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

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Re: Agreed!
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• Posted by: Flo
• Date: Thursday, July 19, 2012, at 2:08 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Agreed! (JB11sos)

Thanks for your response! Actually it's pretty hard to have a level-headed discussion about filmmusic nowadays. It seems like it's divided into certain camps with crossovers being possible but not the most likely. Then there's also the problem with everyone's native language.

IMHO Zimmer is currently in a phase, like every artist has certain phases. He comes from point A, develops his style a little more, matures and then moves on. I am not sure if this is his end point or if it's just a phase. Even big composers like Goldsmith or Williams tend to have this, where the stuff they do doesn't develop as quickly as it had before.
In terms of how he constructs his themes I have to agree with you, but then accessibility is always one of the main forces in filmmusic. And in that regards he actually delivers. His themes - although simplistic - are there and are recognizable. Although it's tiring to see, that his tools remain pretty stagnant. Then again, he doesn't have to evolve that much, since there are people who praise his stuff above all else. So there's no need for being hasty, meaning there might be a change of his sound, but it will be a slow and evolving process. Would be pretty interesting to see actually.

> he has innovated in other areas (electronic
> manipulation, instrumentation) where he is free to experiment more while
> still retaining that core style. There is no question that his work has
> stagnated somewhat as he is able to delegate more and more responsibility
> to those below him.

I'm pretty much in agreement with you on that issue. Maybe his innovation doesn't lie so much in the field of orchestral writing, but enhancing his basic orchestral usage with interesting electronic manipulation and instrumentation. It's a bit of a shame that people bash him for his usage of an orchestra, while they don't bash other composers for their usage of electronics. His orchestral style may not be as refined, but the way he uses synths is actually pretty good and innovative (except for his tendency to alter the brass maybe )

> In my opinion, Zimmer emulating his own style is no different from a
> composer like Giacchino emulating John Williams' style. I just listened to
> John Carter again and it's amazingly unoriginal. Somehow, no one seems to
> care with a score like that, where the themes are incredibly simple,
> barely developed, and devoid of innovation. It's simply a matter of people
> preferring that style to Zimmer's and declaring one to be superior.

I have tried to listen to John Carter (haven't seen the movie yet, maybe one day) and I have similiar problems with it. It's one hell of a ride, but one that leaves me somewhat cold. I don't want to diminish Giacchino's work as I think he's a great composer and can write very interesting music, but somehow I have not been able to really get into his John Carter score. Maybe one day as well .
As I've said earlier, there is not one approach to film scoring that is right. As there is a multitude of films, there's a great range of music to go with it. If you want to put 60s pop music in your science fiction music, then please, maybe it will work, you never know.
With all this said with as much objectivity as I can right now, my personal opinion to Zimmers most recent soundtrack still remains somewhat the same. I can see that it works, but am dissappointed by what he said about it beforehand and how it turned out in the end.

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