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July 11th, 2008
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Canadian scores ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’

Updated Fri. Jul. 11 2008 10:24 AM ET

Constance Droganes, entertainment writer, CTV.ca

Canadian composer Andrew Lockington fell in love long ago with writing movie music. Now up-and-comer Lockington and his latest score will stir audiences as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” 3D sweeps into theatres on July 11.

The first live-action feature to be entirely shot and released in 3D, Lockington says, “It’s like a 90-minute amusement park ride, only better.”

The groundbreaking flick scored critical kudos for not copying the 1959 classic starring Pat Boone and James Mason – a film that was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Special Effects, Best Sound and Best Art Direction.

“I loved the fact that Eric Brevig, the director, didn’t want to redo something that has already been done so well,” says Lockington, whose distinctive score contributes greatly to this wild, roller-coaster film experience.

Set in 2008, the movie references Jules Verne’s visionary sci-fi novel of 1864. But film stars Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson and Anita Briem merely use the book as a treasure map to find the earth’s core.

“The whole time they’re saying, ‘Wow! Verne’s story is really true,’” says Lockington, who prepped for this colossal assignment by going to eBay and buying one of the first French editions of Verne’s book.

Working through it with his high school French dictionary, Lockington imagined how readers 150 years ago reacted to this fantastic tale. He also pictured how modern moviegoers would respond to it.

“Verne raised the bar in the literary world. This 3D movie has done the same in Hollywood. I wanted my score to do justice to that,” says Lockington.

Integrating a large traditional orchestra and full choir with the Japanese drumming ensemble, Kiyoshi Nagata, Lockington’s musical motto is clearly ‘go big or go home.’ Drums, gongs, shakers, bells and bamboo flutes enliven this thrilling musical mix, giving Lockington’s score a thunderous, edge-of-your-seat impact that rocks moviegoers.

“The 3D technology used in this film was so new even the editing suites weren’t equipped to project the footage,” says Lockington, who scored much of the film by watching 2D footage and referencing the 3D version every few weeks.

As Lockington says, “There was a fine line between creating a theme that was fun and adventurous and still made audiences feel a sense of peril. I think we achieved it.”

Journey to the centre of Hollywood

Born in Burlington, Ont., Lockington grew up taking piano lessons, but like most kids didn’t practice hard enough. “I made up for my laziness by playing the first line or two of a piece hoping my teachers wouldn’t notice. They always did,” says Lockington, who now divides his time between Los Angeles, London, England and Toronto.

A protégé of award-winning composer Mychael Danna (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Lockington has scored such films as “Saint Ralph” (2004), “Skinwalkers” (2006), “How She Move” (2007) and the upcoming indie feature “One Week” starring Joshua Jackson.

His first foray into Hollywood, however, came while working as an orchestrator and composer assistant on such 1999 films as “The Confession” with Alec Baldwin, “Felicia’s Journey” by director Atom Egoyan and “Girl, Interrupted.”

“I’ve been lucky,” says Lockington. “The directors I have worked with on their early movies have gone on to do bigger films that have gained a lot of exposure. I’ve been able to follow them along as their composer.”

As “Journey to the Center of the Earth” storms into theatres, Lockington wants moviegoers to enjoy the adrenaline-charged ride.

“The ‘Wow!’ moments are definitely multiplied by 10 thanks to 3D,” he says. “But what I love most is how adults react to it. They reach for things. They talk to themselves saying ‘No! Don’t go there!’ or ‘Stop!’ People of all ages are in for an auditory and visual experience that will immerse them into a whole other world.”

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