Friday, December 5, 2014

Rush (2013)

Music is one factor that draws me to keep watching a movie on cable tv; particularly a movie that I've never watched before. In this case, it was the sense of urgency evoked by the score of Rush (directed by Ron Howard) that got me hooked. No; the music was not like the typical soundtrack associated with race car movies. Definitely very distinct from the themes of Gran Turismo (the video game) or of The Fast and The Furious movie series. And it was surely different from the music I've listened to when I wandered accidentally into a car show in UPLB. However, the feel and the visuals of the movie showed what it's like to be amid the frenzy of a race track.

Anyway, the story is about two rival race car drivers vying for the championship in the 1976 Formula One Grand Prix, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Their attitudes towards racing contrasted the other; Lauda was calculating the risk of each of the races he participated in while Hunt raced as if that day was the last. Their rivalry began when they were still racing Formula Threes and reached a peak when Lauda, the current champion, got seriously injured in an F1 race car fire at the German Grand Prix. That accident sidelined him for six weeks as doctors treated him for burns on his face and in his lungs. Hunt, who was running behind Lauda, used the latter's downtime to gain points he needed to finish on top of the Grand Prix. At the end, Lauda retired at the Japanese Grand Prix and Hunt won that year's championship, making them equals. Their lives took different paths after that: Lauda became an aviation entrepreneur and an F1 champion once again; Hunt went into sports broadcasting and died soon after.

I may be weird, but I couldn't help but compare Rush to Cars and to Top Gun. In all three movies, there was bitter rivalry between the leads. The difference to Cars is that there was no love lost between Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks. In Top Gun, on the other hand, Ice and Maverick earned each other's mutual respect at the very end (when they had to fight off Migs somewhere over the ocean). In Rush, Lauda revealed that Hunt was one of the few people he respected. In fact, the movie even suggested that Lauda and Hunt inspired each other to be on top of their games, or in Lauda's case, to get back into the race car after that death-defying accident.

So back to the music...

Listening in, I felt at home with the theme; as if I've heard the style before. It was, mind you, never overpowering or in your face. The score fit in so naturally in different scenes. Lo and behold! as the credits rolled, I learned that Hans Zimmer composed the orchestral music. No wonder I liked the orchestral piece. Come to think of it, some of my favourite movies have his name on it! The Lion King, Broken Arrow, Inception, The Rock, The Prince of Egypt, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Frost/Nixon, the Nolan Batman trilogy... You name it and he's probably the composer behind the superb musical score. ^_^

Well, I had thought I knew Hans Zimmer's musical style... Until I listened to his work in Interstellar. That man has a lot of diversity in terms of musical direction. What a genius!