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Comments about the soundtrack for Inception (Hans Zimmer)

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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.
• Posted by: JW
• Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010, at 12:01 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: I get what Zimmer is trying to do. (Fraley)
Message Edited: Thursday, July 15, 2010, at 12:03 p.m.

> Zimmer's more atmospheric/brooding scores I don't think are ever likely to
> appeal to more traditional score collectors, but I do believe I understand
> what he is attempting to accomplish with scores like The Dark Knight and
> Inception. Essentially, Zimmer is intentionally avoiding the traditional
> approach of obvious themes and intellectual concepts such as thematic
> development, and instead is attempting to develop sounds and chord
> progressions that elicit an intended emotional response subconsciously
> rather than consciously. If you attempt to sit down and listen to
> Inception and analyze it in the same fashion you would John Powell's
> outstanding "How To Train Your Dragon", you would like grow
> bored quickly, as Inception doesn't lend itself to intellectual
> dissection. On the other hand, if you wait till late at night, or are
> otherwise in that half asleep/half awake state where your conscious and
> subconscious can almost connect, and listen to Inception, the music makes
> total sense. Considering the context of the film, that seems very
> interesting. I think the trick to appreciating a score such as The Dark
> Knight or Inception is actually to not think about it at all -- don't
> listen for the themes, don't try to pick out compositional techniques,
> just let it wash over you feel what it wants you to feel. Now, whether or
> not Zimmer has been successful as this approach, or whether or not the
> film could have been better served by a different approach or score, is
> certainly debatable.

> As a curiosity, I wonder if males and females would have a different
> response to this score. In other words, are women more likely to connect
> to the "emotional" approach? That would be interesting, as it
> would be the polar opposite of Zimmer's power-anthem style, which is
> generally described as being very masculine.

Yeah, I agree that Zimmer thinks that's what he's doing... The problem is what he has actually done is develop a score that is pretty much a flat line in regards to emotion... When I listen to HTTD my mind gets drawn into a creative mode where I can create my own store based on the music's incredible highs and lows... Inception all my mind wants to think about is nothing... It's objectively boring.

For example, take "Forbidden Friendship" a fairly simple track (complex enough) that builds slowly adding instrumentation and chorals as it goes... This is the kind of thing that Zimmer used to be good at (I'm looking at you Crimson Tide, and even Angel and Demons which Clemmensen mentions in is review), but now with Inception we get tracks that don't really build at all. They repeat the same few notes ad noseum, maybe changing octaves or speed and then fall flat with no emotional explosion and emotional response from the listener... Bottom line: if you sit down and listen to the two Batman scores, Transformers, and Inception things really start to run together forming a muddled, tired mess.

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