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Comments about the soundtrack for The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer/Various)

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Re: Who is this reviewer?
• Posted by: Jacque   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Monday, July 16, 2012, at 10:13 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: Who is this reviewer? (Hyun21K)

> Thank you for your evaluation of my review. You do have very good points.
> In my honest opinion, I think Hans Zimmer is maybe too successful for his
> own good. He acheived great popularity with the blockbuster action style
> he created, and perhaps he's afraid to deviate from that formula of
> success. Hans Zimmer's scores are most certainly derivative and simple,
> and the only recent Zimmer score I like is Inception, not because it is
> any different from Zimmer's other scores, only because it worked so well
> in the movie.

Thank you for writing an actual rebuttal to the review! It is a nice change of pace. I think you may be right about Zimmer. He's like the Dr. Luke of film music. He's a great businessman who at the moment doesn't have any motivation to deviate from his formula.

> I am wondering what is your definition of complex music? Of all the film
> composers, I only consider John Williams capable of writing complex music,
> that is layered with counterpoint with imaginative orchestrating.
> Complexity does not make music good or bad. On a side note, John Williams
> composes concert music in additiong to his film scores, and his flute
> concerto is in fact atonal.

I agree John Williams probably writes the most complex music in film music today (in a classical sense). He's also my favorite film composer, so I have a bit of a bias there. I know complexity doesn't automatically make music good, but when you have a visionary director like Christopher Nolan who wants to take the world of Batman and make a serious film trilogy that can rival any other movie in its drive to make artistic statements about life...I can't help but want the composer to do the same.

>Both Mr. Zimmer and Mr.
> Elfman lack classical training and consequently their music developes on a
> more obvious scale.

Okay, I have to nitpick this one because I love Elfman haha. Listen to Elfman's Spider-Man 2 opening suite and tell me there's anything conventional or predictable about it. Actually, it, too, features a simple theme for Spider-Man, only 4 notes long, yet just listen to all the wild places he takes the theme in just 3 minutes. It's not intellectual like a concert piece is but it's vibrant and wondrous whereas Zimmer's music for Batman is monotonous and repetitive.

But, more and more, Mr. Zimmer's music is beginning to
> remind me of another genre of classical music, minimalist music. Philip
> Glass, an occasional film score composer, has constructed genuine
> symphonies soley out of ostinatos. Another minimalist, Terry Riley,
> composed a piece called In C, which is the only note in the entire piece.
> And John Cage trumps them all, in 4'33", he asks the performer to do
> nothing. My objection is that the reviewer feels he is on an intellectual
> higher ground, which I feel is not the case.

Ah, the argument that Nolan's movies only need minimalist music. I have no beef with minimalist music, but I can't get behind this argument because Nolan does not make minimalist movies. If the art director, visual effects designer, or cinematographer took the same approach as Zimmer, you would have a completely visually flat and boring movie. If the screen writer took the same approach as Zimmer, the movie would have no plot or conlflict/resolution of conflict. Everything else about this Batman trilogy is done on an epic scale, so why shouldn't the music? And we know from the history of the genre that superhero films excel on an emotional level when they have extravagant music.

> And finally, Zimmer should not have added just woodwinds, but all sorts of
> exotic percussion battery to give Gotham City an industrial gleam. Think
> Don Davis' (another concert composer)score for the Matrix

I'd have loved to hear that.

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