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WTF was Alan Silvestri smoking

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Matthias Calis, Dec 2, 2021.

  1. So, I just finished watching Flight of the Navigator. Corny bits aside it has real heart and I enjoyed watching it.

    Whilst I wasn't put off by the music for most of the film, one scene jumped out at me in a pretty big way.

    So, without spoiling the story, in this scene the protagonist is escaping from his room in a secured government facility. In typical 80s fashion the plot centers around a spaceship captured by the government and the kid has something to do with it. At this point in the story he's been separated from his parents and wants to go home, hence his attempt to escape.

    Now, everything in this scene suggests to me that's kind of a tense scene (in fact you might want to watch first without the score Alan Silvestri did to see if you agree). Yet the score... oh boy, it's something else. It cracked me up to be honest, because it's so 80s and, well, it seems completely inappropriate to the scene to me. It's like Alan Silvestri got a new sample library synth and just wanted an excuse to go ham with it.

    Seriously, wtf was he smoking when he wrote this?

    Clip belowed is timestamped to the point where I felt the music went completely off the rails, but you can ofc rewind to the start and see it more in context.

    For the record, I like most of Alan Silvestri's music and the rest of the picture was fine. But this scene made me choke on my drink. I'm tempted to do a rescore.
  2. Maybe it's because I grew up with the movie, but I love this song. Thanks for the nostalgia. The song in the opening scene is pretty rad too.
    Aaron Olson and Matthias Calis like this.
  3. Not directly related but you'll probably enjoy this
    Matthias Calis likes this.
  4. I don't disagree, it's very groovy. It just felt so out place to me in that scene because it's so happy and upbeat and makes the shots look like a music video. I suppose you could do a juxtaposition like that and make it work if the audience knows something bad is about to happen and you play happy music. In this instance I'd argue the audience is mainly wondering if he'll manage to escape. That idea could've been reinforced musically or, heck, they could have played no music at all, either of which would have been more suspenseful. What gets me is that the visuals and sound design are very clearly trying to make this a tense scene, but the music goes totally against it. It pulled me out of the movie.

    Cool, thanks!
  5. That's what the producers and director wanted. I can think of tons of justifications/rationalizations for the decision, but I promise you, there are very few times the composer has supreme authority over what's in a scene. I honestly don't think I've ever seen more than a few minutes of this film, because it seemed cringe to me even then, but boy, if there's one thing that defines the 80's it's positivity. So many upbeat songs were actually about depressing things, but like it was no big deal.
    Matthias Calis likes this.
  6. It sounds like it should be from a scene in a film where we see a montage of the protagonist on the up and up, buying a Porsche and counting money in a casino or something.
    Matthias Calis likes this.
  7. Could be. I don't know whose call it was, just that I find it pretty baffling one. The way I see it, everything in the scene is suggesting tension but the music is completely going against it. Just going by the visuals alone: there's guards, there's a dog that seems to notice him but gets reined in, he passes another guard and the reaction shots of the kid show he's relieved he's making it through.

    I watched Film School 101, still one of the most insightful classes, and if I watch this clip with the audio turned off I can go shot-by-shot and see that it's a constant ebb-and-flow between the tension rising (there's a guard and we the audience know he's hiding) and relief (the guards don't notice him). To me, the visuals by themselves are effective drama but the music blows it.

    Imagine putting this exact bit of music under the opening of E.T. That's how out of place it feels to me.
  8. Knee-jerk decisions made by executives in a bubble are so common as to be fundamental in film production. I once was at an early screening of You've Got Mail, and at the end of the movie, a particularly dim executive asked, "Wait... they were talking to each other the whole time?" The entire film was recut.

    Maybe somebody felt the film wasn't fun enough. Or not energetic enough. Who knows. It does not seem to fit the drama, on its face, for sure.
  9. That vibe reminds me...

    Jay Polk and Matthias Calis like this.
  10. Absolute classic scene. Great score by Harold Faltermayer.

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