It’s now been three or more weeks since I began playing halo 4 and to say that it has surpassed my very high expectations for this title would be an understatement. Even the soundtrack has been such a wonderful surprise that I’ve been listening to it almost nonstop. I already profiled one of my favorite tracks from Neil Davidge’s work on the score with the song Green and Blue and now I pick another track from the soundtrack for the next “Song of the Day”.
This one wasn’t composed by Neil Davidge but from another composer brought in to create the final end credits song. The game could easily have settled for using music that played during the game to score the lengthy end credits, but everyone involved went for broke and decided really remind gamers that what they’ve just gone through was epic both in gaming terms but also in cinematic. It’s hard not to listen to Kazuma Jinnouchi’s contribution to this title’s score, simply titled “117″, and not imagine some sci-fi blockbuster film rolling up it’s credits with this type of song being played alongside.
From just listening to “117″ one could hear some early James Horner influences in Jinnouchi’s composition in the track’s beginning and middle before it transitions in it’s last third to something that resembles one of Basil Poledouris’ epic martial scores. For fans of Martin O’Donnell’s own work in the previous Halo titles this song reaches a crescendo around 6:05 mark with a very familar musical cue. For those who complained that the Halo 4 soundtrack abandoned the iconic sound of the Bungie Studio produced Halo soundtracks should listen to this song around that mark much more closely.
While Neil Davidge deserves all the praise he has been getting for his work on the soundtrack for Halo some of it should also be heaped Jinnouchi-san’s way for the very epic (yes it bears repeating that word) musical composition he created to end the Halo 4 title and leave fans wanting the sequels to arrive now rather than later.
“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.” — Terence Mann
I have always been a fan of baseball. I would say that baseball has been the one thing which has always remained constant for me throughout the years. Other sports may be flashier, faster and more violent, but baseball I’ve always equated as part of America’s national identity. This is why 1989′s Field Of Dreams by Phil Alden Robinson continues to resonate for me and for legions of baseball fans everywhere.
The film is based off of the W.P. Kinsella’s novel, Shoeless Joe, and tells the story of one Ray Kinsella and his titular field of dreams. It’s a film which sees Ray not just building a baseball field in his field of corn despite financial problems bringing him and his family closer to losing everything, but it also sees him traveling across the country to find a reclusive writer in Terence Mann (J.D. Salinger in the novel). It’s afilm which offers an insight to what makes baseball and the American identity so intertwined as the film finally offers Ray a chance to finally realize that the very baseball field he has built in his cornfield has granted many a second chance to realize their dream. For this film that dream is to be able to play baseball once more and this second chance becomes important to the ghosts of baseball’s past who have fallen from baseball’s grace through a scandal which had them banned from the game they love.
I’ve never been a big Kevin Costner fan, but his work in this film as Ray Kinsella showed me why people saw in him talent as an actor and not just a pretty face up on the screen. His real-life love for baseball shows in his performance as Ray whose own love for baseball becomes a personal journey for redemption and reunion with a father who also shared his love for the sport. The performances by Amy Madigan as Ray’s supportive wife was quite good and allowed the character not to be eclipsed by Costner’s excellent work as Ray. Even James Earl Jones as the writer Terence Mann gives the film a level of gravitas which just added to the film’s intimate yet epic nature. But it’s the breakout performance by Ray Liotta as the ghost of baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson. Liotta’s screentime was limited to mostly in the latter part of the film, but his presence dominated every moment he was on the screen.
Field of Dreams has been called just a good baseball film by some, but for many people who have seen and loved it see it as more than just a film about baseball. It’s a film that shows Americana at it’s best and most nostalgic. Shows how one sport has become such a positive influence on the relationship between children and their fathers. It’s a film that dares to show genuine affection and love to the idea of letting someone follow their dream despite many outside influences and obstacles trying to get in their way. There’s a reason the film was nominated for an Oscar Best Picture. Even voters who are so used to rewarding films that look at the darker and more depressing side of the human condition could see the inherent quality in a film which looks at the brighter and more hopeful side of the equation.