Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Score Review: The Dark Knight by Hans Zimmer and J. N. Howard

4/5 Stars

Lately, I've had Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's score to the Dark Knight on repeat. Those who know me well are aware that I am a soundtrack NUT. I've been collecting them and listening to them since I first discovered John Williams' masterpiece, Star Wars.
Anyway, I wanted to take a minute to write about how much I like the soundtrack to The Dark Knight.I've seen the movie along with the gazillions of people the world over and I must say that the score does a great job of capturing the spirit of the film. In all honesty, I felt the film began to overstay its welcome by the last half hour but there are some great moments in it overall.
Zimmer deftly alternates between darker passages and propulsive action, going back to his 5 note Batman motif which he utilized for Batman Begins. I had a conversation with someone at work yesterday and he insisted that the score didn't work as well as it could have since Zimmer didn't use a more leitmotific approach with his theme the way Williams would have. This may be true but I still feel that with this installment, he gives listeners enough action music using non-traditional delivery ("Why So Serious?) balanced by more classical action music that propels the action on screen without screaming "cheezy superhero!!!". If anyone has any doubts about this, just listen to how well he mixes his older Batman theme with his newer material in this track , "A Dog Chasing Cars", (possibly my favorite from the entire album):

He also gives Joker an one-note screech that perfectly captures his mental dementia. Anyway, with the exception of one or two tracks from the original Batman Begins Soundtrack, I was never really drawn to listen to it more than a few times but for some reason, Zimmer's work with Dark Knight has really pulled me in.


David Bernal said...

Awesome, thanks for the review!
Btw, which are your favorite scores?

Mr. Scribbles said...

I'll have to give the soundtrack a listen. I completely agree with you about the Dark Knight. I think you could've dropped all the two face stuff at the end. There's your extra half hour.

Fill Marc Sagadraca said...

Another thing he does with the Joker along with the screechy one-note is the descending 2-note theme (first heard when the Joker takes off his clown mask in the opening bank robbery) which is the reverse of the 2 notes ascending theme that he does with Batman. So sonically Batman and Joker are opposites and like the Joker says, they complete each other.

Olivier Ladeuix said...

I love animation but lately I found myself having a growing interest in movie scores to the point that I am going to buy one of those controller keyboards and go back to playing the piano. I am not too sure what you talked about on that post but I will read the previous ones and probably get to understand what this is about ;-)

Thanks Chris.