Tag Archives: Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman talks Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)


Danny Elfman talks Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

Oh dear…I actually had some hope for this sequel at first. When Alice Through the Looking Glass was announced, I felt excited because I’d enjoyed Alice in Wonderland and I was initially up for a return to this crazy world. And then the previews started and things got…weird (and I don’t mean weird in a good way).

The more I watched and learned, the more this felt like a re-hash of the first film (with Sasha Baron Cohen thrown into the mix). I’m not ALWAYS opposed to sequels, but if the best they can do is remix the original plot…then forget it!!

That being said, Danny Elfman DID return to score the film, so that is one positive in a film that largely disappointed. I hope you enjoy this brief interview with the composer.

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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Danny Elfman talks Alice in Wonderland (2010)


Danny Elfman talks Alice in Wonderland (2010)

If I’m perfectly honest, Alice in Wonderland (2010) should be included in my “Didn’t Think I’d Like it (But I did!)” series because, well, I really didn’t think I would like it when the previews arrived. But during my spring break that year I went to see the film because a friend of mine wanted to see it and I actually enjoyed it.

This film is actually something of a sequel to the first Alice in Wonderland (1951) because Alice is now grown up and has all but forgotten her childhood adventure in Wonderland (renamed here as “Underland”). Finding herself on the cusp of being forcefully pushed into a marriage she doesn’t want, Alice unexpectedly returns to Wonderland/Underland, where, as it turns out, she must slay the Jabberwocky, defeat the Red Queen and return the White Queen to power. Mayhem and insanity ensues.

One of the highlights of this film is the musical score by Danny Elfman. The composer is well known for his collaborations with Tim Burton, and this effort is one of their more memorable efforts in recent years.

In the brief interview I found, Elfman briefly talks about his work on the film’s score (I always love watching interviews like this one, I just wish they could be longer!). I hope you enjoy this interview clip.

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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Danny Elfman talks Meet the Robinsons (2007)


Danny Elfman talks Meet the Robinsons (2007)

 There are (unfortunately) a lot of films in the Walt Disney canon that are extremely underrated, and Meet the Robinsons is one of them. I admit, when I saw the previews for this film, I didn’t think it was something I would like. How I ended up watching this film, I really don’t remember, but I do know that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

The film follows Lewis, a 12-year old orphan who is an aspiring inventor. He’s obsessed with locating his mother, who abandoned him at an orphanage as an infant. Lewis builds a memory scanner that he hopes will show him who his mother is, but in the midst of the science fair, a strange kid named Wilbur Robinson shows up (claiming to be a ‘time cop’) and before he knows it, Lewis is whisked off to a strange (and pretty wonderful) future.

Danny Elfman composed the music for this film and I think he did a brilliant job. The “Making of” video located above looks into how Elfman crafted the score and took inspiration from other cartoon composers like Carl Stalling (who was responsible for most of the music for the original Looney Tunes cartoons). There are some great shots of Elfman in the recording studio (with the work-in-progress film playing on a big screen).

Meet the Robinsons may be nearly 10 years old, but it’s still a fun film that you should definitely try (and the score is great to listen to as well). I hope you enjoy this look into the making of the music for Meet the Robinsons! -Becky

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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Danny Elfman “Planet of the Apes” scoring session (2001)

*warning, extreme plot spoilers for this film and the 1968 original appear below


Danny Elfman “Planet of the Apes” scoring session

There are two iterations of the Planet of the Apes franchise that most people know very well. The first is the original film series led by Charlton Heston beginning in 1968. This was the first of a series of five films created between 1968 and 1973. The other is the ongoing reboot that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. Inbetween the two is the sometimes forgotten (at least by me) remake Planet of the Apes that launched in 2001.

The 2001 Planet of the Apes was directed by Tim Burton and starred Mark Wahlberg as the astronaut who finds himself stranded on “the planet of the apes,” where apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, etc.) are the dominant species and humans are treated like animals. Unlike the 1968 original, which ends with Charlton Heston’s astronaut discovering that the “planet of the apes” is in fact the planet Earth in the distant future (he finds the twisted remains of the Statue of Liberty on a beach and realizes this is the ruins of Manhattan), the 2001 film ends with Mark Wahlberg’s astronaut using a space pod to launch himself back to his own time. Except, when he crash-lands in Washington D.C., everyone is still an ape (an ending that is never fully explained and was criticized by some for being too confusing).

Though the 2001 film was a financial success, Fox decided to not make any sequels and instead rebooted the series in 2011 with the hit “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” series starring Andy Serkis.

The music for this film was composed by Danny Elfman (of Batman fame), as Tim Burton was directing and the two are well-known for their collaborations. The above clip is a short excerpt from a recording session of the film’s soundtrack. It seems to focus primarily on the brass section, which is great because the music is stunning. I hope you enjoy this brief look at the music of Planet of the Apes (2001)! -Becky

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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*poster image is the property of 20th Century Fox

Danny Elfman talks Batman Returns (1992)


Danny Elfman talks Batman Returns (1992)

It is a sad reality in Hollywood that many times a sequel does not live up to the original and this is the case with Batman Returns (1992) (though it is infinitely better than the two films that followed it). Set sometime after the events of the original film, Gotham City’s new nemesis is Oswald Cobblepot, aka “The Penguin” (Danny DeVito), a deformed child abandoned by his parents and raised by penguins, who seeks to become a respectable member of Gotham society and will employ any means to make that happen.

At the same time, corrupt businessman Max Shreck is plotting to monopolize the city’s electricity supply, a scheme that his secretary, Selina Kyle, stumbles onto. When Shreck tries to have her killed by pushing her out a window, she is mysteriously revived by a swarm of cats and adopts the identity of Catwoman. Batman has to deal with Penguin, Shreck and this mysterious female vigilante, all part of his ongoing efforts to protect Gotham City.

I’m sure I’ve seen this film as many times as the original Batman, but I simply don’t enjoy this one as much. When you’ve grown up with Burgess Meredith’s Penguin, seeing the creepy Danny DeVito Penguin is a real shock. I still like Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne though, and I wish he could’ve stayed for the remaining two films (even though I like George Clooney in Batman & Robin). The on-again/off-again romance between Catwoman and Batman is well-known to fans of the comics, and it’s nice to see it play out on the silver screen.

Danny Elfman returned to score this film and was much more confident during the process (because the first Batman had been such a big hit). Knowing that his methods worked, it wasn’t hard to derive a new score for this sequel. Regretfully, this interview isn’t very long, but I was glad to find anything relating to Batman Returns at all (finding info on sequels is relatively hard, especially if they don’t do as well as expected). The different themes for Selina/Catwoman and Penguin are discussed, and if I ever find a more in-depth discussion for this particular film I’ll be sure to add it in. For now though, please enjoy!

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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*film poster is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures

Danny Elfman talks Batman (1989)


Danny Elfman talks Batman (1989)

With the exception of Superman: The Movie, I’m hard pressed to think of a superhero film more iconic than Tim Burton’s Batman (no offense to fans of the Christopher Nolan trilogy). Based in part on The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns comics, Batman helped to establish the modern superhero film genre and also helped ignite the DC Animated Universe (launched with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series).

Several factors contributed to make this film so iconic: one is the amazing sets and backgrounds that make up Gotham City. The second is Danny Elfman’s awe-inspiring score for this film. Elfman was brought in by Burton after the two had previously collaborated for Beetlejuice (1988), this despite the fact that Elfman knew very little about the current state of Batman in comics (he was given a copy of The Dark Knight Returns for reference).

Having grown up watching re-runs of “campy Batman” starring Adam West and Burt Ward on television, I initially didn’t like this “dark” Batman at all, but as I grew older and learned about the comics history of the character, I grew to appreciate what Tim Burton had done (and there’s no denying that Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker is one for the ages).

I was pleased to find this interview and “making of” for the Batman score and I hope you enjoy listening to it too (Elfman shares a funny story about how he came up with the iconic main theme for the film). Have a good Wednesday, we’ve made it to the halfway point of the week!

If you’d like to learn more about the film music of Danny Elfman, see here

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*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures

Danny Elfman talks Spider-Man (2002)


Danny Elfman talks “Spider-Man” (2002)

When I first saw Spider-Man (sometime in 2003 0r 2004), I would never have guessed that the character would be rebooted twice less than twenty years later. No offense to Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland, but for me Spider-Man will always be Tobey Maguire.

The first Spider-Man film served as an origin story for everyone’s favorite web-slinger. Peter Parker (Maguire) starts out as a nerdy high school senior who lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben (he also has a hopeless crush on Mary Jane Watson) and is friends with Harry Osborn (the son of Norman Osborn, the CEO of Oscorp). After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter discovers that he has developed superhuman abilities: he can shoot webbing, climb walls and sense things ordinary humans cannot. After Uncle Ben is killed (by a thief he allowed to get away), Peter becomes “Spider-Man” and begins to fight injustice in the city, while working as a photographer for the city newspaper.

Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is facing problems of his own. Looking to secure a military contract, he uses an experimental (and highly unstable) performance-enhancing chemical upon himself, but the procedure goes wrong and Norman develops an insane alter-ego dubbed “The Green Goblin” by the newspaper. It’s only a matter of time before the Green Goblin and Spider-Man clash, and the ramifications will be huge for all concerned.

The score for this film was created by Danny Elfman, a composer well-known for his work in the Batman films (having scored Batman and Batman Returns, as well as the theme for Batman: The Animated Series). In this interview, Danny Elfman talks about his composing process: how he likes to “block out” the important musical moments in a film before going back and filling in the gaps with the rest of the score. Such moments might include Spider-Man’s theme, the Goblin’s theme, a love theme, etc. One of my favorite moments is when Peter discovers he can climb walls, I love how the music briefly matches Peter’s movements as he begins to climb up.

Please enjoy this look at Spider-Man with Danny Elfman. Of the three actors who have played the character, who do you think has done it the best? Let me know in the comments below, catch ya’ll later 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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*poster image is the property of Columbia Pictures