Soul Surfer depicts Bethany Hamilton, an 18-year-old from Hawaii who suffered a shark attack and lost an arm before returning to surfing as a professional competitor despite some initial objections from people involved in her life. It proved highly controversial upon release.
Composer Marco Beltrami is best-known for his horror and psychological drama scores, but here was an opportunity for him to stretch his creative wings and create something truly unforgettable – an inspiring score featuring traditional Hawaiian mele chants combined with beautiful choir arrangements, optimistic family moments and expansive ocean backdrops.
Music Soul Surfer is an inspiring story of faith and hope based on the real life account of Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb), a pro surfer who was left armless after she was attacked by sharks while surfing in Australia. Recovering sufficiently to win national titles with only one arm, Bethany founded Friends of Bethany as a non-profit to assist amputees and youth overcome physical limitations through Jesus Christ’s power.
Director Sean McNamara created this film from Bethany’s autobiography and interviews with her family, creating a warm, hopeful tale of courage and belief. Composer Marco Beltrami proved an unlikely choice but delivered an exceptional and beautiful score which remains one of 2010’s more unexpected delights.
This movie’s themes revolve around faith and hope, showing a family overcoming challenging situations through perseverance and faith in God. One key theme from the movie is how faith in God can help overcome any obstacle and lead us toward happier and healthier lives.
There are also references to Christianity throughout the movie, including Bible quotes and prayers to God that may be too intense for some children or audiences.
Another key theme in the film is that success depends on being strong and confident; this message can be found reflected in lyrics used within its songs.
Hillsong Young & Free’s song, “Alive”, is an ideal accompaniment for this movie as it encourages viewers to live life as it comes and not let anything stand in the way of living a fulfilling existence. This tune serves as motivation when watching this flick!
Other themes present in the movie are love and family; many scenes depicting the Hamilton family together show this. Additionally, Bethany had difficulty dealing with her accident and depression following it but ultimately was able to overcome these difficulties by placing her faith in God and finding strength from her family – providing an excellent lesson that students can apply directly in their lives.
The second theme in Music Soul Surfer pays a nod to Hawaiian culture and tradition with traditional mele chants from this region woven throughout its fabric, from upbeat location chants to more dramatic and impressive choral performances.
The main chant is probably its strongest feature, featuring a gravelly male singer intoning some seriously unsettling lyrics that should give any listener goosebumps. Additionally, there are an impressive set of orchestral effects such as hypnotic drum slams and creepily whining strings as though rehearsald by some sort of ghost choir.
Beltrami adds another striking musical aspect through his use of smaller ensemble vocal performances, including his main chant and two in the bass department. Of particular note is his use of mimosa music – an intricate piece which incorporates elements of tango, dancehall and waltz all within itself!
Delight in hearing this breathtaking piece of music performed by such a small ensemble despite what may seem like an inconceivable task! For an accomplished horror and science fiction composer to produce such an astounding musical feat for mainstream drama is nothing short of astounding; although some might find this work lacking, but its impact will surely leave an impression.
Soul Surfer tells the inspirational true story of a Hawaiian teenage girl bitten by a shark, having her left arm amputated but eventually going on to become a competitive surfer after recovering. Based on Sean McNamara and producers’ book by that name, this film took years of preparation and passion on behalf of director Sean McNamara and producers alike.
Music Soul Surfer explores how faith in God can enable one to overcome adversity, as shown through Bethany Hamilton’s incredible journey toward recovery and ultimate triumph. Additionally, this movie emphasizes family ties as Bethany develops her relationship with her father, David Hamilton.
Composer Marco Beltrami chose an array of musical concepts for this score to best represent all aspects of its story, such as traditional Hawaiian mele chants to convey culture of the island and add spiritual depth.
Beltrami cleverly combines beautiful harmonic acoustics and orchestral elements throughout his score to evoke the larger expanse of ocean life and surfing competitions, such as during “Big Drum Competition” and the stand-out Paddle Battle which both feature energetic orchestral performances underpinned by tribal shakers, rattles, and of course big drums themselves.
While these two action cues are relatively upbeat and upbeat in tone, “Shark Attack” stands out as perhaps the darkest moment in the score. A gravel-voiced Hawaiian singer intones text from an unnerving deep and menacing chant as well as an array of percussion slams and string whistles create an eerie, mesmerizing musical depiction of horror lurking deep underground.
Few composers would have considered including something of this nature in a sports drama, yet Beltrami achieved something truly lovely with his score. While not the most emotionally impactful work from his oeuvre, Beltrami’s score remains enjoyable and refreshingly rewarding to listen to.
As well as melodic and emotional elements, the composer made use of vocal performances by small ensembles ranging from upbeat location chants to more ominous bass-oriented ones – depicting evils threatening the ocean as well as Bethany’s eventual triumph against them. These subtleties made a significant difference in creating emotions within the score and inspiring hope for Bethany.
Marco Beltrami may be best known for his horror and psychological drama scores, but over the years has proven himself worthy of mainstream film scoring work with several memorable works in conventional film music genres – particularly his outstanding score for Soul Surfer; an otherwise low-key movie which became his signature project.
The score features many outstanding tracks that each have their own special qualities. The main theme stands out as its most recognizable piece and stands out as something of a technological feat with its sweeping synth riffs, pulsating strings, and percussion glories; additionally it is one of the movie’s most significant tracks, depicting an endless road leading towards salvation with an impressive guitar solo and subtle orchestral flourishes.
At the core of this score lies its main title song – an understated but powerful piece which captures the film’s spirit with its stirring lyrics and rhythmic twang. Musically speaking, this track stands out with its dynamic combination of horn performances and vocalist performances creating some truly incredible crescendos in its final quarter of cue.
The score to this movie includes several more outstanding pieces that don’t dominate or overpower, like Beltrami’s impressive big drum competition combining high-energy ensemble playing and ocean sounds into one cohesive whole. It is one of several powerful examples that demonstrate his exceptional skills balancing all aspects of this film’s creation into an uplifting and inspiring soundtrack that will remain with listeners long after they turn off their speakers.