Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paramount Logo

Previously, I've looked at the fun changing logos of 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros and Disney.  It's now time for Paramount.  The other companies seem to have changed their logo drastically for individual films, but Paramount has done a few fun ones and some other small changes in their 100 year history as a major studio. 

Paramount, which was founded in 1912, still uses the logo it originated in 1914.  Nicknamed the Majestic Mountain, it has featured a mountain with originally 24 stars circling it.  The stars represented each of the 24 original contract players.  One of the most interesting features of the logo is that it really doesn't have a fanfare.  Often times, the logo would appear as the film's score would begin.  Yes, there were years of the Paramount on Parade fanfare, but certainly nothing on the level of Fox or even Universal. 

So here is my showcase of interesting Paramount logos over the years.  Enjoy.

This first logo, from Follow Thru (1930)

Sunset Boulevard (1950) opens with the Paramount Logo over the sidewalk.

The Ten Commandments (1956) features a different colored sky and mountain, with
Cecil B. De Mille in an extra large font underneath.

One of the major changes to the official logo was the "Blue Mountain" edition, which ran from 1975-1986.  It also includes the Gulf+Western byline.  During the 70s', Jerry Goldsmith composed a fanfare for Paramount Television. 

Possibly the most famous variation to the logo came from the Indiana Jones films.  Using the 1950's version of A Paramount Picture logo, each logo faded into a similar shot in the films.  Each is different, but here's the first - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 

In 1986, a newer CGI mountain and stars was introduced.  This one continued until 2002.  In 1987, as the company celebrated their 75th anniversary, their logo was changed. 

For South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999), the Paramount logo fades into the animated mountains of South Park. 

For Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), the logos are shown underwater.

As also included the Warner Bros list, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) has buttons form the logo.

For The Last Airbender (2010), the stars resemble the "bending water" as they curve around the logo. Click here to watch.

2012 marked the 100th anniversary of Paramount, and the new 100 Anniversary logo was first premiered with Mission:Impossible - Ghost Protocol.  The new fanfare was composed by Michael Giacchino. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Walt Disney Pictures Logo

Home on the Range (2004)
Following in the footsteps of some of the major film studios: Universal, Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros., here is possibly the company that has the most logo variations: Walt Disney Pictures.

Their movies and logo changes have been extremely creative over the years and deserve a bit of recognition.

The most nostalgic and personal favorite for many is this Walt Disney Pictures logo (which ran from 1986-2006). 

As Disney continued to make live action films, the above logo was used or a plain font with the same name was used. 

In 1995, with the first collaboration with Pixar, the first logo was redone in CGI and fitted with the opening bars to Toy Story (1995).  This Pixar edition continued until 2007.

Through the 2000s, they started to get very creative with logos.  This is only a small sample of the tons of movies they did.

Inspector Gadget (1999) adds in a big mechanical wheel with lots of parts. 

Lilo and Stitch (2002) has the logo get abducted by aliens, fitting nicely with the film. 

Chicken Little (2005) features a slightly different CGI logo, to showcase the film's 3D release.

For Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), the logo was officially updated, which remains for new features or video releases.  This version, featuring music arranged by Dave Metzger and Mark Mancina.

The Santa Clause 3 (2006) added a bit of variety to the new logo by having it inside a snowglobe.

One of my personal favorite variations with the new logo would be Enchanted (2007). From the logo, we quickly zoom into the castle and start the film.

There are tons of other ones that have been really enjoyable, including the logo for Bedtime Stories (2008) being part of a pop-up book.
For the Jonas Brothers Concert Experience (2009), the logo is the same, but the music is played by an electric guitar.  Watch it here.
Another personal favorite is for Tron: Legacy (2010).  The logo is formed out of lights of the Grid. 

For Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), the flag atop the castle is the Jolly Roger, and mermaids flip in the water.

For The Muppets (2011) a new variation was introduced - instead of Walt Disney Pictures, the logo just says Disney.  We'll have to see if this is the new version to come...

For Frankenweenie (2012) the music changes to a bit of the Danny Elfman score, full of choir and organ. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Zimmer & Friends

The majority of film music of the past few decades has certainly been impacted by the creation of Remote Control Productions.  Originally named Media Ventures and started by Hans Zimmer and Jay Rifkin, the composers and arrangers now came from varied backgrounds of composition or performance.  They also come from all nationalities.  The assemblage of talented musicians hasn’t had the effect the RCP has since the days of the studio system.  They have recorded and mixed their scores at their Remote Control Productions studio in Santa Monica.  Recently they’ve added video games into their mix, and with just films they continue to churn out a massive amount of scores.

One of the most interesting things about these lists is that you see a person rise from assistant to additional composer to orchestrator to conductor to arranger to composer.  And that is what is best about this group.  Many of these composers get their own scores and eventually receive more credit (see Steve Jablonsky, Lorne Balfe, Heitor Pereira, Ramin Djawadi, Henry Jackman).  For many of those ‘solo scores’, Zimmer is a producer.

I have selected a highlight scores from Remote Control Productions, including those rising stars and repeating names.

SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009)*Oscar nominated score
Score: Hans Zimmer
Additional Music: Lorne Balfe
Conductor: Gavin Greenaway
Orchestrator: Alejandro de la Llosa, Bruce Fowler, Rick Giovinazzo, Kevin Kaska
Featured Soloist: Atli Örvarsson
Score Coordinator: Andrew Zack
Music Produced: Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe
Score Wrangler: Bob Badami

Score: Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard
Additional Music: Lorne Balfe
Conductor: Matt Dunkley, Bruce Fowler, Gavin Greenaway
Orchestrator: Jeff Atmajian, Brad Dechter, Elizabeth Finch, Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Kevin Kaska, Randy Kerber, Chris Lord, Yvonne S. Moriarty
Ambient Music Designer: Mel Wesson
Technical Score Engineer: Chris Bacon
Synthesizer Programmer: Henry Jackman, Hans Zimmer
Musicians include: Hans Zimmer, Heitor Pereira, James Newton Howard
Score Production Coordinator: Andrew Zack

Score: Hans Zimmer
Additional Music: Tom Gire, Lorne Balfe, Nick Glennie-Smith, Henry Jackman, John Sponsler, Geoff Zanelli, Atli Örvarsson
Conductor: Matt Dunkley, Nick Glennie-Smith, Blake Neely
Orchestrator: Steve Bartek, Elizabeth Finch, Bruce Fowler (supervising), Walt Fowler, Penka Kouneva, Ken Kugler, Yvonne S. Moriarty
Musicians include: Heitor Pereira, James S. Levine
Ambient Music Designer: Mel Wesson
Music Supervisor: Bob Badami

Score: Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard
Additional Music: Ramin Djawadi, Mel Wesson
Conductor: Gavin Greenaway
Orchestrator: Pete Anthony, Brad Dechter, Bruce Fowler
Music Programmer: Lorne Balfe

Score: Steve Jablonsky
Additional Music: Ramin Djawadi, Clay Duncan, Trevor Morris, Blake Neely
Arranger: Ryeland Allison, Ramin Djawadi, Clay Duncan
Conductor: Alastair King, Blake Neely
Orchestrator: Elizabeth Finch, Bruce Fowler, Rick Giovinazzo, Ladd McIntosh, Yvonne S. Moriarty
Music Programmer: Ryeland Allison, Ramin Djawadi, Clay Duncan
Music Designer: Mel Wesson
Score Producer: Steve Jablonsky, Hans Zimmer

Score: Klaus Badelt
Additional Music: Ramin Djawadi, Jim Dooley, Craig Eastman, Nick Glennie-Smith, Steve Jablonsky, James McKee Smith, Blake Neely, Trevor Morris, Geoff Zanelli
Conductor: Nick Ingman, Blake Neely, Rick Wentworth
Orchestrator: Robert Elhai, Elizabeth Finch, Bruce Fowler (supervisor), Bill Liston, Ladd McIntosh, Yvonne S. Moriarty, Conrad Pope, Brad Warnaar
Arranger/Designer: Mel Wesson
Technical Music Producer: Trevor Morris
Technical Score Assistant: Ian Honeyman
Music Supervisor: Bob Badami
Overproduced by Hans Zimmer

GLADIATOR (2000) *Oscar nominated score
Score: Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard
Additional Music: Klaus Badelt
Conductor: Gavin Greenaway
Orchestrator: Bruce Fowler, Ladd McIntosh, Yvonne S. Moriarty
Technical Score Advisor: Marc Streitenfeld
Musician: Heitor Pereira (guitar)

THE ROCK (1996)
Score: Hans Zimmer, Nick Glennie-Smith, Harry Gregson-Williams
Additional Music: Harry Gregson-Williams, Don Harper, Steven M. Stern
Supervising Music Editor: Bob Badami
Conductor: Bruce Fowler, Don Harper
Score Arranger: Hans Zimmer, Nick Glennie-Smith
Orchestrator: Dennis Dreith, Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Ladd McIntosh, Suzette Moriarty
Assistant to Composers: Marc Streitenfeld

THE LION KING (1994) *Oscar Winning Score
Score: Hans Zimmer
Additional Music: Alex Wurman
Conductor: Nick Glennie-Smith
Conductor (choral): Andrae Crouch, Nick Glennie-Smith, Lebo M., Mbongeni Mgema
Choral/Vocal Arranger: Andrae Crouch, Bruce Fowler, Nick Glennie-Smith, Bobbi Page, Mbongeni Mgema, Lebo M., Mark Mancina
Orchestrator: Bruce Fowler, Ladd McIntosh, Yvonne S. Moriarty
Original Score Arranger: Hans Zimmer
Music Mixer/Recordist: Jay Rifkin
Music Supervisor: Hans Zimmer

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weepy Donuts

One of the stranger titles to repeat on soundtracks would have to be Weepy Donuts.  It has occurred on a bunch of Danny Elfman soundtracks and is a strange in-joke with director Gus Van Sant.  And the fun part is that we don’t know what the in-joke is.  Here is the list of Weepy Donuts appearing: 
Weepy Donuts seems to have first appeared as a track name in To Die For (1996)

The next example comes from the next Van Sant/Elfman collaboration Good Will Hunting (1998).  One of two Elfman score tracks on the original soundtrack album, this Weepy Donuts is certainly the most popular on the list. 

For the 1998 Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho (which featured Bernard Herrmann’s original score adapted by Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek), the end credits featured a song called Weepy Donuts written and performed by Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz.

After a long break, Weepy Donuts made an appearance in the film Milk (2008).

Weepy Donuts also made an appearance in the cue list of Terminator Salvation (2008).

As before, Weepy Donuts appears in the Gus Van Sant film, Restless (2011).  

Surprise surprise!  Weepy Donuts appears in the new Gus Van Sant film, Promised Land (2012).  

Good news everyone!  Weepy Donuts appears in the next Van Sant film, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018).