Set in modern day New York, MORTAL INSTRUMENTS tells the story of a seemingly ever day teenager Clary Fray, played by British actress Lily Collins (THE BLIND SIDE, MIRROR MIRROR and PRIEST). After Clary discovers her Mother has been abducted by a demon she joins forces with a band of shadow hunters and finds out that she is descended from a line of these shadow hunters which are young half angels who are locked in a deadly battle against the forces of evil and are protecting the world from demons and other creatures of darkness. Clary’s newly found allies introduce her to a dangerous and very different world in the form of DOWNWORLD which is filled with, vampires, werewolves, demons, warlocks and their like. The movie is based on the best selling book series by Cassandra Clare. This is the first of what we hope will be many films from the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, in fact the second movie is already in pre-production.
MORTAL INSTRUMENTS-CITY OF BONES opens in cinemas soon and the soundtrack album is released on Milan records on August 20th, the musical score is by one of film music’s rising stars Atli Örvarsson who’s music has aided greatly films such as THE FOURTH KIND, BABYLON AD, VANTAGE POINT, SEASON OF THE WITCH and more recently HANZEL AND GRETEL-WITCH HUNTERS. Örvarsson,s score for MORTAL INSTRUMENTS is a driving and epic tour de force that was written for 90 piece orchestra and choir, it posses a lushness and power that can be likened to film scores from bygone days, but also has to it a sound that is pulsating, vibrant and contemporary. The composer utilizes to great effect a sweeping string section, which is supported by brass stabs and an equal amount of brass flourishes that relay dark and light, plus there are pounding and vibrant percussive elements, which further enhance the work and these are embellished by the use of a scattering of synthetics which push the compositions forward at break neck speed within certain areas of the score. The work however does have its more subtle and poignant side and includes plaintive solo piano that relays touches of melancholy and feelings of solitude at times, which the composer then builds upon and elevates these thematic properties to full blown crescendos that are stunning and breathtaking. Although this is most certainly an action led soundtrack, it also has within its perimeters a real richness of sound that oozes romanticism, and it is I think this underlying romantic and lushness that acts as a foundation to the remainder of the score.
The choral work on the score is also outstanding, at times I have to say it verges on the Elfman-esque in its sound but this is not a derogatory remark or observation, as the choir acquit themselves wonderfully and the inclusion of choir brings a whole other dimension to the work giving it even more emotion and depth plus adding to the mix an atmosphere that is grandiose and at the same time humbling and beguiling. The composer also at times utilizes a solo female voice which is highly effective and mesmerising. The compact disc opens, quietly in the first instance as we are ushered into CLARY’S THEME, as the composition progresses it alters in mood and atmosphere its six note motif theme changing from a mysterious and quite subtle sounding piece into a full and rich sounding cue that is performed by strings, choir and percussion with brass underlining the proceedings as it builds, it then melts away into a melodic piano solo, this itself is short lived but certainly makes an impression, the string section come back into play accompanied by choir and horns bringing the track to its conclusion in a glorious sounding crescendo. The softer side to the score is I think heard for the first time in track number 3, YOUR SECRET IS SAFE, solo piano underlined by strings are joined by a female solo voice, the subtle theme that they create is then taken on by strings and choir, it gains momentum and swells to an emotive and heartrending apex, the cue then falls back into solo piano that is touchingly beautiful and takes the cue to its conclusion. I am not going to do a track by track analysis as I feel this is a score that one should discover one’s self, all I do know is I enjoyed it immensely and have returned to it a number of times in the past three days, for me MORTAL INSTRUMENTS-CITY OF BONES is the best soundtrack released thus far this year, and I am also of the opinion it will take a lot to beat it.
Available on Milan records August 20th 2013.