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Comments about the soundtrack for The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard)

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The Dark Masterpiece
• Posted by: Jouko Yli-Kiikka   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, at 12:29 a.m.
• IP Address:
• Now Playing: Patrick Doyle's Nanny McPhee

Would it be wrong to claim that this particular score is Hans Zimmer's and James Newton Howard's best so far? According to most of the critics I should hate, loathe and despise this score. But the inevitable truth is that I love this score and tip my hat to the two composers for raising the bar essentially after the previous Batman-movie.

The Dark Knight might not be a clean theme-based score but instead it is based on strong atmosphere and several motivic periods that appear throghout the score. The Joker's theme (or musical idea) is the driving force and atmospheric foundation of the score, and the first track "Why So Serious?" is a marvellous example of that: the one note theme snarls and bangs interestingly and develops all the time up to the almost ten minutes of track's conclusion. The Joker's theme sees Hans Zimmer at his absolute creative and innovative best and is to be considered one of the best thematic inventions of 2008.

The Batman's thematic material is first introduced in track 2 "I'm Not a Hero". From that on the different motivic fragments of the hero appear several times later in the score, best heard in such wonderful action tracks like "Like a Dog Chasing Cars" and "Introduce a Little Chaos". The latter track is good example of the musical battle between the Joker's and Batman's themes.

James Newton Howard is left to handle Harvey Dent's alias Two-Face's thematics. He also does great job here: a noble suite for the Gotham's white knight is heard in track 3 "Harvey Two-Face" and appears later in "Agent of Chaos". James Newton Howard's material is very emotional and orchestral and creates a great contrast to the more synthetic world of Zimmer.

The best thing of this score is finally the two last tracks - "Watch the World Burn" and "A Dark Knight". The former is one of the best rising string tracks I've ever heard, and it does add a strong emotion to the film's finale. "A Dark Knight" serves as a final suite for Batman and does develop his theme even further hights. Really great music!

I recommend this score to all who like Zimmer's and Howard's works and those who loved Batman Begins for this relates strongly to the previous score both thematically and atmospherically. And yes, I consider this the best score Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard have composed so far! The Dark Knight truly delivers and greatly supports the movie which itself is a masterpiece too.

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