Music within Science Fiction films

Toby Frost

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cantina-band.jpg


A lot of science fiction films include futuristic music, usually in bars, clubs and the like. I'm thinking of background music that the characters can hear, not the film soundtrack. Star Wars has the Mos Eisley cantina music, which sounds rather like old-fashioned jazz to me, the vaguely trip-hop "Chicken in the Pot" song from Solo and the band from Jabba's palace, who I think sounded rather like lounge music if I remember rightly.

In the prom scene in Starship Troopers, a band is covering David Bowie's "I Have Not Been to London Town" in a light rock style. It's acceptable.

In Robocop, Robocop apprehends a suspect in a nightclub that's playing the industrial band The Ministry, which is at least appropriate to the setting.

The bar in Outland plays some primitive techno, which works much better in the film than out of it.

Blade Runner acquits itself very well: the random bar music sounds quite like 90s trip-hop with Arabic influences. I think the earlier version incorporated a brief bit of Brian Eno music, too.

I've always wondered if the song Ripley quotes in Alien ("You are my lucky star") really exists. There must be others.


And here is what I think is a deleted scene from Dune: Gurney Halleck jamming on the baliset at what seems like the end of a very long party at Atreides HQ, which Thufir Hawat looks unimpressed by all the young people's music.
 

Rodders

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Always a difficult thing to get right, I remember watching an episode of Buck Rogers where they were in some sort of club and the music was hilarious, (and awful). I think the original series of BSG had a similar sort of music thing going on in a casino. All bad synthesiser music.

It's best to be contemporary, I think.
 

Brian G Turner

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IMO what can be really clever about using music within a film is it presents a sense of culture that we can readily relate to. The Cantina Band achieved this really well in the original Star Wars film, but I don't think later attempts worked so well in the series - especially the George Lucas cut of Return of the Jedi where, in Jabba's den, Sny Snootles is accompanied on stage by some kind of singing rat muppet with a giant CGI mouth.

I don't think it worked so well in Buck Rogers, either! :D

 

AlexH

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I think there's a band that appears in one (or more) of the Futurama films?

That's all I have to contribute, apart from adding that I like how that Star Wars band keeps repeating the same bit. :D
 

Rodders

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Didn’t Spock sing in one of the Star Trek: TOS episodes?
 

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Rollerball, during the party, mid-70's so kind of funky;




Tron (2010) Bar Scene;



K2
 

farntfar

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Didn’t Spock sing in one of the Star Trek: TOS episodes?
He certainly did, while playing a sort of Vulcan lute. (I think Nurse Chapel went all starry eyed.)

And while we're on that subject, Picard played a flute from the ancient society that took over his mind to "remember" a bit of their history, (Virtually all the guy's life playing the same tune on it), and of course Data played the violin in several episodes.
Oh and the EMH sang in Voyager.
I can't find any clips though.
 

Dave

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The problem is that music dates the film/TV show so quickly. When Buck Rogers asks for "Rock," if he had only asked for Chuck Berry rather than Jazz Funk Disco then it wouldn't now seem so odd. Ironically, I was going to say that Rollerball was a good example, because in his apartment his music of choice is The Rolling Stones, and good music never ages. We still play Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Beethoven today. They are frequently on adverts without appearing old-fashioned at all.
 

farntfar

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I Robot


Apologies to most of you that this clip is dubbed in French.
 

Dan Jones

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The "You Are My Lucky Star" song from Alien certainly does exist, Brian, because 20th century Fox had to pay MGM royalties for using it in the film!
 

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Tank Girl: Ripper's Sole


Tank Girl: Army of Me (Liquid Silver Brothel/bar scene)


And naturally, Tank Girl: Let's do it


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Dave

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There are also whole musicals, of course - The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Little Shop of Horrors, Return to the Forbidden Planet. I found a Wiki list - Category:Science fiction musicals - Wikipedia

Many more than I had imagined. I had completely forgotten Starlight Express (which I saw before it closed in London) but 99% of them are a little camp and certainly fall into the same school as that Buck Rogers excerpt.

I still think that War of the Worlds is excellent, so I wonder why there have never been other, more serious, adaptations to musical like that.
 

Rodders

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I don't count Picard's flute playing in The Inner Light, as it was an integral part of the story.

Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds is incredible and for me, was a much listened to album in the 80's. I believe that Rick Wakeman did a musical version of Journey to the Centre of the Earth but i haven't heard it.

I have a CD at home somewhere by Mark Cerrone called the Collector which told was a sci fi store. It's pretty camp ow, but some of the music is actually pretty good.
 

Al Jackson

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The electronic sound track by Bebe and Louis Barron for Forbidden Planet (1956) is still unique. The attack of the ID Monster on the Krell Lab is the best piece.

krelllab.jpg




 
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Regarding Forbidden Planet as it directly relates to this thread, here is the Krell Music track


K2
 

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