I watched Transformers in theaters ten years ago. Among the things I enjoyed was the music. Steve Jablonsky’s Transformers scores have all had a certain style: electronic-heavy, percussion-driven, and fast-paced music with zero restraint. Jablonsky returns for his fifth score and it’s… different. There’s over two hours of music released, making this the most complete official release of any of the scores. The music itself is also… different.
What first hit me was the quiet restraint found in several tracks (“Izzy”, “Running Out of Tomorrows”, “Merlin’s Staff”, “Seglass Ni Tonday” and others). Unlike past scores these tracks have definitive themes, aren’t reliant on fast drum beats and provide a traditional sound from all the computerized noise. The melodies aren’t anything spectacular but for Transformers it’s a welcome change. You can actually believe they were performed by an orchestra.
“Quintessa” is another new addition to the established sound. Harsh horns and a deep electronic undercurrent remind me of Alien: Covenant‘s unsettling material. For a villain theme it’s welcome in its difference even when more usual instruments start taking over. This is paralleled in “History of Transformers” before it goes down generic lane.
Strangely, the main series themes are absent throughout over half the score. That is until “Two Moons” where an old Deception motif makes a sudden appearance. “Your Voice” briefly reintroduces another old motif before an Optimus Prime cue makes a welcome return. The theme from “Arrival to Earth” in the first film also comes back in “I Had My Moment”. The most satisfying reappearances are “Did You Forget Who I Am”, a reworked Optimus cue from the first film, and “Calling All Autobots”, the reworked Autobot theme from the first film.
That doesn’t mean standard action pieces are forgotten. “The Coming of Cybertron” and “Megatron Negotiation”, among others, assault the ears with unforgiving electronics and electric guitars. If you’ve listened to other Jablonsky scores it’s nothing new. Many other tracks (which I won’t name here) contain more of the action score tropes we’ve all come to expect. The Inception horn even makes a unfortunate cameo.
Transformers: The Last Knight has 34 tracks on the album. About half are straight-up action pieces we’ve heard a thousand times. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a Transformers score, first and foremost. However it also has quiet moments, string solos, plenty of callbacks to previous scores and incorporates several popular themes. Overall, this is arguably Jablonsky’s most varied score of the franchise and among his better compositions.
FINAL RATING: 3.2/5