The Great Human Odyssey

Musical Score By: Darren Fung

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The Great Human Odyssey is a three-part documentary series and interactive web documentary exploring the survival of the homo sapien species and its emergence as the world’s only global species.  Director Niobe Thompson followed in the footsteps of our ancestors across five continents for over eighteen months of filming, including aerial, underwater and ultra-slow motion shots in some of the most hostile environments.  Evolving during one of the most volatile eras since the extinction of the dinosaurs, against all odds, homo sapiens survived to populate every corner of the planet.

                The musical score of The Great Human Odyssey was created by Canadian composer Darren Fung who is credited for having recreated Canada’s beloved Hockey Theme for CTV and TSN.  Working in all mediums from television to film to commercials, Fung has worked on such notable projects as Lost Years, Just Buried, Bang Bang Baby and more.

                According to Fung, it wasn’t easy to figure out how to create a musical score for The Great Human Odyssey:When Niobe Thompson first approached me about composing the score for The Great Human Odyssey, I have to admit, I was skeptical.  But when he showed me some of the rushes from his shoots in Siberia, my jaw hit the ground. Niobe’s passion for sharing science is contagious, and it leaves the bigger question, how do you score a science documentary? Luckily, Niobe is equally passionate about telling a great story. I soon understood — they needed a score that would match the grandeur of the picture.”

                Fung hope to recreate, musically, the emotions evoked by the film – “The drama, the wonderment, the adversity, and the triumph — these are the emotions I’ve tried to evoke in our score.”  Fung’s score is orchestral, with a piano theme that is sometimes playful, sometimes intense.  The score is dramatically beautiful, sweeping and epic.  A choir accentuates beauty or tragedy depending on the deepness of the vocal notes.  Heavy percussion tracks may signify war or battle or perhaps just the dangerousness of the locale.

                When listening to The Great Human Odyssey Soundtrack, one has the impression that this is a dramatic tale filled with beauty, triumph and tragedy.  I would never have expected to discover that this was a score for a documentary about our species, but I definitely did catch the survival undertones in the emotions of the score.  Definitely a must listen for any fan of film scoring.


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