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Hans Zimmer - The Dark Knight Rises


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From the Boston Herald's review of The Dark Knight Rises:

The worst offender here is composer Hans Zimmer, who might as well show up at every showing of this film and bang everyone in the audience over the head with his drum set.

Ouch.

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Filmtracks tears apart The Dark Knight Rises Score. Some choice quotes. "Buy it... if you've bought into the hyped notion that Hans Zimmer's music for the prior two films in this franchise is the work

The man(Zimmer) has written better MUSIC than Williams on multiple occasions, actually.

What ever happened to this guy who arguable was very talented composer back then? I just watched a video on Youtube where

he performed Inception with the orchestra, live performance. Yes, all those (incredible) four chords! He sat there in front of the

concert piano which was wrong because obviously he can't play it, well maybe only those four chords. In that piece there was

maybe 18 seconds of Wow! when everyting was perfect, the e-quitar, electronics and the (was there?) orchestra. The piece lasted over 6 minutes.

Just wondering.

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They were totally overdoing that performance and I found it funny. He's playing the same four chords on the piano again and again and he has to really put on a show so he acts like he's all into it. Johnny Marr doesn't have much of a part besides some basic guitar strumming. And the violinist/cellists are really overdoing it. It was hard to watch. I can't imagine how that would be a fun concert to go to. Of course, this is all in my opinion of course.

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He's playing the same four chords on the piano again and again and he has to really put on a show so he acts like he's all into it. Johnny Marr doesn't have much of a part besides some guitar strumming.

I always felt sorry for the guy playing the guitar in this:

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The chant is effective at times, but its incredibly overbearing, especially by the last third of the film. Whereas Zimmer's score for The Dark Knight was a perfect fit for film (especially with the Joker theme), its just way too much here. Constant pounding blasts even when the scene asked for something intimate, or a bit toned down.

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There are people saying the chant at one point of the film, but its not the material from the score or anything.

However, the score does have more chanting then presented on album.

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Yeah, a few times the score is still pounding from an action beat into a dialogue sequence and it can be a bit hard to hear the beginning. I wasn't sure if this was the films problem or my theaters as we were the first show in their new "xtreme" theater, aka 4K screen and 300,000 watts sound.

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It seems to be an issue with the mixing. That problem was there in Inception, as well--a moment here or there where I couldn't pick out the dialogue from under the score.

I mentioned this in the spoilers thread, but I did like a fair bit about the score, perhaps more than I might've before. I wasn't expecting a radical departure from the style of the first two films, so what broadening of palette Zimmer does is appreciated. We have a more chromatic, melodic theme for Selina Kyle. There is also a nice usage of instrumental textures to apply to different characters, so Kyle has a high-string pattern as well, somewhat reminiscent of the character's treatment in TAS, that is used mostly in scenes involving her in action--it's used to good effect in an early action scene that helps to set up some plot elements. Another example of instrumental textures is the trumpet runs that stood out to me in the clips, associated with Bane and his actions.

Watching the marathon at the theater, I noticed that, IMO, the actual spotting had improved in some ways. There were times in Batman Begins where there was just music when there needed to be none, and there were moments where the music should have been building tension and arriving at relief points (a moment that stood out was when Batman is being surrounded by the crowd of gassed citizens at the end and is trying to get to his grappling gun). I also felt the lack of music in the chase in TDK was a big mistake given the scene's place in the structure of the film--it should have been what "Rebirth" was to Poltergeist. In TDKR, however, I noticed good spotting/scoring in both directions: there were definite standout musical moments/scenes/sequences, but there was also one important scene about a third of the way through the film that was--I think--totally unscored, and it worked very well. It was a scene that there could have been scoring, probably late in the scene, and it could have been great, but as it was it was not an unwise decision. Much more than what was done in that scene would probably have been overdoing it.

I felt that the weak link was in some of the heroic moments. It felt like a lot of those times, Zimmer fell back on passages that sounded tracked from previous films, with the worst offender being the use of the music where Batman suits up for the climax of Begins; it was some of the music I disliked most from that film, and I think it tended to not do justice to the moment. Not that it killed it, but I wanted more variation from him in the handling of those spots. It felt like he invested more effort in the underscoring and treatment of new characters. There is at least one exception that I can think of, but I won't spoil it.

In hindsight I'm also somewhat disappointed that the family/love theme from Begins seems to not have made a return, as it would have been fitting, but I think it counts for something that I'm only now realizing it as I type this.

Knowing that Zimmer wasn't going to just make a left turn into some totally different style, I think the score was about as good as it could have been. It definitely could have been much worse, and I think I will at least give it a listen, and could end up buying it.

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I mentioned this in the spoilers thread, but I did like a fair bit about the score, perhaps more than I might've before. I wasn't expecting a radical departure from the style of the first two films, so what broadening of palette Zimmer does is appreciated. We have a more chromatic, melodic theme for Selina Kyle. There is also a nice usage of instrumental textures to apply to different characters, so Kyle has a high-string pattern as well, somewhat reminiscent of the character's treatment in TAS, that is used mostly in scenes involving her in action--it's used to good effect in an early action scene that helps to set up some plot elements.

That rising string motif is reminiscent of some material from A Game of Shadows.

Watching the marathon at the theater, I noticed that, IMO, the actual spotting had improved in some ways. There were times in Batman Begins where there was just music when there needed to be none, and there were moments where the music should have been building tension and arriving at relief points (a moment that stood out was when Batman is being surrounded by the crowd of gassed citizens at the end and is trying to get to his grappling gun). I also felt the lack of music in the chase in TDK was a big mistake given the scene's place in the structure of the film--it should have been what "Rebirth" was to Poltergeist. In TDKR, however, I noticed good spotting/scoring in both directions: there were definite standout musical moments/scenes/sequences, but there was also one important scene about a third of the way through the film that was--I think--totally unscored, and it worked very well. It was a scene that there could have been scoring, probably late in the scene, and it could have been great, but as it was it was not an unwise decision. Much more than what was done in that scene would probably have been overdoing it.

I felt that the weak link was in some of the heroic moments. It felt like a lot of those times, Zimmer fell back on passages that sounded tracked from previous films, with the worst offender being the use of the music where Batman suits up for the climax of Begins; it was some of the music I disliked most from that film, and I think it tended to not do justice to the moment. Not that it killed it, but I wanted more variation from him in the handling of those spots. It felt like he invested more effort in the underscoring and treatment of new characters. There is at least one exception that I can think of, but I won't spoil it.

I thought portions of Bane's material was quite effective during the anarchy scenes. But even this at points is overused like

in one instance in which Wayne tries to climb out of the pit, the music gets more chaotic and louder but it doesn't fit with the images on screen!

I think it's simply Zimmer using this "copy and paste" method of scoring. The rest is largely bland, generic and often overbearing Zimmer fare.

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I can see that. It's the bright spots that really make the overall picture so frustrating. As I think about it, "copy and paste" is a good term for a lot of the problems here. Even if you move past the fact that, from square one the question seemed more to be "How do I do something DIFFERENT?" than "What would make this film even better than it already is?", there needed to be more variation, more tailoring of development to different scenes. The running silver lining is that whatever weaknesses are in the scores, they never kill the films. But they could be so much more.

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After seeing it, I am disappointed that the Blackbeard-ish blasting in The Fire Rises wasn't in the movie. It's stuff like that (and how a LOT of the music is tracked, like the Pyscho string shrieks in Gotham's reckoning is used over and over) that make me think Zimmer jsut writes action music, and they just insert it wherever it needs to be.

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Well, get this.

I listened to the score again. In its entirety, with bonus and all, on my car ride home today.

And I forced myself not to touch the skip button, to listen to every second.

Observation number one, I had a minor headache after listening to it (no joke, I wish it were).

Number two, after really paying attention, and having been beaten senseless by the relentless pounding of track 3, I found my thoughts wander off towards a mental comparison between Elfman's and Horner's takes on Spider-Man.

When I came to, I was surprised to find myself in the middle of Catwoman's music (Mind If I Cut In), and observed that, apparently, it does little to attract my attention.

I recall very few things about the actual music, except thinking constantly "oh, he reused this bit again". I also wondered if Zimmer took anything that Howard wrote for the first two films, and taking credit for it now.

I also felt a strong sense of anonymity. This could as well be a disc of outtakes from Dark Knight. There is Bane's material, but it is so thoroughly infused with and embedded in the most common of Remote Control sounds that it barely stands out.

Ironically, the most interesting pieces may be the bonus cues, even though "The End" isn't nearly as entertaining as some people make it out to be.

The whole thing, to me, constantly wanders between the entertainment value of counting beats, eh ... I mean sheep, and the annoyance of feeling your foot fall asleep.

I do NOT want to know how much of the album was actually done by ghostwriters, the artistic value is questionable as it is, even as a supposed solo effort.

I have never been big with Zimmer (as you may know), but I feel the man hasn't done a vaguely original score since DaVinci Code and Sherlock Holmes. The output of the last two years was largely shite.

Leave your weary D minor mitts off Man Of Steel!

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For all it's unoriginality and predictability, I thought the score was just thrilling in the film. It was awesome to hear the "Molossus" theme during Batman's appearance. A lot of it was reused so instead of buying the entire CD I think I'll get one or two tracks on iTunes. The ones with the chanting.

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The score was so "cut and paste" and you could especially hear that in the film. Very little of it was original material. Having said that, some of the Bane material was very effective.

The last 2 years only? That's like 5% of his career.

I agree with GK. The last 2 years of Zimmer's career have been awful.

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I've gotten about halfway through the regular album, and skimmed through remaining tracks, and it seems that Bane's particular dissonant string texture (the one that slows down

when Bruce fails and flashes back to getting pulled out of the well

) is absent from the album, which is a bit astonishing to me, since it was one of the most interesting bits in-film.

The more I think about it and listen to the tracks, the more I see the copy/paste issue as a big problem for the score. I'm also of two minds about the electronics usage: there are some places where I really like the textures Zimmer uses (there are others I liked more, but off the top of my head, the thin texture used for the minor third motive in "On Thin Ice"). On the other hand, I feel like he really pushed the electronica in a way that I find off-putting, almost like it gets too close to a club realm. On reflection, I think Howard's touch would've been welcome here. I suspect he was the driving force behind the family/love theme from Begins and stuff like "Watch the World Burn." That's the kind of thing that would have been most welcome, and if he could have helped in putting in more variation and less (basically) tracking, it would've done the score a world of good.

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I've gotten about halfway through the regular album, and skimmed through remaining tracks, and it seems that Bane's particular dissonant string texture (the one that slows down

when Bruce fails and flashes back to getting pulled out of the well

) is absent from the album, which is a bit astonishing to me, since it was one of the most interesting bits in-film.

That's because its the same frenetic bit you heard at the end of "Gotham's Reckoning" but simply slowed down during the sound editing/mixing process. And that was one of the worst scored scenes in the film. A prime exemplar of the lazy "cut and paste" routine that much of the score retains.

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It works okay in the film, but I definitely don't feel the need to have more of the score like I did with The Dark Knight.

I also hope they turn the music down a little bit for the bluray sound mix. It didn't spoil the film for me but the music was way too loud at points.

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I don't mean to be sarcastic or malevolent here, but ir beats me why the score needed SIX ghost writers.

I mean, it's not like the score is so overwhelmingly complex that he needed the help.

Not to be sarcastic or mean but doesn't that apply to many of Zimmer's scores?
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I don't mean to be sarcastic or malevolent here, but ir beats me why the score needed SIX ghost writers.

I mean, it's not like the score is so overwhelmingly complex that he needed the help.

Not to be sarcastic or mean but doesn't that apply to many of Zimmer's scores?

Is this for real? Six ghostwriters?

So this is a score composed by seven people that amounts to not much. I dunno what to think. One would expect a great score out of so many thinking minds.

I remember when I heard Prometheus I had a similar thought: despite the several composers, they weren't able to make something as cool as Goldsmiths original. Kind of funny.

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Are they still ghostwriters if we know who they are? The term is obsolete, at least concerning Zimmer.

I also assume you're including people like Mel Wesson in the final count, who has done ambient design on all of the scores. Lorne Balfe is in there I'm sure, he probably did some additional music.

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Those "ghostwriters" probably did the job of copying and pasting previous material onto the film, since that's what the majority of the score is in context. I don't know why they needed 6 of them for that.

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