Top 10 Scores Turning 20 in 2016

Back to our musical score time machine!  It's hard to believe that 20 years ago was 1996.  Here's a look back at 1996 with my list of the 10 Best Scores Turning 20!

Let's start the ranking!

10. Mars Attacks (Danny Elfman)

After a film apart, Elfman and Burton return with the campy/wacky sound of the 50s.  Interesting percussion, electronics, choir and Theremin help sell the over the top comedy style.     

9. Twister (Mark Mancina)
Mancina brought a strong Western flavor with a mix of electronic guitars to this disaster flick.  The choir moments are particularly memorable and the movie benefits from a thoughtful score rather than noise.  
8. Mission: Impossible (Danny Elfman)
After the departure of Silvestri, Elfman was tasked for an operatic orchestral score with the jazz influences of Lalo Schifrin's original theme.  Elfman features some nice flute, percussion, and bass work while focusing on a new action theme and love theme.  

7. Emma (Rachel Portman)
This score is pure Portman, a sweet and romantic score to match the source material.  Her melodies, warm string sound with woodwind solos have been duplicated - and sometimes by Portman.  With this score, Portman became the first film composer to win an Oscar.    

6. The Rock (Nick Glennie-Smith/Hans Zimmer)
This score is a slice of the mid-90s.  The score features music by Zimmer in the same vein as Crimson Tide, and most material by Glennie-Smith and Harry Gregson-Williams.  It's cheesy, action fun.       

5. The Ghost and the Darkness (Jerry Goldsmith)
The score for this has something of every style - a sweeping epic, frightening lion motifs and a strong choral African elements and a stirring main theme.    

4. DragonHeart (Randy Edelman)
Okay, I like sweeping romantic epics.  This certainly fits the bill within a few seconds of the main titles.  His mix of electronics and orchestra add to the strong thematic work. You've probably heard the main title after being used in many movie trailers. 

3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Alan Menken)
While Menken is known for his songs and use of songs incorporated in the score, this one feels like a separate score. The serious tone is represented by powerful choral chants and tolling bells.    

2. Star Trek: First Contact (Jerry Goldsmith)
After a few films off, Goldsmith returned to the franchise with this strong entry.  His main title theme and Klingon motif make reprises.  His son Joel (of later Stargate fame), added a few cues based on other material.  The most memorable part of the score is the new pastoral theme representing the first contact.    

1. Independence Day (David Arnold)
In a perfect example of a score elevating a film, Arnold adds an orchestra boldness in its militaristic and patriotic approach.  The main fanfare is fantastic, orchestration really lets the orchestra shine and he even brings the warmth for the more human side of the story.  A solid score from start to finish.      

Honorable Mentions:
Muppet Treasure Island (Hans Zimmer), Fargo (Carter Burwell), The Phantom (David Newman), The English Patient (Gabriel Yared) , Michael Collins (Elliot Goldenthal)

Any favorites of yours from 1996 that I didn't include?  Comment below!

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  1. The Cable Guy (John Ottman)
    Down Periscope (Randy Edelman)
    The First Wives Club (Marc Shaiman)
    Lawnmower Man 2 (Robert Folk)
    Matilda (David Newman)
    Mr. Wrong (Craig Safan)
    Set it Off (Christopher Young)
    Thinner (Daniel Licht)