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Any Elfman Fans?


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Just out of curiosity, how many people here are also fans of Danny Elfman?

In the last couple months, I?ve taken an extreme liking to his music and his particular style. He is able to richly capture such a zany character in many of his scores, most notably Mars Attacks! and the theme from Men In Black. In addition, he is able to delve into the emotional side of a movie as well, particularly with Edward Scissorhands and Black Beauty. We can?t forget, however, his handling of superheroes, such as Batman and Spider-Man. Particularly with the latter, Elfman was able to successfully blend a sound we now associate with him (meaning when Batman was released, he was still fairly new at this) with evocative emotional music (ala ?Peter?s Turmoil? and ?Train, Appreciation?) and his sense of action music (?Train, Appreciation?).

Much like someone else we know, Elfman owes a great debt to a director who insists on a particular composer to score his movies, in this case Tim Burton. What Burton has allowed Elfman to do is compose in his natural right and setting because their styles and thirst for being ?out-there? match so well. They, much like Spielberg and Williams, are a perfect fit for a director-composer relationship.

Now Elfman fans have Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with which to look forward. These two scores will fit both the composer and director very well. (On a side note, I imagine Charlie will be one of the most wacked-out movies I?ve seen, just seeing the trailer thus far ? Burton, Depp, and Elfman ? three crazies.)

Who else here shares a like of Danny Elfman? Please feel free to engage in this discussion.

Thank you.

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I followed each new score since Batman, and I like the early works better. But he's very unique and his craft is very good. I want to take this opportunity to mention that he does indeed provide complete sketches, but he uses his computer printouts with some additional pencil notation. For long people were like "no way he wrote all that music himself, he's a rocker!" But with modern technology, he has indeed found a notation system that can provide as complete sketches as Williams.

Hulk was completed in 2 weeks, however, and he employed 2 "arrangers" to work with him in addition to the usual orchestrators. It is possible he skimped on the sketches that time.

This aside, I really loved "A Simple Plan" of his newer work. I also found "Red Dragon" to be very disturbing with the images.

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I love the Spiderman score. I think he used the strings, playing 16ths to sound like a spider spinning a web. At least that's what I though. Or maybe I'm putting too much thought into it. Anyways... I'm really looking forward to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because of how wacky it is.

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I love the Spiderman score.  I think he used the strings, playing 16ths to sound like a spider spinning a web

That's one of my favorite things about that score! It's so effective being so evocative of spiders.

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Count me in for the Elfman fans. I think Edward Scissorhands is a tremendous achievement and his action writing in Batman or in Spiderman is second only to Williams'. Then there are the duds like Sleepy Hollow or Hulk.

Of course, the best switch to light up his talent is Tim Burton.

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Sleepy Hollow is my favorite elfman score. I adore that danger theme, not sure what to call, that is often heard intercalated with the main theme.

I love both Batman scores (specially Returns, although it does drag in parts) and I can never get enough of that wackyness of Mars Attacks or Beetlejuice. Outside is Burton colaborations, I loved Red Dragon and The Hulk, but often it doesn't quite grip me.

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My favourite Elfman CD's are the two volumes of Music For a Darkened Theatre. Black Beauty & Sommersby sound wonderful, though I've never hear the full scores.

My favourite full score is still Batman and I only have that on LP.

I only like bits and pieces of things like Spider-man, Planet of the Apes and Men in Black (I & II).

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Quick Danny Elfman reviews 101;

Batman, Mars Attacks, Beetlejuice, Peewee's Big Adventure, Darkman, Nightmare Before Christmas = Masterpieces

Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Dick Tracy, Midnight Run, Red Dragon and Edward Scissorhands = Moments of brilliance

POtA, Spiderman, Hulk, Mission Impossible = Serviceable to not very good scores

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I like Batman and Red Dragon.  Edward Scissorhands never did anything for me except collect dust.

Neil

Really? Do you mind explaining why? Just curious....

No problem.

Batman is an energetic fun score that really captured the on-screen action. It's too good for the movie.

Red Dragon was a surpisingly complex and frightening score for someone known for his off kilter zany works. It worked brilliantly.

I've never been able to sit through the Scissorhands album.

Neil

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Batman, Mars Attacks, Beetlejuice, Peewee's Big Adventure, Darkman, Nightmare Before Christmas = Masterpieces

I really don't think the Pee-Wee score can be considered a masterpiece. As much fun as it is and as well as it works in the film, it is really just one big homage to Elfmans influences.

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I enjoy Elfman's music a lot - he is probably my second favorite to composer (Williams is number one of course), though lately I've been getting into Alan Silvestri and some others. Getting back to Elfman, there's just something about his style that I just really like; and I'm not quite sure what it is.

Here are my thoughts on the Elfman scores that I own:

"Edward Scissorhands" - probably my favorite Elfman score; I love the combination of the wacky stuff ("The Cookie Factory") with the awesome choir + orchestra stuff ("Ice Dance" and "The Grand Finale").

~"Batman" - a great score. The main theme is awesome - and every cue is great. I really love "Decent into Mystery" - it's just a really enjoyable, well-written cue.

~"Sleepy Hollow" - A well written score for a good scary movie. The opening music ("Introduction") is one of my favorite cues; the orchestration is nice. I like the action cues too... and the lighter, softer music... I just think it's a nice score.

~"The Nightmare Before Christmas" - A great score (and the songs are great too!). I think it perfectly compliments the images on screen. Elfman kind of emplys to class 'Mickey Mousing' technique, and I think it works great.

~"Big Fish" - Quite good. Very different for an Elfman score, but I think Elfman did an incredible job with it. The movie is also quite a departure for Burton. I think the score is one of the most (if not the most) original scores Elfman has written. The music is just perfect. Perfect for the little town, perfect for the circus, perfect for the film. IMHO, it should've won the Oscar - because I think it was the most original score nominated (again, IMHO).

~"Spiderman" and "Spiderman 2" - Well-written scores for some good comic book films. Not my favorite scores by Elfman, but I find them very enjoyable (especially the sequel). There's some nice action writing in both scores. Elfman's finally learning to appreciate the horn section by writing good horn parts!!

-Kyle

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I love the Spider-man score, as well as the Batman one, and Hulk, Sleepy Hollow and MIB. Those are the only Elfman scores I've managed to hear so far and I love all of them.

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Elfman is probably my third favorite composer (after JW and JNH). He has such a wonderful ability to write to fit the movie. The best example I can think of is Spider-Man. I just love "Main Title." The "swirly strings" (this might be what Composer Fan and Harry Potter were talking about) gives such an impression of flying and swinging through Manhattan, I can almost see it. I love playing the Spider-Man 2 video game and listening to that track at the same time. Wonderful.

I also love Big Fish. It's so beautiful. "Sandra's Theme" makes me want to cry every time I hear it, especially the first statement with the flute playing the theme and the stacatto strings backing it up. One of the most beautiful cues I have ever heard.

Elfman has such a gift for chords to suit the feel of the movie and score.

~Sturgis

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Elfman's in my top five. I have MFADT 2, which is a really great collection. Of the scores I own, Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish stand out as his absolute finest. The former is a classic of film music, beautiful and stylistic. The latter is a great score involving "deep South" elements, and is possibly more emotional than Scissorhands. "Sandra's Theme" in particular is wonderful, as others have pointed out.

Ray Barnsbury

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I love Elfman's work, too.

He truly has a style of his own (which actually has been copied and ripped off-- especially Edward Scissorhands), is quite versatile, and is brilliant when it come to dark/zany/sad. He has also evolved, changed techniques, and experiments a lot.

Batman was my third score album (on LP) (the Ghosbusters LP has so little score it can hardly count as such), so I know it pretty well, but I like Batman Returns even more; it's pretty rich and fun throughout.

Sleepy Hollow is a wonderful horror score.

Edward Scissorhands' theme is most beautiful. Big Fish was a nice return to that kind of style.

I'm terribly sorry I missed Black Beauty, silly as I was to overlook it; the suite on MfaDT2 and the mp3s I have are very very nice and lively-- lovely music.

I love a A Simple Plan, too. The less obviously thematic, very atmospheric nature of the score ("Tracks in the Snow") apparently turn people off.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a little gem-- songs and score. I'm very much looking forward to The Corpse Bride.

Scrooged really ought to be released; the suite on MfaDT1 is splendid.

Then there are his TV themes-- Tales From the Crypt, The Simpsons, The Flash, ...

And there are many more to enjoy-- Beetlejuice, A Civil Action, Spider-Man, Planet of the Apes, Darkman, ...

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Black Beauty, silly as I was to overlook it

If you ever have the chance, this is one score any Elfman fan should definitely check out. It's interesting to note how much he departs from the "normal" Elfman style we're used to. Fantastic music, though!

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Black Beauty, silly as I was to overlook it

If you ever have the chance, this is one score any Elfman fan should definitely check out. It's interesting to note how much he departs from the "normal" Elfman style we're used to. Fantastic music, though!

Thanks for the recommendation, HarryPotterFan!

I actually have the whole album in mp3's-- I spent my first few months on my brand-new snail dial-up serching for rare scores on Napster during what turned out to be the original "everything goes" version of Napster.

Great score, and different from his other works, indeed.

I also got the Family Man promo the same way. Very very nice too.

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Edward Scissorhands has on it one of my favourite "emotional" tracks of all time: The Grand Finale. It really is a classic. The score as a whole is excellent, but the album can be a little samey (particualrly with all the upbeat stuff in one half and all the darker stuff in another). Still, in the film, it is amazing.

Batman is pretty good. The Theme is excellent: second only to Superman IMO for superheros. The rest of the score is quite good, although Elfman cannot write action like Williams can. The Joker's theme is also a little overblown....

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I actually seem to be the only one who enjoys the Hulk score. Considering he only had a couple weeks to score it, his "Herrmann"-like descending 6 note motif was a great central figure in the score and I liked how he threads it throughout. I'll take Hulk over his SPiderman scores. I'm still one of the few people who honestly believe Spiderman deserved a Lalo Schifrin or Bill Conti styled jazz/pop score more than the choral orchestral material that Elfman did. Elfman's biggest success with Spidey is when he implements pop rhythms and instruments- like the electric guitar when PArker is creating costumes. That's good stuff. Or the cue when he's crawling up the wall discovering his powers. The string/brass work is nicely done. But 86 the choir. Doesn't belong.

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No I really enjoy Hulk also. Probably a little because of it's "Hermmannesance" (LOL). When talking about a modern, actual Elfman, I truly wish that the direction he took with Hulk would be the direction he will take in many other scores of the future. His usage of electronics is relegated to orchestral backing (as opposed to scores in the end of the 90's where they were right up there with the orchestra). It's underrated. But it's hard for me to judge Spiderman upon his other type of scores of the past. It's like Dylan in the 60's. He was there at the right moment, the right stuff, the right sound. It's hard to copy yourself years after years. I don't expect another Batman anymore by him. So for all of us which hoped bold statements and memorable leitmotifs for Spidey, it was an almost impossible task.

Really when's the last time, excluding Williams, that somebody was able to create a leitmotiv-based score with several thematic recurring themes, for a major action motion picture which didn't fall into cacophony? Hmm, Goldsmith' Mummy perhaps.

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James Newton Howard's Signs is a leitmotif-based score, but there aren't any reccurring themes, and it's really not a big action movie. But, hey...

~Sturgis

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James Newton Howard's Signs is a leitmotif-based score, but there aren't any reccurring themes

Is that contradictory? In any case, JNH tends to write large-scale, thematic/leitmotiv-based scores in the vein of JW. And he does it very well.

Ray Barnsbury

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Yes indeed. I put on Hildago the other day whilst cleaning my apartment and, initially I thought this was a rather luke-warm effort by Howard. However, after listening to it through again, I was impressed with the level of writing in that score.

Perhaps Howard isn't the next Williams, but I think he stands to inherit the Goldsmith mantle if he continues writing scores like SIGNS and THE VILLAGE. A very talented fellow and one whom I personally hope will take hom Oscar this year.

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I love the main titles to Spiderman. How the horns do that third root movement thing (reminds me of braveheart). And that choir, just adds so much prettiness. I also love the extremely etheral harmonics with the violins at the beginning. It's really good.

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I love the main titles to Spiderman. How the horns do that third root movement thing (reminds me of braveheart). And that choir, just adds so much prettiness. I also love the extremely etheral harmonics with the violins at the beginning. It's really good.

I totally agree. :(

About JNH, I love the Hidalgo score. The main theme is very beautiful, and it's very western-ish in some parts, and very...Arabian-ish in others. The main theme and the "desert theme" are both wonderful. I love how the latter starts out in that kind of typical Middle Eastern key used in scores, but then it becomes beautiful.

~Sturgis

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