Operation Arctic

Composed By: Trond Bjerknes

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                A Norwegian family adventure film based on the novel by Leif Hamre, Operation Arctic follows the adventures of three young children as they struggle to survive on a deserted island in the Arctic Ocean.  Accidentally transported to the island after her eight-year-old twin siblings Ida (Leanora Valestrand Eike) and Sindre (Leonard Valestrand Eike) stow away in a helicopter, thirteen-year-old Julia (Kaisa Gurine Antonsen) must hide her fears and present a hopeful countenance.  Surrounded by harsh weather conditions and even harsher animals, can the children survive long enough to be located by the search party organized by their parents?

                The musical score of Operation Arctic was created by Norwegian composer Trond Bjerknes.  Learning to play the piano at the age of five, Bjerknes composed his first musical composition by the age of six.  Moving to the United States and studying film scoring at the Berklee College of Music, Bjerknes decided to return to Oslo and form his own production company.  His debut in film scoring came in 1999 with the television mini-series Hamilton.  Since then, he has created a number of scores for film and television, including The Guy in the Grave Next Door, Cry in the Woods, Cecilie, Max Manus and more.

                The music of Operation Arctic is orchestral in nature with a backdrop of electronic sound.  There is a tribal sense to the score, especially in the track, Opening Scene, which features a track heavy in tribal percussion and solo female vocals mixed with the haunting and often times echoing sound of strings and woodwinds.  There is a sense of awe-inspiring beauty in the track Northern Lights which features a light piano solo set amidst electronic and ambient sound.  Danger is expressed through darker electronic sound, such as in the track Loosing the Radio

                The Operation Arctic Soundtrack presents an interesting dilemma to the listener.  While I'm certain that the score well-enhances the visuals of the film, I'm not quite certain it makes for a perfect standalone album.  The music is interesting to be sure, but it is hard to tell just what is taking place throughout the album without visual aid.  So, although an interesting listen, I'm not quite certain it tells enough of a story to make it interesting enough for those who haven't actually seen the film to want to buy it.  Perhaps this album is more suited to someone who HAS seen the film and can revisit moments in the film while closing their eyes and listening to the score.


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