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Comments about the soundtrack for Batman Returns (Danny Elfman)
"B" for the BEST Superhero Score Ever

Jouko Yli-Kiikka
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"B" for the BEST Superhero Score Ever   Tuesday, October 21, 2008 (8:44 a.m.) 
• Now Playing: Batman Returns by Danny Elfman  

Danny Elfman really delivered in 1992 with this magnificent piece of art of film music! From the first bars of the theme for Penguin to the last notes of "End Credits" this can be considered so far one of the best works of Elfman's colourful career. In addition this was one of the scores that made me a fan of film music and composer Danny Elfman.

Superior to the first Batman-score (which also is a stunning composition I would say the least...), Batman Returns is a wonderful example of fully leitmotivic approach to a music. Each of the three main characters of the story has an own musical idea: Batman has his already famous title march used in many different forms during the score. Sometimes heroic, sometimes sad, sometimes beautiful, the theme really deserves its classic status and I still consider it the best theme - next to Elfman's own Spider-Man theme - any superhero is connected with. The Penguin has his own four note theme that is very descriptive by nature. When you hear it, it almost feels like a penguin walking clumsily. The Catwoman also has a very descriptive theme or actually a couple of thematic ideas - a swirling and "purring" string figure representing the mysterious Catwoman and one very beautiful theme for Selina Kyle (best heard in the second half of "Selina Transforms"). Together these three themes dominate the musical soundscape of the story creating an almost operatic feeling. The themes are developed thoroughly during the course, and one of the most magical moments of the whole score is the death scene of the Penguin as he is carried to his watery grave accompanied by his now almost elegiac-sounding theme. The Death of the Penguin is one of the most beautiful single musical ideas Elfman's ever created to a movie.

In conclusion, you can't go wrong with this score. The themes are wonderful, the classic la-la-la-choir sounds as good as in Edward Scissorhands, the album is satisfying in length and the overall feeling of the music is very magical and wintery. This is almost like a dark fairytale written by Elfman la Edward Scissorhands. I recommend this to all lovers of great music for superhero genre and to fans of gothic and beautiful music. For fans of Elfman this is simply a necessity!



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