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

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A poor review of this poor review
• Posted by: one famous film score reviewer
• Date: Saturday, July 19, 2008, at 5:47 a.m.
• IP Address:

I won't keep you, as Filmtracks did, for 8 lengthy paragraphs. What I will do, like Filmtracks did, is write what’s been said before in a way that sounds reasonable but doesn’t hide my bias. Hey I wouldn’t be biased if they’d be a bit more varied in their work, but I’m sure that Filmtracks would say the same thing about Hans Zimmer.

The film & score parts of this review were fine. Well written, obviously thought through by someone who not only listens to a lot of soundtracks but knows a bit about music & its usage in films.
The parts about the hype & the interviews are quite interesting but somewhat detracting from the review of the actual soundtrack. The publicity machine of Hollywood can be as fascinating as it is sickening – this goes without saying. Would have been nice if the fact German Zimmer “doesn't exercise good diction in his use of English” had gone without saying too.

The comparisons to previous scores are to be expected but ultimately useless. Not only is The Dark Knight simply unlike any other Batman film (it's more drama/thriller than comic book superhero flik as anyone who’s seen it will tell you) but explaining how Zimmer’s music isn’t like Elfman’s music was done at length in the Batman Begins review. We know this. Anyone with ears knows this. Zimmer is not Elfman. Nolan is not Burton. But Dark Knight’s Gotham is as real as superhero locales have gotten in film. Zimmer’s themes suit this. Elfman’s, dare I say it, do not. Perhaps Zimmer calling it a Batman Theme was wrong as it’s more Gotham’s Theme – and The Dark Knight is Gotham’s story, not Batman’s. Look for yourself at what the film score is rather than what it isn’t.

Also identifying which of Zimmer’s previous scores sound like his latest, or Horner’s, or Williams, or Howard (James Newton or Shore)… You can see where I’m going with this. Well Filmtracks has gone there time and time again. Makes me wonder how they’d have reviewed Bach (“it sounds very interesting but it’d be nice if he wasn’t always so baroque-y”).

By the way, Elfman’s Hellboy theme is nothing like Beltrami’s (which is now synonymous with the Animated series as well as the first movie – a bit like, you know, Batman). Will Elfman be receiving a similar bollocking for this by Filmtracks as Zimmer has?

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  •   A poor review of this poor review  (1911 views)    We're Here
       one famous film score reviewer - Saturday, July 19, 2008, at 5:47 a.m.

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