‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’: New Details on the Score in the Film

By Laird Malamed from The IndyCast: (original forum post)

In terms of the music in the film and without giving spoilers (other than locations but all of which are in the trailer): First off, it’s generally audible most of the time it plays. There is a lot of it as Mangold has told us, and still there are some action sequences where no music was used (not dissimilar to Star Wars when the music drops out). I do suspect those moments had music scored for them and the absence now was editorial. (I’m already pining for unreleased music!). The first 20% of the which takes place in the 40s is pretty much all scored and many old themes and motifs from the franchise can be heard winding their way through the action. I’m not entirely sure when we get to hear this separately (if we do) that it will feel very coherent though as I got a sense of jumping around a bit. It works in the movie though, and I wonder about it as a listening experience without the film.

As I hoped and guessed on our recent podcast, the sound and music of the era made appearances at times including one key early moment as the movie transitioned to 1969. That is not at all a decision by JW – it was clearly in the script as the music diegetic – but in terms of the overall score of the picture it worked. Generally after that the score charted to some new areas and themes. Helena’s music is very differently used than say Marion’s theme and different pieces of it the suite we have heard since last summer show up in the right spots with varying orchestrations, tempos and blends with other themes. I liked that. This felt similar to how the Solo suite was used as a basis for numerous moments in that film. Of course the difference being JW’s own use of his themes vs. Powell’s (which was still quite good).

There are plenty of action sequences and one in particular was scored in a manner that JW would have done in the late ’60s or early ’70s. I felt vibes of Lalo Schifrin and some amount of homage to The French Connection and similar films set in NY in that era. I found that refreshing although perhaps a bit of an oddity compared to to the rest of the score.

Definitely heard shades of Tintin when the film was in North Africa which was either how JW scores all those locales or was his own homage to his past work. I suspect the former. It was not a straight lift or anything blatant and worked with the action.

Probably missing for me was a clear statement of themes for the Dial itself (although I think it is there) or Voller, the main bad guy.

A few times, clearly Mangold just let the music dominate as much as the visuals would allow. Not to the level of Spielberg (e.g. the Truck Chase, Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra, the jungle chase stuff in Skull), but not as infrequent as in the recent Star Wars films.

Overall, highly satisfied and looking forward to whatever we get on the soundtrack (which is going to woefully inadequate unless there is a surprised deluxe digital version) and looking forward to deciding where this sits amongst the other 4 films.