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Batman Begins
(2005)
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Additional Music by:
Ramin Djawadi
Mel Wesson

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway

Orchestrated by:
Brad Dechter
Bruce Fowler
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Warner Sunset Records
(June 14th, 2005)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release, but initially difficult to find in many street stores due to distribution problems. A re-issue in 2010 (with identical contents and cover) was made available for under $10 through Amazon.com's "CDr on demand" service. By then, a new copy of the original factory pressing was valued at $20 or more.
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AWARDS
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ALSO SEE




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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you have endless excuses for the viability of Hans Zimmer's simplistic ostinato approach that caused similar brooding atmosphere and masculine propulsion to become the norm for blockbuster scores after their perceived success in this entry.

Avoid it... if you expect a truly Gothic sound for Gotham, a complex variation of melody for Wayne's duality, or any of the heroic stature of Danny Elfman's original classic, all elements unnecessarily avoided by Zimmer for his own convenience.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #79
WRITTEN 6/24/05, REVISED 9/14/11
Zimmer
Zimmer
Howard
Howard
Batman Begins: (Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard) After the eventual fizzling of the original Batman franchise in the late 1990's, Warner handed one of its most prized characters to director Christopher Nolan in hopes of resurrecting the once dominant box office champ. Taking the Bruce Wayne character back to its origins, Nolan's Batman Begins reveals the beginnings of Bob Kane's character for DC Comics and further explains Bruce Wayne's childhood trauma and formation of the Batman character twenty years later. With surprisingly consistent critical praise and a widely talented cast of performers, Batman Begins is easily the best film in the franchise since the classic original directed by Tim Burton. Much has been said about how the 2005 entry is different from all those before it in its more realistic style of art direction and color usage, but the prequel film interestingly ties directly to the original Batman in many ways near its conclusion. Despite Nolan's attempts to create a distinguishing atmosphere throughout his work, Batman Begins treads very closely to Burton's darkly rendered, ironclad vision of Gotham and its character by the climactic battle between Batman and the film's two sets of collaborating villains. Always of upmost importance in any superhero film, the original score for Batman Begins marked a deviation in the approach to the concept. Inspired by Danny Elfman's classic score for the original 1989 entry, the previous films in the franchise had alternated between strictly orchestral and score/song mixtures throughout their history, not succumbing during that time to trends in synthetics. Nolan had been in talks with renown composer Hans Zimmer for an entire year before Zimmer officially replaced Nolan's usual collaborator, David Julyan, on the assignment. Zimmer, however, was hesitant about the score because he was at a point in his career when large orchestral works didn't interest him. He had always wanted to collaborate with his good friend and fellow first-rate composer, James Newton Howard, and after a dozen years of talking about the prospect of working together, the two signed on to compose Batman Begins as a team.

The collaborative effort was just that: collaborative on each and every cue. There isn't a "Zimmer section of the score" or a "Howard theme," as would be the case with their continuation for The Dark Knight a few years later. The two literally sat in rooms across a hall and for 12 weeks ran each piece of new material by each other as they composed. The resulting score is indeed very fluid, although collectors of both Zimmer and Howard's scores will find the finished score's style to point clearly in the direction of Zimmer's body of work. As expected, the score is heavily laden with electronic embellishments and sound effects. "I think this one has more electronics in it than anything else," Zimmer stated at the time of its debut. "I didn't want to do straight orchestra because Batman, he's not a straight character. I mean, where do you get those wonderful toys from and the technology? So I thought I could embrace a bit more technology in this one. There isn't a straight orchestral note on this score." The orchestral ensemble of about 90 players from various London groups has the usual Zimmer emphasis on cellos and other lower-range instruments, and he utilizes his electronics to further sink the score into the realm of brooding darkness. Zimmer enjoys a chaotic scoring environment, a "completely anarchistic way of working," as he says, and this label applies more than ever to the two hours and twenty minutes of recorded music for the Batman Begins project. The most fanatic followers of the Batman franchise are obviously most curious about the musical connections between this score and the related ventures of Danny Elfman and Elliot Goldenthal. Elfman's original is considered one of the most poignant superhero scores in the history of Hollywood, and some of his fans even prefer the more varied thematic and instrumental approach Elfman took in Batman Returns. Elliot Goldenthal, for his two sequels, slightly altered Elfman's theme, but maintained usage of its spirit throughout the next two sequels. Both Elfman and Goldenthal were carefully considerate of subthemes for the often paired villains in each film, creating a structured environment for their themes that usually led to creative and occasionally brilliant interpretations of those themes. Both knew when to bang the gong, ring the bells, and let rip with some heroic brass.

Zimmer and Howard throw all of the franchise's prior methodology out the window. It seems to have been Zimmer who made the fundamental structural and thematic choices about the overarching style and spirit of the score, and although Howard's sensibilities do shine through occasionally (as in the opening half of "Eptesicus"), Batman Begins is saturated with Zimmer's recognizable techniques from top to bottom. The themes for Batman and his love interest are both extremely simplistic in Zimmer's typical methodology for stringing a few melodramatic chord progressions together. The Batman theme itself is a rising two-note minor key progression set over a systematic ostinato rhythm of similar two-note alternations by real and electric strings. Perhaps the synthetically-enhanced brass version of the theme at the forefront represents the big bat in the rubber suit while the chopping ostinatos underneath represent the swarm of bats that inspire him, but that's stretching for an intellectual reasoning when one may not exist. The ostinato is utilized often, typically spanning several scene changes, though the title theme itself is only heard a couple of times in full. As a pace-setter, the string ostinatos are sufficient as an agent of propulsion, moving through the film at a steady pace. They certainly inspired Hollywood filmmakers to request them in a plethora of forthcoming projects by other composers, most notably in the Transformers franchise. The sensitive theme for the love interest, as well as scenes with Alfred and the numerous flashbacks to Wayne's childhood, are handled with a soft piano motif (as at the end of "Macrotus"). Several scenes of swooshing, terrifying bat attacks are handled with crazed string chaos. The two heavily electronic techniques in the film come first in the form of a distinct sound effect that Zimmer concocts to represent the flapping wings of Batman's suit at the very beginning and end of the film. The second major use of electronics at the forefront comes in Zimmer's only action motif for Batman Begins, heard three times and most prominently during Wayne's explosive escape from The League of Shadows at the start and during the monorail battle at the end of the film. Neither of these electronic ideas is very creative; the thumping sound at the outset of the film is uninteresting and any basic Zimmer collector will be able to recognize the action music (especially in "Antrozous") as being a poor adaptation of similar sequences in The Rock and other earlier Zimmer action scores.

Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
6,096 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.92 Stars
***** 903 5 Stars
**** 1,084 4 Stars
*** 1,739 3 Stars
** 1,373 2 Stars
* 997 1 Stars
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Comments Icon
COMMENTS
378 TOTAL COMMENTS
Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
So Much Emotion   Expand >>
Brendan Cochran - September 22, 2013, at 10:57 a.m.
2 comments  (680 views)
Newest: September 24, 2013, at 11:04 a.m.by bam
This is an amazing score! It sounds like a realistic Batman should!
Michael Sorensen - August 27, 2012, at 9:09 p.m.
1 comment  (858 views)
Batman Begins Formula
Bruno Costa - December 2, 2010, at 12:51 p.m.
1 comment  (1454 views)
What the hell is going on with this review, This score is phenomenal!   Expand >>
mike - January 29, 2010, at 3:26 p.m.
2 comments  (2605 views)
Newest: January 31, 2010, at 12:37 a.m.by Mister Will
A Bat-score worth the film
Jouko Yli-Kiikka - August 4, 2008, at 1:17 p.m.
1 comment  (1975 views)
Batman Begins Poor Official Review   Expand >>
Arksun - July 1, 2008, at 1:09 p.m.
4 comments  (4233 views)
Newest: August 4, 2008, at 6:13 a.m.by Kevin Smith
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 60:26
• 1. Vespertilio (2:52)
• 2. Eptesicus (4:20)
• 3. Myotis (5:46)
• 4. Barbastella (4:45)
• 5. Artibeus (4:19)
• 6. Tadarida (5:05)
• 7. Marcrotus (7:35)
• 8. Antrozous (3:59)
• 9. Nycteris (4:25)
• 10. Molossus (4:49)
• 11. Corynorhinus (5:04)
• 12. Lasiurus (7:27)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film. As in many of Amazon.com's "CDr on demand" products, the packaging of the 2010 re-issue smells incredibly foul when new.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Batman Begins are Copyright © 2005, Warner Sunset Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/24/05 and last updated 9/14/11.
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