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Wonder Woman 1984
(2020)
Album Cover Art
2020 Regular
2021 "Sketches"
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway
Matt Dunkley

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Walter Fowler
Suzette Moriarty
Kevin Kaska
Carl Rydlund
Jennifer Hammond
David Giuli

Additional Music by:
David Fleming
Steve Mazzaro
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
WaterTower Music
(Regular)
(December 11th, 2020)

WaterTower Music
(Sketches)
(February 5th, 2021)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
The track "Themyscira" was released early as digital single. The 2020 album is a regular U.S. release as a 2-CD set, with a vinyl option. The 2021 "Sketches From the Soundtrack" is a digital-only product, with high resolution options.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are a vintage Hans Zimmer enthusiast who has long awaited his rediscovery of optimistic lyricism and meaningful romance, his work for this sequel triumphantly monumental, enthusiastic, and warm.

Avoid it... if you expect Zimmer to become an artist he is not, for even this transcendent superhero score still contains some stale action material, questionable thematic attribution, and an indelicate and overbearing mix.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,949
WRITTEN 3/3/21
Zimmer
Zimmer
Wonder Woman 1984: (Hans Zimmer) In the second of four planned Warner Brothers films based on a "Wonder Woman" spin-off from the DC Extended Universe of superhero movies, Wonder Woman 1984 was conceived as a standalone entry with a narrative that didn't extend directly out of the 2017 predecessor. Set in the 1980's, Diana Prince, Amazonian princess of the mythical hotbed of feminism, Themyscira, and Smithsonian employee during the day, is drawn into new conflict when one of the artifacts in the museum proves to be a tool of magical mischief that grants wishes while taking compromising tolls on those to whom the wishes are granted. A museum coworker unintentionally becomes a super-powered rival of Wonder Woman, and she teams up with an oil baron who takes his wish towards the expected goal of world domination. The plot worked for some viewers but put off others, the opening scene set on Themyscira in a flashback immensely enjoyable (and, in fact, spawning a film unto itself), but there was criticism about the resurrection of Diana's squeeze from the first film in another man's body, and the lack of consent that man gives to everything Chris Pine is shown doing (and screwing) in this picture. The movie was delayed countless times in 2020, eventually offered in a hybrid theatre and streaming tandem that reportedly failed to recoup the studio's costs for the production. Among the feel-good positives of Wonder Woman 1984 is its full embrace of 1980's nostalgia, and that tone carries over to its music. The origins of Wonder Woman's music came in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for which Hans Zimmer wrote a rowdy battle cry for the character that overshadowed everything else in that score. For 2017's Wonder Woman, a team of composers from Zimmer's Remote Control Productions, led by Rupert Gregson-Williams, produced a decent but brainless collection of power anthems and vintage Media Ventures action techniques. Zimmer himself took the helm of Wonder Woman 1984 despite, once again, his claims that he had retired for good from the superhero genre many years and superhero assignments prior. To his credit, though, much of this score is his own creation, David Fleming and Steve Mazzaro providing additional music but Zimmer tackling the bulk of the work himself.

Logistically, Wonder Woman 1984 presented Zimmer with some interesting decisions to make. First, he summarily dumped Rupert Gregson-Williams's themes, which is a shame given that they represented the same concepts needing themes in this film and could have been salvaged by some development. Second, the tone of the story demanded a different approach to supplying Wonder Woman with a musical persona, the awesome battle cry too aggressively dark for the uplifting spirit of this sequel. Finally, the movie had a wealth of concepts that could demand individual themes, Zimmer responding with countless new identities that don't always succeed in claiming prominent airtime when one would expect. Generally speaking, though, Wonder Woman 1984 supplied Zimmer the chance to shed the morbidly brooding persona that had defined his superhero scores and return to his more emotionally varied and lyrical works of the 1990's. To this end alone, his achievement here is a tremendous success, the composer certainly opening himself up to teasing about writing the very "happy and jolly" superhero music he once dismissed when commenting on the genre music of his friend, Danny Elfman. His musical transformation here provides a variety of highly dynamic and even major-key heroism that at times evokes the wholesome character of James Horner. It's an incredible breath of fresh air for vintage Zimmer enthusiasts, the work combining some of the best pieces of the composer's masculine recording style, overwrought classicism, and even early 1990's playfulness and exuberance into a resurrection certain to thrill listeners still attached to Zimmer's works of the 1980's and early 1990's. That said, Zimmer cannot shake his fundamental tenets of the 2010's, however, the sound of his score still abrasively rendered so that brass and percussion highlights, especially when you have huge groups of horn players all performing in unison, seem synthetic or, at least, manipulated. There is some unfortunate mixing work sprinkled throughout Wonder Woman 1984, the gains always excessive (it's a loud score even when it's trying to be soft) and the choir sometimes placed so distantly that their chanting is only revealed by the "s" sounds that stand out. The action sequences in the score are more intelligent conceptually but, because of the overbearing mix, they lose their ability to impress through nuance or thematic development.

On the upside, there are instruments heard in the music for Wonder Woman 1984 that are not typical to Zimmer blockbusters of the era, prominent placement of xylophone and woodwinds, as well as lighter female choral tones, defining a much broader soundscape here. Zimmer's core set of themes are also truly outstanding on the whole, nailing the heart of the film's major narrative elements. The composer still has difficulty applying his themes to outright action mayhem, however, with the exception of the existing battle cry that is inherently a rhythmic tool to begin with. Action cues tend to devolve into massive walls of sound for Zimmer, and that tendency continues. The composer is among the top influences of the modern overblown crescendo in film music, the ostinatos and ascending phrasing dating back to the highlights of The Thin Red Line and The Da Vinci Code and still prevailing so many years later in emulation by everyone from Zimmer's own clones to younger flashes Ludwig Göransson and Daniel Pemberton. In Wonder Woman 1984, cues both for battle and drama are supplied with Zimmer's drawn-out crescendo structures, cymbal crashes punctuating them with style but the basic idea remaining rather static. He writes set pieces for scenes in a way that the same churning figures, sometimes related to a major theme but not always, simply build and build, get louder and louder, and supply emphasis but not actual musical metamorphosis or catharsis in needed moments at their ends, "Lord of Desire" and "The Beauty in What Is" both examples of this approach. Also eluding Zimmer is pinpoint control over thematic usage, especially in the action sequences. Outside of these rhythmically overwhelming cues, he fares a little better, but his application of motifs to specific little moments in a narrative is so rare that a brief quote like the Dreamstone motif at 2:51 into "1984" is a true pleasure. The composer prefers to explore themes in full, wholesale form even outside of his suites, an idea seemingly not worth stating unless there is at least 40 seconds in which to state it. Part of this is owed to Zimmer's method of writing, and Zimmer remains loyal to that technique The same can be said about taking four dozen brass players and blasting them in unison until they sound like a sample of themselves. Again, Wonder Woman 1984 is a highly refreshing diversion from the personality of Zimmer's superhero music, but it accesses the same vocabulary he's been comfortable using in this era.

Even if the rendering of Zimmer's ideas for Wonder Woman 1984 ironically remains too masculine and reliant upon hefty subwoofers for your taste, you can't help but be attracted to his many great themes for the picture. His ideas for Diana and Themyscira extend (literally) out of the existing battle cry to form several new themes that recur throughout the film, the main hero identity and supplemental themes for optimism (the truth element) and determination (perseverance). The hero, optimism, and determination themes are the siblings of the original battle cry and are often joined by a new rhythm of major key distinction for the character's good heart. The duo of "Themyscira" and "Games" is pivotal in establishing these ideas, and, fortunately for Zimmer, these initial ten minutes of the film is largely devoid of dialogue, allowing the music to flourish along with the fantastic visuals. Zimmer teases the original battle cry on electric strings at 0:05 and 0:20 into "Themyscira" for the logos but soon dives into the new major key rhythm for Diana's themes at 0:26 (and returning at 2:24). The optimistic theme follows at 0:35, 1:10, 2:18, and 2:29, its progressions and choral and string coloration combining to remind of James Horner's work in a startling twist for Zimmer. It's a wonderfully chipper idea for the composer, so brazenly occupied by the major key that it truly stands out whenever dropped into the rest of the score in similar fashion. The determination theme is a knock-out highlight of Wonder Woman 1984 that deserved more air time, introduced in "Themyscira" at 0:47 and 3:08. The most memorable of the lot will likely be Zimmer's main hero theme for Diana, sharing the first four notes with war cry before diverging into its own greatness at 1:04, 1:52, and 2:28 into "Themyscira." In the subsequent "Games," Zimmer provides an exciting new rhythm for female chanting, punctuated by primal woodwind calls, and all three of these Diana themes is reprised. The main hero idea is heard in grandiose form at 3:12 and subdued at 4:14, the optimistic theme occurs with light choir at 2:10 and respectful reservation at 4:35, and the determination theme takes a somber turn at 3:35. In many ways, the equally entertaining "1984" shifts to contemporary times with the same resoundingly positive and hopeful spirit of the first two cues, the three together yielding 16 minutes of airy and, one might dare say, fun Zimmer melodicism that is tempered until the finale of the film. For a substantial number of listeners, these tracks will represent the best of the score.


Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
219 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.65 Stars
***** 66 5 Stars
**** 65 4 Stars
*** 48 3 Stars
** 26 2 Stars
* 14 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
6 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Satisying review for a satisfying score
Viv - June 14, 2021, at 11:58 a.m.
1 comment  (70 views)
Just really good
A Loony Trombonist - June 7, 2021, at 12:15 p.m.
1 comment  (124 views)
A fair review
Zack - June 6, 2021, at 1:00 p.m.
1 comment  (187 views)
This website should be called fooltracks.com   Expand >>
Ichabod Kunkleberry - June 5, 2021, at 8:46 p.m.
3 comments  (569 views)
Newest: June 6, 2021, at 1:02 p.m. by
Zack
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS
2020 Regular Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 90:50
CD 1: (42:45)
• 1. Themyscira (3:51)
• 2. Games (5:17)
• 3. 1984 (7:04)
• 4. Black Gold (4:55)
• 5. Wish We Had More Time (2:54)
• 6. The Stone (2:13)
• 7. Cheetah (3:13)
• 8. Fireworks (2:38)
• 9. Anything You Want (4:45)
• 10. Open Road (5:36)
CD 2: (48:05)
• 11. Without Armor (3:46)
• 12. The White House (7:45)
• 13. Already Gone (5:04)
• 14. Radio Waves (8:02)
• 15. Lord of Desire (2:44)
• 16. The Beauty in What Is (3:48)
• 17. Truth (4:45)
• 18. Lost and Found (Bonus Track) (11:55)
2021 "Sketches" Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 72:26

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert of the 2020 regular album includes a note from the director and a list of performers. There exists no official packaging for the 2021 "Sketches" album.
Copyright © 2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com 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 Wonder Woman 1984 are Copyright © 2020, 2021, WaterTower Music (Regular), WaterTower Music (Sketches) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/3/21 (and not updated significantly since).
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