Danny Elfman

Real Steel

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Danny Elfman's surprisingly upbeat and uplifting score for director Shawn Levy’s Real Steel, a Hugh Jackman-starring sci-fi romp about boxing robots that owes more to Rocky than it does Transformers, trades in many of the composer’s signature moves (ghostly choirs and quirky, symphonic bombast) for a more lyrical approach. Rooted in bluesy, country-folk guitar and John Williams-esque slabs of pastoral Americana, Elfman still gets in the occasional explosion, but there’s a comfy, rootsy vibe that permeates the score and echoes fellow composer Greg Edmonson's work on Joss Whedon's beloved outlaw sci-fi television series Firefly.

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