Cast your mind back to the moment in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex first roars, or the opening of Star Wars. Maybe think of that opening scene in Once Upon a Time in the West. Reimagine the experience of seeing that for the first time, and then imagine turning the sound off. Not quite the same, is it? It seems obvious to say that sound is important to cinema but this documentary compellingly makes the case for sound design being an often overlooked and underappreciated art form. Taking us on a journey from the early days in sound recording and cinematic history through to the present day, Making Waves weaves a tale of ingenuity and dedication which is at times nostalgic, surprising and moving.
Making Waves presents us with a considerable range of voices from a deep talent pool, including everyone from well-established directors, to musicians and sound technicians themselves. It’s brilliant to see such a plethora of talent speaking up for an aspect of the industry which is so vital, and yet so often taken for granted. Thankfully the filmmakers don’t fall into the trap of becoming too bogged down in the technicalities, the focus is very much on the experience of sound and the emotion it can command. It was the greatest joy for me to sit back and be reminded of filmmaking’s illusionary nature. It’s so easy to forget that cinema is not a sleekly presented recording of the real world but is at its core a beautiful magic trick.
Watching certain famous sound effects being crafted out of everyday objects is a joy and this documentary captures the wonder and magic of this art form beautifully. Anybody, whether you’re a casual film goer or a movie nerd, will get something out of this and will cause you to re-examine your relationship with film and sound
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound opens in cinemas and on digital on the 1st November.