Transformers: The Last Knight – Steve Jablonsky

Transformers The Last Knight Steve JablonksyThe Transformers movies been around for quite some time now, and I have seen them all in cinema. The movies, all directed by Michael Bay, are quite special to watch, but after the first couple of films had been pretty entertaining, it went downhill for me: While the visuals are of very high quality, the story is shambolic (many loose ends), the characters are not interesting at all and often it’s difficult to keep track of what is actually going on. Therefore, I am very happy that Transformers: The Last Knight will be Bay’s last Transformers movie. Like Michael Bay, composer Steve Jablonsky has been involved in the series from the start and has composed the music for all the movies including this last one.

I have not listened to all the scores in detail, but what I do recall is that they all sounded similar to the first one. This made me quite curious, if this last soundtrack would sound the same as well. When I started to listen to the first track, called “Sacrifice”, I was quite blown away by the simplicity and emotion emitting from the track with piano, violin and choir building towards a solid and gorgeous ending. It is nothing like the usual Transformers sound at all. The story has ties to the Middle Ages and a number of tracks on the score reflect that. The score has many beautiful and emotional tracks, that all start subtle, then transition into a grander middle part and finally fade back into the subtlety of the beginning.  “Merlin’s Staff” follows this pattern with a marvelous cello solo with a choir singing softly in the background until the orchestra takes over until the music fades back and only the cello solo is left. “Stay and Fight” has another beautiful cello solo with a synthesizer weaving sound under it. “Izzy” evokes the emotion with a subtle piano part that transitions into strings and weird guitar sounds. “Purity of Heart” uses a 3-note pattern with long string lines underneath  as start and ending.

The soundtrack is two hours and nine minutes long, so there is a lot of music to analyze. The best track by far on this score is “Seglass Ni Tonday” – it is filled with emotion and has some gorgeous violin play in it, and to top that, it has a spectacular end. “Calling All Autobots” has a hint of the first score from 2007 in it, combined with a newly introduced theme.  “Megatron Negotiation” is some weird compilation of rock and guitar segments. As with the corresponding scene in the movie, it is totally out of place and unnecessary. “Cogman Sings” has a great buildup to full orchestra and even includes a pipe organ, until it suddenly comes to an abrupt stop. It starts for another build up including a soprano this time until it comes to a further full stop. This track on the album correspond to the movie scene all too closely – with all the interruptions and full stops, which significantly hampers the listening experience. The rest of the score feels rather uninspired: just soulless music with some percussion, some synthesizers and strings. The music is great to support all the endless action sequences and explosions on the screen, but to listen to it without the images is not interesting at all. “Prime Versus Bumblebee” is a good example of that. Both are epic warriors with their own theme written for them in the first movie. Their fight in the fifth installment is underwhelming and so is the music for that scene.

This score is a mixed bag. It has some great melodies, but also contains a lot of mindless filler music for all the action scenes. What I can say for certain is that the score is at least better than the movie. Since it is the last film directed by Michael Bay, I have no clue whether Steve Jablonsky will stick with the franchise. I think that there is still potential  for him to bundle up the accumulated good ideas into one great Transformers score. Therefore, I would not mind if the new director gave him the  touch and the power to write a final score for the upcoming Transformers movie.

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Tracklist

The highlights are in bold.

  1. Sacrifice
  2. The Coming Of Cybertron
  3. Merlin’s Staff
  4. No-Go Zone
  5. Stay And Fight
  6. Code Red
  7. Izzy
  8. Purity Of Heart
  9. Megatron Negotiation
  10. Today We Hunt
  11. Running Out Of Tomorrows
  12. Drone Chase
  13. You Have Been Chosen
  14. Seglass Ni Tonday
  15. Quintessa
  16. Vivian
  17. Abduction
  18. History Of Transformers
  19. Cogman Sings
  20. Vivian Follows Merlin
  21. The Greatest Mission Of All
  22. Dive
  23. Two Moons
  24. Merlin’s Tomb
  25. Claim The Staff
  26. Prime Versus Bee
  27. Your Voice
  28. I Had My Moment
  29. Ospreys
  30. Battlefield
  31. Did You Forget Who I Am
  32. We Have To Go
  33. Calling All Autobots
  34. Sir Edmund Burton

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