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Comments about the soundtrack for Batman Begins (Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard)

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Re: Batman Begins Score
• Posted by: Ken   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, March 9, 2006, at 4:19 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: Batman Begins Score (Ethan)

Ethan, you wrote---- With Zimmer, you can feel goosebumps because his music

is so powerful, you are a helpless against it.

I think it's great that you have somebody that can give you those goosebumps. However, the thing to realize (and I probably haven't done the best job of realizing it myself) is that everybody has somebody who gives them that, and someone who wants to make them spill their lunch from yesterday. Unfortunately, for me, Hans is the latter. And I should clarify that I feel power in Elfmans music.... rarely. Batman and the Spiderman movies (Although I have yet to see either one all the way through) are probably the two big projects that he has done that showcase the power that he is capable of. The things about Elfman that I really like are his darkness and originality. His style is fairly demented, and that opens up his ability to write humorous stuff (I.E. Pee-Wees Big Adventure, Back To School.) But to see what he did with Batman just sold me on him. Maybe Hans will do that for me one of these days, but he hasn't done it yet.

So, anybody in their right mind can not feel the power in Zimmers music that the person next to them might feel. To me, Goldsmith, Williams, John Debney, Bruce Broughton, James Newton Howard are in the top 5 because they have such great musicality and I find that they are so much more concerned with trying to push their own envelopes. Now, John Williams doesn't push his envelope on film so much as with his Concert music wich is Drastically underplayed and underappreciated because of his film career. And James Newton Howard, I think, probably tried to push the envelope a bit too much in this one (you know, the whole two note theme thing... *S*.) And John Debney, who I just met last night and is a wonderful individual, is a really a great up and comer with a very fresh sound (especially the last race of Dreamer.... that is goose bump music, too.)

You also wrote----Don't kid yourself by saying that Zimmer's work is mostly regurgitation from earlier works. That Would be a completely opinionated statement.

That is not kidding myself or you, and it certainly is not based on opinion. That is FACT. And I do understand the need for composers in film to have a "bag of tricks", but that bag of tricks should not include mere cutting and pasting. And it goes back even farther than The Rock. I mean, his battle music has been exactly the same ever since Backdraft, and maybe even further back (I don't think I know of any of his work before Backdraft.) I mean, just pick 5 or six movies that he composed for and listen to them and you will find that it is barely more than cut and paste. Believe me. I tried it a couple weeks ago just to be shure I was right. Also, Disney Movies and Horror are not his usual Genres. I couldn't stand the Lion King as a movie, and I don't think I ever even got to see the ring. So I'll look at that to see what the track was like.

I couldn't agree more with your assessment that the two composers are completely different in their styles and will fit one movie and not the next. That is a wonderful point that I didn't even think of, and I'm sorry for that.

A very funny thing that you wrote is------ The Lion King will always be remembered as Disnye's premiere musical masterpiece.

Then people have a very short memory. It wasn't long before that that the best real musical picture that Disney ever made was released. I think it was called.... oh I don't know. Beauty and the Beast? Even got nominated for Best Picture when the acadamy still had some credibility left. Interesting, huh?

Also, Hans's practice of training young composers almost scares me. If anybody listened to the Score to Pirates, they would know that Ole Hans was behind it. In point of fact, there were 8 of Hans's "Media Ventures" staff composing the score for that film, so you will not be able to convince me that Hans didn't just simply hand Klaus the material and tell him to have those staff work it into the movie ('cause he was really more of a supervisor for that soundtrack than an actual composer and that's coming from one of the guys who is on the in, so that is another matter of FACT [the 8 composer thing and Klaus supervising point]). Also, every kid in America liking the movie is a great bragging right for business because you know that you're probably going to sell a lot of soundtracks, or a lot of the DVDs are gonna be bought because the kiddies could latch onto the one main tune that was obsessed over the whole movie(and I am a composer myself, so I understand there is more than just one theme going on in a movie.) Just because all the kids like it doesn't make it good. It was funny, that was probably the only soundtrack that I think I can see drum corps people marching in a stadium to, and that is not a compliment to the music. It's more on the level of saying it sounds like something that I wrote when I was about 17.

And where is is written that I MUST seceed to Zimmer??? You say that our position on these composers is opinionated (but it is based on opinion and there is a huge difference) and then you are trying to tell me that I can't have mine?? At least I've only been stating mine and discussing how I feel about it. You are downright telling me that my opinion doesn't deserve to exhist. I don't have to secede to anything. I don't like Hans's work and that's it. You wanted an opinion, you got it. You can have yours, but I can have mine too. I believe that, if I want to hear Zimmer, I can either see a movie scored by him, or a movie scored by James Horner and I can get the same effect. Of course there are differences, but the both of them write their stuff in very similar fashion. Hundred Piece orchestras playing these large chorale melodies that are tired by the time they come around for statement number 3. You wanna listen to that, then more power to ya. I'll find something much more interesting and satisfying to do.

Also, if you want to talk about Hans being better because he is an oscar award winning composer, then you'd probably better figure out why a composer like Goldsmith (who spent about 4 decades in the business and never let his name fade) only has one oscar AND a lifetime achievement award from the academy. And the score that he won for was freakin' good, but I can think of several scores that he composed that should have won and weren't even considered. So, oscars really count for about as much as every kid in America liking the music that he fed to one of his chronies.

So, in closing, I will say I'm glad that Hans's Music does what it does for you. That's great. I remember a day when even Horner did that for me. But one thing that I cannot get around is what does not change. That doesn't so much make Hans bad, in my book. What makes him bad in my book is that his repetition is as uninteresting as it is. John Williams, James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith... they are the best scorers to date and they all repeat. Some of them have styles I like, and some have styles that make me vomit. I know the same is true for you.

Take care, Ethan.

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