In Contention


Danny Elfman meets Ennio Morricone

Posted by · 12:37 pm · December 6th, 2009

Hans ZimmerThat’s what I’ve decided the Hans Zimmer score for “Sherlock Holmes” is.  I’ve been listening to it all weekend.  The themes present in that brief snippet we led off yesterday’s Oscar Talk are felt throughout in different ways, but mostly I keep getting a spaghetti western homage.  Specifically, the mandolin picking of Morricone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West” score gets a bold tip of the hat, mixed with a jaunty rhythm that just puts a smile on your face.

I know when I brought this up last week a number of people thumbed their nose at Zimmer, and that’s fine.  I get the animosity to an extent.  But even with the homages, this is a pretty substantial, creative piece of work, in my book.  And I can’t be pegged as being in the tank for bombast because my favorite score of the year is probably still Mark Bradshaw’s subtle work on “Bright Star.”

I thought I’d offer up the first track on the “Holmes” score, a bit called “Discombobulate.”  Have a listen and tell us what you think:

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→ 54 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

54 responses so far

  • 1 12-06-2009 at 12:43 pm

    Kevin said...

    How did you get to listen to the score early? Don’t tell a film score fan like me how awesome it is and then not share your secrets, it’s not fair. :(

  • 2 12-06-2009 at 12:44 pm

    papa said...

    Hans Zimmer? ughh gag me with a spoon he’s as about as bad as Phillip Glass. His only great work is The Thin Red Line.

  • 3 12-06-2009 at 12:55 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Kevin: I don’t get why people always ask me “how did you get to see such and such” or “do such and such” or “hear such and such” early. I am a member of a critics org, not to mention the editor of an awards site, and as such, I just get shit sent my way. No “secret.” Just, you know, my JOB.

    Not to be snooty. I’ve just been getting that question about stuff a lot lately and it just makes me wonder if readers understand what it is I do here.

    Anyway, got it in the mail. That’s why.

  • 4 12-06-2009 at 12:58 pm

    Intermezzo said...

    Can we leave Zimmer behind? Like last year. I really respect your opinion, Kris, but as a hardcore film music fan I disagree. I see nothing really outstanding in Sherlock Holmes. It’s the typical Zimmer, and it’s not authentic as usual. I’m sorry. And I cannot believe you just wrote you liked Mark Bradshaw’s Bright Star, one of the most disappointing scores this year. Quite awful if you ask me. I didn’t even take the time to review the score, because I felt that it wasn’t worhty. I see now we all have different opinions. All respectable of course.

    I hope the music brach will not follow your advise. I’m sorry. This was not a bad year for great scores: Coraline, Ponyo on the cliff, New Moon, The secret of Kells, Amelia, Cheri, Up, Star Trek and a great choice called Drag Me to Hell.

  • 5 12-06-2009 at 12:58 pm

    red_wine said...

    You know what, that’s not half bad. Its actually rather nice. Something Jerry Goldsmith might have composed.

    But let me tell you all about a very shocking discovery in film score. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I recently listened to Desplat’s music from New Moon. Jesus, its swoon-inducing. Its on you tube, have a listen. That absolutely needs an Oscar campaign and nomination. Of all of Desplat’s work his year, New Moon was the least likely to be good but it figures it turned out the best. I think its probably his career’s best theme and much better than Benjamin Button.

  • 6 12-06-2009 at 1:02 pm

    Kevin said...

    Ah I see. I know you’re a critic. I just didn’t know you were given early access to scores too. Don’t worry about sounding snooty, I figure it would get annoying to have those sorts of questions asked constantly. I just didn’t know you got scores early too.

  • 7 12-06-2009 at 1:05 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    There’s a PR firm that is pretty good about getting the word out on scores and they send a boatload every year. Mainly because I’m BFCA.

    Intermezzo: What’s so disappointing about Bradshaw’s score? Are you the type that needs incredibly theme-heavy music in a film? I thought it captured the light-as-a-feather mood of the piece and was quite beautiful as well. I don’t think a score has to slam you over the head to be effective.

  • 8 12-06-2009 at 1:09 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Funny you would title this thread “Elfman Meets Morricone,” because me and Hunter over in the Oscar talk thread were making those same comparisons.

    I don’t understand the hate towards Zimmer, to be honest. Sure, he has a lot of bombast and is no Desplat, but he’s contributed some pretty impressive pieces over the years.

  • 9 12-06-2009 at 1:22 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Oh, and this is kind of old, but you might want to check this out:

    http://www.thewrap.com/article/huh-howard-stern-sag-nominating-committee-11164

  • 10 12-06-2009 at 1:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Oh really? Interesting.

  • 11 12-06-2009 at 1:46 pm

    Intermezzo said...

    Hi Kris, thanks for answering my comment. First of all, my comment wasn’t supposed to harm on diminish your opinion. Ihope to get this clear because I really value and respect your opinion. :)

    I dislike Bright Star because Bradshaw didn’t attemp to reach the characters with his music. He just wrote some atmospheric and quite simple (and short) pieces. It’s not longer than 15 minutes of just instrumental music. Much of it is played with the voices on it. I understand people could like it but there are some strong reasons to not like it, or even hate it. Personally, I found it also quite annoyable. Thematically, it’s kind f empty. I’m sorry we didn’t agree on this.

  • 12 12-06-2009 at 2:05 pm

    Ryan Griffin said...

    Definitely not the first time Zimmer has channeled a bit of Morricone. Check out the similarity to Once Upon a Time in the West with this Pirates track:

    Parlay from POTC: At Worlds End – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzsqAjJnMdA

    Man with a Harmonica from Once Upon a Time – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzsqAjJnMdA

    You can even hear something like the harmonica creep into the background of Parlay about a minute in! The two songs are so similar that I almost feel it goes past homage a bit.

  • 13 12-06-2009 at 2:17 pm

    Danny King said...

    I have to agree with you about Bradshaw’s core. It was, along with Cornish’s performance, the best part of the film for me, and a big reason why I think it is worth seeing. The film moves along at such a slow pace, but the score makes certain scenes watchable and more powerful than they should be.

  • 14 12-06-2009 at 2:25 pm

    Maxim said...

    Kris, I don’t know if you realize this but the first track does indeed sound like Elfman. In particular it reminds me a lot of a particular track from his ‘Serenada Schizophrana’ album called “A Brass Thing” (with a bit of the “The Quadruped Patrol” thrown in):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qohJUegSv9Q

    I don’t know if anyone hears what I do? In some ways it strikes me a somewhat simplified version (well, sorry) of the Elfman’s tune. Not exactly the same of course and I’m not implying plagarism. Just though I’d throw it out there since we are discussing similarities.

    Overall Zimmer’s tune is nice alright but it lacks a certain true creativity. That said I am not a huge Zimmer fan (and basing my comments on just a single tune) though I am somewhat turned off by the fact that a lot of his more recent scores supposedly employ at least one other composer.

    I love Philip Glass though. And, papa , way to insult my favorite composer and to misspell his name at the same time.

  • 15 12-06-2009 at 2:29 pm

    Loyal said...

    At least no one is questioning why you’re seeing Avatar early Kristopher.

  • 16 12-06-2009 at 2:30 pm

    daveylow said...

    I hate the idea of Morricone and Zimmer in the same sentence.

    Will Desplat receive a nomination this year? If so, for which film?

  • 17 12-06-2009 at 2:36 pm

    Matt King said...

    I loved Bradshaw’s work on Bright Star. Just really subtle work that thematically matches the piece beautifully. The pieces were so fragile feeling and just all around wonderful. Of course, I love that whole movie immensely.

  • 18 12-06-2009 at 2:43 pm

    John said...

    Hi everyone at InContention!…It’s an interesting debate going on here …and I’m seeing some much invested hate in Hans Zimmer … don’t get me wrong …I think he’s overrated …but I don’t think he’s a bad composer,… I loved the all knowing Gladiator score,The Dark Knight ,Batman Begins ,Pirates of the Carribean… they all have parts that are distinctive to Zimmer … but truly original in their on way…

    As for this year… I’m beting on Clint Mansell for his haunting,wonderfully quiet space themed “Moon” score… Also Alexandre Desplat for “Coco Avant Chanel” ,or “Fantastic Mr. Fox” ,or “Cheri”… definetly not for the new “Twlight ” movie “New Moon”… ofcourse he did a great job… or a better job than Carter Burwell… Also… as a final note… Desplat is a genius … pure genius …had to say it outloud …heard all of his scores … and the thing I like about them is …subtlety ..quiet… mesmerizing … no strings attached… clearly his scores are thought out of the box… every composer should and maybe plenty do think out of the box… but this guy…he thinks in a different time and space than ours …

  • 19 12-06-2009 at 3:01 pm

    Jason said...

    Hey, I don’t know where to post this, but David Denby and Anthony Lane have posted their best films of the year over at the New Yorker.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/tny/2009/12/lane-best-movies-2009.html

  • 20 12-06-2009 at 3:03 pm

    Carson Dyle said...

    Have the Zimmer bashers ever seen The Lion King?

    Just curious.

  • 21 12-06-2009 at 3:06 pm

    Intermezzo said...

    I don’t think Zimmer is a bad composer. The problem is that now he understands music as a sound efect more than an organic thing that lives inside a film. That’s my point of view in an extremely short version.

    Yes, Desplat should be nominated for New Moon. Why not? Because you didn’t like the film? That shouldn’t be an excuse to drop one of the most crafte and extraordinary musical pieces this year. He definitely deserves the spot for New Moon more than for Cheri, Coco or Fantastic.

    And please, I hope to see Bruno Coulais (Coraline) or Christopher Young (Drag me to hell) nominated. It’s about time.

  • 22 12-06-2009 at 4:09 pm

    tony rock said...

    You guys are too funny. As long as the music sounds good and moves the viewer in some way, it’s done a good job. Zimmer’s music always manages to move me (Gladiator, Pirates, Da Vinci Code, Dark Knight), regardless of film quality.

  • 23 12-06-2009 at 4:10 pm

    Maxim said...

    “I loved the all knowing Gladiator score,The Dark Knight ,Batman Begins ,Pirates of the Carribean… they all have parts that are distinctive to Zimmer … but truly original in their on way.”

    The Pirates of the Carribean is credited to Zimmer’s protege Klaus Badelt. That’s part of the issue people are having with Zimmer – ever since he established “Remote Control Productions” it’s hard to tell how much of his scores are actually his. The collaborative efforts don’t change the quality of the music itself of course, but they do affect people’s perceptions of the composer’s “worth”. I am not the most informed person when it comes to this issue though I certainly read some pretty strong accusations (as I’m sure many others have).

    And I don’t think Zimmer is a “bad composer” though I think he’s action scores are more successful than his dramatic one. It’s just that I don’t consider him among the top composers currently working.

    As for the “Holmes” score, I guess we’ll just have to wait and hear.

  • 24 12-06-2009 at 4:11 pm

    tony rock said...

    Besides, how are you people able to remember every single film score you’ve ever heard in order to claim that Zimmer is unoriginal and simply ripping off past composers?

  • 25 12-06-2009 at 5:59 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “now he understands music as a sound efect more than an organic thing that lives inside a film.”

    Have you ever heard the man discuss his work on The Dark Knight? It flies in the face of that statement. I think you’re being too quick to generalize a personal distaste for a composer across all his work, and the fact is, he’s responsible for some stellar achievements in film music composition.

  • 26 12-06-2009 at 6:27 pm

    Bryan said...

    I’ll agree that Zimmer has done some good work, but The Dark Knight is not it.

    I’m liking what I’ve heard of Sherlock Holmes, though.

  • 27 12-06-2009 at 8:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    We disagree.

  • 28 12-06-2009 at 9:13 pm

    Richard said...

    The Dark Knight score is tremendous.

  • 29 12-07-2009 at 12:18 am

    Hunter said...

    You Zimmer-dissers come across like a bunch of stuffy old classical music critics getting their panties in a bunch over that new popular musical band the Beatles.

  • 30 12-07-2009 at 1:37 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Love these bits of score there.
    The Ennio reference in Pirates 3 is much better understood when you see the film. It’s a duel, a confrontation, hence that music.

    I also believe Desplat should get a nod for New Moon, allthough the thought of that film billing itself as an “Oscar Nominee” is tear inducing.

  • 31 12-07-2009 at 2:11 am

    red_wine said...

    I agree with intermezzo and Spuij, New Moon should be nominated. What a pity Desplat wrote this score for this movie of all movies. But we must recognize below the line craft irrespective of the quality of the movie. Afterall garbage like Transformers and 2012 is regularly Oscar nominated for visual effects.

    Most people have accused Desplat that though his music is pleasant sounding, its a bit clinical or like technically perfect but rarely moving. Take Benjamin Button, finely composed but cold(like everything else in the movie). Williams on the other hand always has a wealth of warmth in music, hence he’s the most beloved composer. But with New moon, there was actually emotional engagement rather than just admiration. I don’t know how it works in the movie because I’ll never see it but its definitely his best score this year I think and the one he should be recognized for.
    Here’s the main theme:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urLr56xGhfc

    And a word on Zimmer, the sound effects comparison is spot on. His music for The Dark Knight could definitely be classified as such. I thought he might actually be eligible for Best Sound Editing. Holmes though sounds droll.

  • 32 12-07-2009 at 6:50 am

    alexku said...

    Honestly I dont understand too the hate for Zimmer. Maybe because he’s adored by the general audience? And maybe because every scores he writes instantly become the “standard”, the “soundtrack benchmark” for every film producer ?

    That’s a fact. Everybody I know when they listen to chevaliers de sangreal ( da vinci ) fall into tears. Some people even love the movie just because of the end scene and the music.

    I like desplat but I dont see it as a master like John Williams yet . I think he’s not even close to Zimmer. Because his themes and writing are not memorable at all. You dont only need a good orchestration and complex counterpoints to make a classic soundtrack.

    A great composer can make a good movie awesome and memorable. ( mufasa’s death in lion king, the climbing of the rock in the end scene …. or the finale chase scene and escape of E.T )
    That’s not the case yet , for Desplat. He’s a great wallpaper music maker.

  • 33 12-07-2009 at 8:42 am

    daveylow said...

    I have nothing against Hans Zimmer at all. But when it comes to investing money in buying albums by film composers I want to listen to, I never immediately buy a score by Hans Zimmer. I buy a lot of film soundtracks and he’s just not a composer that grabs me.

  • 34 12-07-2009 at 9:20 am

    RJNeb2 said...

    Really liking what I’m hearing of the Sherlock Holmes score. Sounds great fun and probably tons better than the film itself.

    And, at the behest, of a previous poster, I’m giving a listen to some of Alexandre Desplat’s score from New Moon – and yes, it is gorgeous.

  • 35 12-07-2009 at 11:31 am

    Maxim said...

    “You Zimmer-dissers come across like a bunch of stuffy old classical music critics getting their panties in a bunch over that new popular musical band the Beatles.”

    If critisizing Zimmer is equivalent to hating the Beatles than I guess I am a Beatles hater. Geez, man, give me a break.

    A good score is a good score and I wouldn’t hold the fact that it’s for ‘New Moon’ against Desplat, especially he’s not the one scoring Ron Howard’s junk.

    And also because the great Carter Burwell scored a Twilight movie too (and I wouldn’t want to hold anything against him).

    In any case, it seems fair to generalize that any film music discussion with 20 of more replies has a 100% probability of someone brining up John Williams (regardless of context).

    That’s how you know when you are a master, I guess.

  • 36 12-07-2009 at 2:57 pm

    colby said...

    ok…everybody’s entitled to their opinion. and i can understand why some would not care for Zimmer. and yes, he does tend to fall into trends. but you simply cannot deny this list:

    Driving Miss Daisy
    True Romance
    The Lion King
    Muppet Treasure Island (seriously)
    The Rock
    The Thin Red Line
    The Prince of Egypt
    Gladiator
    Black Hawk Down
    Pearl Harbor
    The Last Samurai
    Pirates
    Tears of the Sun
    King Arthur
    The Weather Man
    Batman Begins
    TDK
    Da Vinci Code
    Frost/Nixon
    and many many many more

    Now, granted, these are not all great films, in fact for many of them, the score is the sole redeeming factor. But Zimmer didn’t write these movies, he scored them, and for his work he demands respect.

    All composers fall into similarities in their own work. At least when Zimmer does, he’s using the good bits over and over again.

  • 37 12-07-2009 at 3:44 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    That Muppets score is awesome and the finale of Tears of the Sun is some of the most rousing and exciting stuff he’s ever done. Even if it’s a co-operation with Lebo M.

  • 38 12-08-2009 at 2:18 am

    Sean Stangland said...

    I would have guessed this was Elfman had I heard it before reading the credits … but then I would have remembered that this is 2009, and that Elfman hasn’t written a memorable score since, oh, 1997 or so.

    This one track is very promising. Zimmer’s work all too often turns into what I like to call whirling dirges (“Hannibal,” “The Ring,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Dark Knight”), which is disappointing when you consider how wonderful his scores for “Gladiator,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Lion King” and the last two “Pirates” movies are.

    Giacchino’s duo of “Star Trek” and “Up” and Christopher Young’s just plain awesome score for “Drag Me To Hell” are the ones to beat this year, IMHO.

  • 39 12-08-2009 at 9:15 am

    Maxim said...

    “I would have guessed this was Elfman had I heard it before reading the credits … but then I would have remembered that this is 2009, and that Elfman hasn’t written a memorable score since, oh, 1997 or so.”

    I think it’s funny someone would insult Elfman (a far superior composer imo – not that I want to insult Zimmer but the above comment sort of makes it ok to say that in the context) and then go on to praise that particular track.

    Far be it from me to start listing his filmography but have you heard the score to say, “Taking Woodstock”?

  • 40 12-08-2009 at 10:26 am

    Sean Stangland said...

    I have not heard “Taking Woodstock,” actually.

    Danny Elfman lost me for good with “Spider-Man.” I hated a lot of things about that movie, but none more than the maddeningly bland score. And that score seemed to set the tone for all superhero films to follow — none of them have a distinct, rousing theme now. The only thing that comes close is Zimmer’s “Batman Begins”/”Dark Knight” motif, which encompasses two whole notes.

    The only Elfman cue I can even remember from the post-“Men in Black” era is the opening from “Planet of the Apes.” In that same time, Zimmer — or, more accurately, Zimmer and his gigantic horde of collaborators — delivered “Gladiator,” “Dead Man’s Chest,” “At World’s End” and “The Thin Red Line,” memorable scores that are arguably the best thing about each of those films.

    Of course, it would be hard for any composer to continue the kind of hot streak Elfman had at the beginning of his career, from “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” to “Beetlejuice” to “Batman” to “Nightmare Before Christmas” and so on.

  • 41 12-08-2009 at 11:42 am

    alexku said...

    Gladiator and Thin Red Line are “Zimmer” scores 100 %. Not “gigantic horde of collaborators” scores.

  • 42 12-08-2009 at 12:44 pm

    Maxim said...

    Sean, I think your occusations of blandness as being brought upon by Elfman are largely unwarranted.

    Putting aside that Elfman is largely responsible for creating the post-Superman superhero sound with his numerous scores for everything from “Nightbreed”, “Batman”, “Darkman”, “Men in Black”, etc., his Spiderman scores are not that bad. It may not be his most memorable theme per se but I think people are to quick to dismiss everything they don’t remember. In fact I think the music that plays during the train sequence in Spiderman 2, among other things is great rousing superhero music.

    He may not be as “colorful” as he was during the Oingo Boingo days but he sure isn’t bland either. “Nachno Libre”, “Corpse Bride”, “Hellboy 2” (even “Wanted”) etc. The man’s still got it. And I think his Terminator score is actually very misunderstood.

    My biggest regret here is that we will not be able to hear his “Wolfman” score any time soon. I’m sure that the material really would have gotten his creative juices flowing, creatively speaking.

    So to sum things up, I think you are being too hard on the man. So often we impose our own perceptions of what someone should be doing and forget to enjoy the work that they are doing. That came out cheesy but I think you know what I mean.

  • 43 12-08-2009 at 12:47 pm

    Maxim said...

    Also, I recommend checking out Amazon’s samples of his “Taking Woodstock” score. It’s pretty lowkey acoustic stuff but I found it enjoyable. Kind of sounds like something Gustavo Santaolalla would compose (if he knew what he was doing ;) ).

  • 44 12-08-2009 at 1:35 pm

    red_wine said...

    Spider-man score is good not great. The theme isn’t the strongest but its still recognizable and can be quite rousing at times in the movie. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory also had a good score.

    Milk last year was a very good effort effort in my opinion. Perhaps his first straight drama effort, I thought it was completely worthy of its nomination. The main titles music is a near classic I think and even when its reprised later in the movie, I found it to be quite poignant. Infact I think his main title music for Milk perfectly represents the struggle of gay people to get equal rights.
    Here’s the main title music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZm3kkeqLxo

    Here’s the reprise later in the movie
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3BMvUBJqVc

    Both are extremely touching, specially if you’ve seen the movie.

  • 45 12-08-2009 at 1:51 pm

    Sean Stangland said...

    alexku: “Gladiator and Thin Red Line are “Zimmer” scores 100 %. Not “gigantic horde of collaborators” scores.”

    Zimmer shares top credit for the “Gladiator” score with vocalist Lisa Gerrard. The album also credits Klaus Badelt as co-writer on five tracks.

    Maxim: “I think you are being too hard on the man.”

    That’s probably true. All I know is that I haven’t bought an Elfman album since Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho,” and that’s not even his score. I am looking forward to whatever he brings to “Alice in Wonderland” next year. I also forgot about his songs in “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory,” which were just about the only good things about that movie after the first 15 minutes.

    I will check out “Taking Woodstock” later tonight.

  • 46 12-08-2009 at 2:42 pm

    Maxim said...

    One last thing, why I wouldn’t be too suprised if you’ll find “Taking Woodstock” boring, what about Elfman first foray into serious “serious” misic ‘Serenada Schizophrana’ (which technically also happens to double as a soundtrack)?

    Personally, I was pretty impressed with it.

  • 47 12-10-2009 at 5:33 pm

    Fabrice said...

    not bad, but there are better scores from Hans like Gladiator, Cool Runnings, Crimson Tide, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pearl Harbor or Da Vinci Code. Well, let’s wait to the full album :-)

  • 48 12-13-2009 at 11:11 am

    judy said...

    I really like this Zimmer score for Sherlock Holmes so far. I found abit of it on line the other day and kept playing it over and over again. And I have to add I loved the music in Bright Star too. Enough to buy it.

  • 49 12-20-2009 at 2:18 pm

    Ben said...

    …also das macht laune auf mehr vom Score, ich kann es kaum erwarten bis der Score in deutschland veröffentlicht wird. Hans Zimmer und sein Team von Remote Control bleiben die
    besten Score Producer die es gibt, finde ich.

    schöne grüße aus Deutschland/NRW

    Ben

  • 50 12-29-2009 at 11:34 pm

    Jim_gator said...

    I’m just an average moviegoer with some background in music. I came across this site because I was serching for any comments regarding the similarities with Zimmer’s score for “Sherlock Holmes” and Morricone’s score for “Once Upon a Time in the West”. While watching the movie last weekend, I immediately was stricken with the theme music used when Holmes was “afoot”. There appears to be more than a little borrowing from Morricone’s “Farewell to Cheyenne” and “The First Tavern”. I could only find sample plays from Amazon, but I think that there is enough to make a comparison…specially to “The First Tavern”.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio/B000002W71/ref=pd_krex_dp_001_004?ie=UTF8&track=004&disc=001

  • 51 5-31-2010 at 7:18 pm

    Pamela Curry said...

    As an aspiring Director, I once lurked at a wanna be composer’s group. Some of these replies remind me of those.

    I’ve just watched, er, listened to Sherlock Holmes about 20 times. The music and music editing was very appropriate for that particular film. The point, irregardless of how good or bad the work by Zimmerman is in musical terms, what matters to the film is how it works there.
    In fact no one element should be greater than the whole, particularly in film.

  • 52 12-15-2010 at 4:56 pm

    Dame Edna said...

    With Zimmer, there’s a perceived lack of integrity among many, as well as a perceived damage done to the art of film composing, to anyone who’s paying close attention. Zimmer’s style is “de facto” because he multiplies his resources by using many apprentices, and thus saturates the market with “his” scores. Usually you’ll find he has a relatively indirect inspirational hand in most these scores, if you read enough interviews with the studio. Composing the themes, and farming the work out to his apprentices, he can have a consistent voice and work on more films. The chosen style is one that seems tailor made for group work, being that it is simple and repetitive. A solo composer can’t compose that quickly, and even if they had apprentices working under them, they would get less even results if they wrote unique music. John Williams and Danny Elfman are relatively slow, since they are doing all their own composing, and write in uncommon styles. And when there has been additional music for these two, they credited in more than the secret cue sheets that nobody has access to. An example is Music by William Ross, Themes by John Williams. Or Music by Danny Elfman, Shirley Walker “Charge of the Berserkers”

    To contrast Zimmer, no former famous film composer was ever able to be so prolific in their number of credits, because they did not use so many other composers so frequently. So, it’s de facto by design. It’s standardized. Some call it revolutionary. I call it a coup. What happens is everything is so standardized that difference seems wrong to the layman. Test audiences are not challenged in anyway, and studios get the music with fastest possible turnaround and most predictability. It’s purely economic, and not one bit artistic, much like the trend of name directors being robbed of their formerly established final cut privileges. Creative rights matter. Composers need a union like Writers, Directors, Producers, etc.