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Section Header
Renaissance Man
Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Hans Zimmer

Co-Produced by:
Jay Rifkin

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Nick Glennie-Smith

Trumpet Solos by:
Malcolm McNab

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
June 14th, 1994

Also See:
The Lion King
In the Army Now

Audio Clips:
2. Letter from Home (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

3. Serving Your Country (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

5. Stay With Me (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

6. Victory Starts Here (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


Renaissance Man
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Sales Rank: 89630

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Buy it... if you dig Hans Zimmer's early electronic jazz stylings and want to hear a well-balanced, dynamic merging of his synthetics with an orchestra.

Avoid it... if parody march music for dumb military settings tries your patience after only 30 seconds.

Renaissance Man: (Hans Zimmer) It was rare at the time for director Penny Marshall to miss the mark completely, for her films were typically so whimsically fluffy and enjoyable in an undemanding sense. That changed with Renaissance Man, a misfire about personal inspiration that takes an ordinary civilian and puts him in charge of teaching the Army's most hopelessly dumb and difficult recruits. The premise alone is ridiculous beyond comprehension, especially when Danny DeVito as the teacher decided to turn around the recruits using Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and "Henry V." Perhaps the most embarrassing moment in any film during the 1990's came when the misfits, led by Marky Mark, performed a synopsis of "Hamlet" in rap. A healthy dose of logical fallacies, as well as overly-predictable plot foreshadowing and cliched grasps at other films' messages, led Renaissance Man to failure at the box office. Collaborating once again with Marshall was composer Hans Zimmer, whose career was about to launch itself to an Oscar win and a co-owned composition studio and training center eventually described with not-so-polite words by many older film score collectors. In listening to the score for Renaissance Man, you can't help but get the impression that Zimmer was placing most of his efforts at the time on the concurrent The Lion King, undoubtedly a wise move. Not even the concept of the music for Renaissance Man would be original, with Robert Folk tackling In the Army Now at roughly the same time for a similar style of film. But whereas Folk took a completely orchestral and accomplished parody style into that equally doomed project, Zimmer would stay well within the realm of his own synthetic/orchestral blend that was still in its more hip and tolerable stages. Zimmer's early career was defined by electronics in a contemporary sense, merging jazz, light rock, and new age styles into scores that often served as fantastic listening experiences outside of the film. Chronologically speaking, Renaissance Man would be one of the last times he would make a fully wholesale use of those stylings before his career would turn away from Marshall's kind of films.

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In retrospect, there's a freshness about Zimmer's contemporary jazz and light rock music that is sadly missing from his late 90's and 00's scores. There exists a dramatic tilt to some of that sound in Renaissance Man, with Zimmer's tendency to drift towards the statement of dramatic anthems carrying parts of Toys over into this effort, but the ultimately cool, comedic nature of Renaissance Man would allow Zimmer to let loose with music that speaks far more towards his roots. He has become so removed from this free-spirited sound in the succeeding decade that scores like this and The Preacher's Wife, ones that merge the orchestra with his electronics with a rarely-heard positive spin in the era, gain a certain attraction over time. It's as close as Zimmer ever came to John Debney's similar handling of such films, with a few Debney-like swings of theme to be heard in Renaissance Man. When it debuted, the score seemed so trite and predictable, almost as though Zimmer literally was slamming together a score as quickly as possible. And in many respects, the score still suffers from those weaknesses; the military cues range from funny to obnoxious. The solemn spirit in "Benitez Does Henry," with that trademark Zimmer trumpet work floating in the distance, raises direct quotations from the dramatic speech in Toys. "Stay With Me," conversely, uses varied brass in a faux John Philip Sousa style of march that quickly becomes annoying (the parade atmosphere would eventually be ripped in full in "Everyone is a Hero"). Defying description is the end of "Letter from Home," which introduces the moronic recruits with a bastardized army chant over a wild rock rhythm. The highlights of the score are the light keyboarded jazz heard in "Welcome to the Army," "Serving Your Country," and "Victory Starts Here," all of which are more introspective in a soothing, contemporary sense. The latter cue is worthy of any compilation of early Zimmer works, especially with its well-mixed brass backing, and it's one of the somewhat rare moments when there exists a perfect, dynamic balance between Zimmer's electronics and the orchestra. The final cue on the album is the rap version of "Hamlet" heard in the film, and while it's probably a necessary inclusion to make the album complete, it will seal the album's fate for some. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Hans Zimmer reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.98 (in 89 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3 (in 266,330 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3 Stars
Smart Average: 2.98 Stars*
***** 104 
**** 118 
*** 163 
** 132 
* 96 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   So this is better than World's End?
  Tony -- 5/24/07 (6:28 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 29:18

• 1. Welcome to the Army (3:55)
• 2. Letter from Home (4:25)
• 3. Serving Your Country (4:11)
• 4. To Thine Ownself (4:36)
• 5. Stay With Me (2:11)
• 6. Victory Starts Here (7:28)
• 7. Benitez Does Henry (2:32)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Renaissance Man are Copyright © 1994, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/6/99 and last updated 4/22/07. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1999-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.