of fear, the score helps suggest simplicity and hope.

The end of the film also is free of electronic music. (1:39:31--1:41:10 Revell creates a sense of victory, accomplishment, as symphonic music suggests a freedom from the planet. Some electronic score does return as we get a flash of the aliens and the planet, since the two are now tied in a leitmotive situational sense. Just as the movie started with Riddick's voice, his voice cuts the score into silence on the phrase with good night, signaling a definite end to the film. As deep space takes them, the Pitch Black theme song returns to carry everything away. (1:41:30--credits).

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