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The Dark Knight Rises
Album Cover Art
Co-Composed and Co-Arranged by:

Additional Music and Arrangements by:
Lorne Balfe
Tom Holkenborg
Andrew Kawczynski
Jasha Klebe
Steve Mazzaro
Ramin Djawadi

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway
Matt Dunkley

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Walter Fowler
Kevin Kaska
Yvonne Suzette Moriarty
Rick Gioninazzo
Elizabeth Finch
Carl Rydlund
Andrew Kinney
Geoff Stradling
Ed Neumeister

Ambient Design by:
Mel Wesson

Co-Produced by:
Stephen Lipson
Chris Nolan
Alex Gibson
Labels Icon
WaterTower Music
(July 17th, 2012)
Availability Icon
There is no single satisfactory release of all available music. The CD and digital variations of the initial album unlock access to differing bonus material online.

A limited edition, 180 gram vinyl version (minus the track "Necessary Evil") was scheduled for release two months after the primary CD and download options. It was initially priced at $28.
Nominated for a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you've bought into the hyped notion that Hans Zimmer's music for the prior two films in this franchise is the work of a genius, in which case you'll enjoy much more of the same in this third entry.

Avoid it... if you expect Zimmer to deliver on his promises, because what little new material he brings to the table here is obscured by the stagnant brooding, pounded rhythms, and simplistic themes that define all of these scores.
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WRITTEN 7/15/12
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The Dark Knight Rises: (Hans Zimmer/Various) Hesitation gripped director Christopher Nolan in regards to a third installment in his rebooted Batman franchise of the 2000's. His satisfaction with the wildly successful The Dark Knight of 2008 and desire to avoid producing redundant sequels led him to very carefully plan the process of developing a script for 2012's The Dark Knight Rises that would explore new territory and distinctly fresh villains. With relentless viral and traditional promotion and the stirring of Oscar talk for this, the reportedly final entry in the lifespan of this resurrection of the franchise, anticipation could not be greater. Set eight years after the events of the previous film, The Dark Knight Rises forces an exiled Batman back into action due to the combined events caused by two new adversaries: Catwoman and Bane. The former and her alter ego, Selina Kyle, present Bruce Wayne with expected complications to his love life and Bane, among the most intelligent of brutes Batman has ever faced, is interested in causing havoc through terrorist activities. A returning core of characters (and their respective actors) ensures continuity, as do flashbacks that return to elements in Batman Begins to bring the trilogy to a narrative close. Lost in all of the media hype and sensationalism surrounding this franchise's second coming is the artistic merit of Nolan's achievements, and a contributing factor to the frenzy is undoubtedly Hans Zimmer's involvement as the concept's now most frequent musical voice. Unfortunately for Zimmer, his actual speaking voice is so prevalent in interviews that the soundtracks for these films have become their own form of spectacle. Not since John Williams of the early 1980's has a film composer become such a mainstream attraction, and Zimmer indulges the attention by constantly unleashing his thought process and sense of humor in interviews that don't always make much sense when strung together. The role of media star threatens to diminish Zimmer's ability to return someday to the balanced and original ideas with which he first announced his presence to the scoring scene in the early 1990's. Others associated with his circle of influence tend to toil in silence more often than not, including John Powell, who bleeds creativity in relative obscurity despite sharing Zimmer's zany sense of humor.

Compared to the year of hype generated by Zimmer (and the studio on his behalf) for The Dark Knight Rises, you hear practically nothing from a veteran composer like James Horner, whose superior music for The Amazing Spider-Man is unfortunately overshadowed by the clamor for Zimmer's wisdom. Usually, there is no detriment to talking to the press, especially when so few composers receive such attention. But Zimmer, in the process of intellectualizing everything he does for his major assignments, somehow manages to make contradictory and senseless statements all too often. He has declared in recent years that he would retire after his next assignment (which did not happen), develop franchise themes in radical ways (which has not happened), and explore revolutionary new methods of applying music to movies (which has not happened, either). One has to wonder if he is so wrapped up in the hype surrounding his celebrity status that he has lost touch with the reality of his musical output. He is precisely that: a celebrity. Convincing his fans of his genius is one feat, but to read the incessantly glowing praise from Nolan about the man's revolutionary methodologies is both curious and frustrating to those who recognize that beneath the glitz and glamour is a composer whose music has become stagnant and underachieving. Zimmer's mouth is his worst enemy for anyone interested in actually examining the merits of his structures and instrumentation. More than a year prior to the debut of The Dark Knight Rises, he stated about the score, "The one thing I can tell you is that it's going to be a lot more epic. Extraordinarily epic." After finishing the score, he remarked, "We went in a completely different direction for Bane," and "I do think that this movie leads to a sort of resolution - that those same two notes [for Wayne] have shifted and now provide an answer." The problem with these statements is that they are technically false. Nearly everything Zimmer has stated about this score is a gross exaggeration of what he actually accomplished, predictably causing the usual eye-rolling from Zimmer skeptics who regularly lament the difference between the composer's spoken intentions and his underwhelming results. Fans of his will not care; in fact, they will declare "intellectual" film music enthusiasts to be party-poopers and continue blasting Zimmer's music to their balls' content. In some ways, a simpler appreciation indeed could be healthier for the soul.

There's something for everyone to appreciate and loathe in The Dark Knight Rises, regardless of whether or not you've been unlucky enough to attempt to understand Zimmer's professed reasoning for his moves. The important facts about the score that are not in dispute include the departure of James Newton Howard from co-compositional duties, the continuation of the general sound and feel of the franchise (as well as the basic themes), and the introduction of two new themes to represent the arriving villains as appropriate. It's safe to assume that few people will be happy about the album situation for the score, but some points on that subject will be saved for the end of this review. For many listeners, Howard's music for the prior two scores in the franchise was key to providing the sentimental heart that was absent in Zimmer's brooding material. Some even point to it as the highlight of the franchise's music. This time, Howard begged out of the franchise, publically stating that he didn't want to impede upon the relationship that Zimmer and Nolan had solidified with Inception. The "bullshit meter" is pegging on that explanation, with the dreaded phrase "creative differences" a more likely reason for Howard's wish to divest himself from the equation. Zimmer really could have used Howard's softer touch for The Dark Knight Rises, with cues like "Mind if I Cut In?" and "Nothing Out There" desperately needing better emotional connectivity (and, in the case of the first cue, a solidly alluring theme for Selina Kyle). Lorne Balfe and Zimmer's other ghostwriters failed to pick up the slack. Also not disputed by many enthusiasts is the fact that The Dark Knight Rises really does reprise much of what came before, even emulating Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in its technique of yanking exact cues from the prior scores for new applications. Even if this usage does not bother you, there will be issues with the fact that Zimmer doesn't really unleash his themes in the fashion that impressed listeners at the end of primary album for The Dark Knight. Mostly, The Dark Knight Rises represents an extension of the same material without glorifying it beyond the continued pounding of its dark muscularity. The two-note theme for the protagonist returns, as does the longer-lined idea for the concept that continues to remind of The Da Vinci Code, though the latter isn't as extensively conveyed as some might prefer, especially in the "Rise" cue that otherwise does return to the boy soprano solos from Batman Begins (albeit cut and pasted from "Corynorhinus").

Ratings Icon
Average: 2.54 Stars
***** 257 5 Stars
**** 264 4 Stars
*** 356 3 Stars
** 435 2 Stars
* 604 1 Stars
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(Comment Deleted by Poster)   Expand >>
Mitchell Kyler Martin - December 29, 2016, at 12:24 p.m.
2 comments  (761 views)
Newest: February 5, 2017, at 5:45 p.m. by
TDKR average critics rating
Chris - October 6, 2013, at 10:54 a.m.
1 comment  (1328 views)
The hate is laughable
Geoff - July 17, 2013, at 9:25 a.m.
1 comment  (1643 views)
Zimmer Fan who disliked soundtrack
Will S. - June 27, 2013, at 11:19 a.m.
1 comment  (1513 views)
I Cannot Believe What I Just Read
Brendan Cochran - May 28, 2013, at 9:22 p.m.
1 comment  (1811 views)
This reviewer   Expand >>
MY Tan - April 24, 2013, at 1:57 a.m.
3 comments  (2391 views)
Newest: August 12, 2013, at 4:17 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 83:55
Regular Tracks: (51:18)
• 1. A Storm is Coming (0:37)
• 2. On Thin Ice (2:55)
• 3. Gotham's Reckoning (4:08)
• 4. Mind if I Cut In? (3:27)
• 5. Underground Army (3:12)
• 6. Born in Darkness (1:57)
• 7. The Fire Rises (5:33)
• 8. Nothing Out There (2:51)
• 9. Despair (3:14)
• 10. Fear Will Find You (3:08)
• 11. Why Do We Fall? (2:03)
• 12. Death By Exile (0:23)
• 13. Imagine the Fire (7:25)
• 14. Necessary Evil (3:16)
• 15. Rise (7:11)
CD-Only Bonus Tracks: (17:47)
• 16. Bombers Over Ibiza (Junkie XL Remix) (5:51)
• 17. No Stone Unturned (7:29)
• 18. Risen from Darkness (4:27)

Digital-Only Bonus Tracks: (17:24)
• 16. Bombers Over Ibiza (Junkie XL Remix) (5:51)
• 17. The Shadows Betray You (5:20)
• 18. The End (6:13) Exclusive Track: (3:17)
• 16. All Out War (3:17)
(total time includes the sum of all unique tracks)

Notes Icon
The insert includes a long note from the director touting the greatness of the composer, including applause for specific music not included on the album. The packaging contains no actual photography from the film.
Copyright © 2012-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Dark Knight Rises are Copyright © 2012, WaterTower Music and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/15/12 (and not updated significantly since).
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