Last month, Disney Russia released epic fantasy film ‘The Last Warrior: Root of Evil‘, the second in a planned trilogy.
Despite Covid-19 restrictions, it set new box office records and was the most talked about film. Maybe viewers noticed the touch of Greek music in the soundtrack?
The tale follows Ivan, a young man living in the present day who travels through a magical portal to the ancient world of Belogorie, where dragons, magic and fairytale creatures abound.
The film’s director Dmitriy Dyachenko attributes a substantial part of its success to the score by composer George Kallis.
“We needed a composer who has a great understanding of complex storylines and character development, and who could bring an epic Russian fantasy world to reality. George’s music lifts our energetic action scenes, bright comedic moments and tender lyrical scenes, greatly enhancing the dramatic arcs of our film,” he said.
Kallis began working on the soundtrack for ‘Root of Evil’ just as the pandemic was forcing the world to shut down.
Working remotely thousands of miles away from Moscow, Kallis drew inspiration from the commonalities between his Greek background and Russian folk instruments and liturgical music.
“The soundtrack was recorded with a 70-piece orchestra and 44-person choir layered with ethnic instruments that are incorporated in both Greek and Russian traditions, such as the Greek Cretan Lyra or the Russian Gudok which both were derived from the Byzantine Lyra. This colourful sound forms the opening music of the the film,” composer Kallis said.
“In Root of Evil, our protagonists, including Vasilisa and the evil queen Varvara, take a long trip through plains, snowy mountains, the skies and the underworld, and this was the perfect visual template for a highly energetic fantasy score. We revisit established musical motives from the first film while also introducing new thematic material, particularly for the malicious forces that haunt our protagonists,” he added.
Walt Disney Company CIS’ Vice President Vladimir Vereshchagin explains: “The importance of the score cannot be overstated. Not only does it musically paint the scenes perfectly, but it comes with melodies to which you can’t help but hum along after you leave the theater.”