Tag Archives: Hans Zimmer

Soundtrack Review: First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 (2018)

For the past year, there have been several films and documentaries released, and several upcoming, that are looking back at the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969 and the events that led up to it. To that end, First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8, looks at the important journey of Apollo 8, which orbited the moon and captured the famous “Earthrise” photo.

I was excited to have the opportunity to review the soundtrack for this documentary which was composed by Alexander Bornstein. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I popped the soundtrack in to listen to it. Documentary soundtracks, in my experience, can be very hit or miss, and sometimes documentaries don’t have much in the way of music at all. To be honest, I love this soundtrack. This may come out wrong, but it was lot more “cinematic” than I thought it would be. There was a sense of drama, a sense of excitement, and even tension that I just wasn’t expecting, but that made me really love the soundtrack even more than I thought I would at first.

 

I haven’t seen the documentary that goes with this soundtrack, but I can tell the music is meant to highlight the risks that were involved in launching Apollo 8 and how high-stakes everything was since this was one of the last Apollo missions before the all-important Apollo 11. I was actually reminded a bit of Hans Zimmer’s music, with some of the timpani drum riffs (and I mean that in a good way).

Alexander Bornstein did a great job with this soundtrack. My favorite track on the entire disc is “The Good Earth.” It was catchy, it just drove along and I loved listening to it. As I said earlier, I wasn’t expecting the music to be so orchestral and beautiful, and I’m so happy to be so pleasantly surprised by what I listened to. The soundtrack is available now and I definitely recommend checking it out. I look forward to hearing more from Alexander Bornstein, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to listen to this soundtrack.

If you’ve seen First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 or listened to the soundtrack, let me know what you think about it in the comments below and have a great day!

You Can Buy the soundtrack HERE: https://bit.ly/2EjfCd6

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: Hellboy (2019)

The soundtrack for the reboot of Hellboy released on April 5th. The soundtrack was put together by the award winning composer Benjamin Wallfisch (previous scores include It, Blade Runner 2049, and Hidden Figures). Like the original Hellboy films, this reboot is based on the Dark Horse Comics character of the same name.

Of the soundtrack for Hellboy, Benjamin Wallfisch had this to say:

“I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Sony Music on the release of the Hellboy soundtrack album. Mike Mignola, Neil Marshall and the entire creative team have created an incredible next chapter in this iconic franchise, one that demanded a completely new approach to the score. Sony Music couldn’t be a better partner to bring this music to a wide audience and I’m grateful to them, Lionsgate and Millennium Media.”

Having listened to the Hellboy soundtrack, I found myself impressed with the variety of sonic colors Wallfisch brought to the score. There is a healthy amount of orchestral music mixed in with beats that come straight out of a rock album (and that’s not a bad thing given what I know of Hellboy). But the tracks that interested me the most have a mystical, semi-Eastern quality to them that draws me in the more I listen to them.

Two of my favorite tracks that I recommend checking out from the Hellboy soundtrack are “Psychic Migraine” and “Baba Yaga.” The latter in particular had a sound quality that felt very Goldsmithian to me (i.e. Jerry Goldsmith). It almost reminds me of a section of the score from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which is also not a bad thing). The way the strings twist and turn, it’s effective at raising the hair on the back of my neck.

The score isn’t perfect by any means. Some of the action tracks are either too “Zimmer like” (too bombastic for my taste) or too generic to me truly memorable. But the tracks that ARE good, are really good. And so for the sake of those tracks, I recommend checking the Hellboy soundtrack out.

Let me know what you think of the Hellboy soundtrack (and the film) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Has Gladiator’s Music Score Been Unfairly Forgotten?

“Are you not entertained?” boomed Russell Crowe in Gladiator, a movie that hit the headlines again recently, 18 years after it first hit our screens. It was after Mr. Crowe decided that it was time to sell off some of his personal effects, including a jockstrap from one of his movies and a fake Roman chariot used in Gladiator. Well, to answer your question, Mr. Crowe, we were entertained (as you can see from our review), but while we remember the classic quotes from the movie and the stunning landscape that provided a backdrop to the action, one aspect has been lost slightly in any discussions about the movie which won the 73rd Academy Award for Best Picture. That aspect is the music for the movie, which was created by a legend in his industry: Hans Zimmer.

Do casino games represent a sign of the times?

Zimmer won awards at the Golden Globes, but the critical legacy seems to have revolved around the graphics used in the movie, with more awards for the likes of best costume design picked up by Gladiator than plaudits for the score. The visual effects and costumes at the time were stand-out, but looking back, they don’t seem like anything special, especially compared to costumes and backdrops from the stunning period dramas we’ve seen from the past decade (think Downton Abbey or Versailles for good examples of this).
The music, meanwhile, when you watch the movie again, hasn’t aged at all, despite the raft of technological changes which have emerged since the movie’s production. It is the look of the movie that has arguably had the biggest impact on pop culture as well; one look at the details about this fantastic game shows that there is far more of a focus on the aesthetics of the game rather than the music, which focuses primarily on sound effects like beeps and chimes.

 

This Platinum Play casino review shows that the Gladiator slot reached new heights of popularity, becoming one of the most popular games from that particular operator, highlighting how the music has become something of the forgotten element of the award-winning movie.

Not the only snub to Hans

For as much as it may seem unfair, Zimmer perhaps won’t have been overly surprised by his snub. After all, he has already seen his score for Hannibal be horribly underrated. With tracks like The Battle and Now We Are Free significant pieces of music, it is still a tragedy that the blood and guts is what sticks in the mind all these years later, and that the selling off of items by Russell Crowe can still be what grabs the headlines, rather than the inspirational work of a great movie soundtrack composer.

The CV and the awards that Hans Zimmer has earned throughout his career highlight that he is a man who has clearly earned appreciation in the world of music, even if he hasn’t been able to remain memorable in public consciousness. For the time being, if you want to enjoy Hans Zimmer, you just need to watch movies as diverse as The Lion King, Inception, and, of course, Gladiator, to hear him at his finest. 

See also:

My thoughts on: Gladiator (2000)

Film/TV Reviews

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Hans Zimmer talks Inception (2010)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

inception

Hans Zimmer talks Inception (2010)

I have watched a lot of movies, but few have bent my brain more than Inception (2010), a film set in a world where it is possible to enter the subconscious and “extract” information. Cobb, a “dream thief”, is tasked by a wealthy businessman named Saito to perform “inception” on the son of a rival, which is planting an idea in the subconscious mind, and it is supposed to be an impossible task.

The stakes for Cobb are pretty high: he’s been on the run for years after being framed for the murder of his wife (she actually committed suicide believing she was still in the dream world), and if he succeeds, Saito will make the charges go away so he can return home to his two children. But…in a world where we enter dreams within dreams within dreams, how do we know any of this is even real to begin with? (That question is never really answered by the way, we’re meant to make our own conclusions).

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The visuals in this film are like nothing you’ve ever seen before: the scene where Ariadne and Cobb visit the dream world and bend the landscape around them is spectacular beyond words. Even if you’re paying attention to which level of consciousness the characters are on, it’s very easy to get lost and wonder “what is actually real here?” This is especially true when the film gets into the question of what really happened to Cobb’s wife (and why apparitions of her keep appearing in Cobb’s mind).

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The score for this reality-bending film was composed by the legendary Hans Zimmer, who returned to collaborate again with director Christopher Nolan on this project (Inception marked their third collaboration together). This brief “making of” video shows how Nolan and Zimmer brought this score into existence. Zimmer described the music of Inception as “a very electronic, dense score, filled with nostalgia and sadness.” What I love best about the score is how it changes as the characters move deeper and deeper into the “dream within a dream.” The deeper they go, the more “unreal” the music becomes; this all reaches a head when Cobb and Ariadne are in Limbo (the bottom level) while the other members of his group are moving through three separate dream levels above them.

If you’ve seen Inception, what did you think of the story? And what did you think of the film’s soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below 🙂 And I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at the making of the film score for this film 🙂

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See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

Hans Zimmer talks The Dark Knight (2008)

Hans Zimmer talks Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Hans Zimmer (and Richard King) talk The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Hans Zimmer talks Man of Steel (2013)

Hans Zimmer talks Interstellar (2014)

And don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook (your support means everything to me) 🙂

Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link

Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

While it wasn’t a big hit at the time, 17 years later there is still a soft spot in my heart for The Road to El Dorado. The story follows two Spanish con-men, Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) and Tulio (Kevin Kline) as they accidentally stow away on the ship of Hernan Cortes on his way to conquer whatever empires of the New World he may come across, and end up discovering the legendary city of gold, El Dorado, where they are mistaken for gods.

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(I wrote about one of the film’s songs here)

Miguel and Tulio are initially content with their plan to amass as much gold as possible and then sailing away to “ascend to the heavens” in a boat they’re having the residents of El Dorado build for them, but complications quickly begin to emerge. For one, Miguel is quickly becoming enamored of life in the hidden city. And, as he points out to Tulio, leaving to live like a “king” somewhere else would be a step-down from “god.”

For another, the high priest, Tzekel-Kan, is suspicious of the pair as they do not behave as the gods are supposed to (nor are they supposed to bleed as Miguel does after cheating to win a ball game) and is determined to expose the two as frauds. There’s also the looming threat of Hernan Cortes, who will surely destroy El Dorado and enslave the populace if he can find it.

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And yes, I admit, the music has something to do with why I like this film as much as I do. With the orchestral score composed by Hans Zimmer, the music is a blend of Spanish sounds (heard mostly in the beginning of the film) and a “New World” sound that takes over once Miguel and Tulio discover El Dorado. I was delighted to discover a full length behind the scenes look at creating the score for this movie, with thoughts from Hans Zimmer, Elton John (who worked with Tim Rice on the songs) and also Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, the voices of Miguel and Tulio.

 If you haven’t given The Road to El Dorado a try, I sincerely hope that you give the movie a chance. It has terrific animation and, as I’ve said, a wonderful musical score.

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

Hans Zimmer talks The Dark Knight (2008)

Hans Zimmer talks Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Hans Zimmer talks Inception (2010)

Hans Zimmer (and Richard King) talk The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Hans Zimmer talks Man of Steel (2013)

Hans Zimmer talks Interstellar (2014)

See also:

The Road to El Dorado “It’s Tough to Be a God” (2000)

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Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Sequels are always a risky business; no matter how successful the original, there’s always the chance that a follow-up story will fall totally flat and ruin the story forever. Thankfully, such was not the case with Hannibal (2001), the follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Set ten years after the original story, Clarice Starling (now played by Julianne Moore) must locate Hannibal Lecter before a surviving victim (played brilliantly by Gary Oldman) tracks down the serial killer to exact his gruesome revenge. While it’s true that this film was met with mixed reviews by the critics, I found Hannibal to be a very thrilling story, especially the last third. Anthony Hopkins is such a compelling presence when he’s onscreen, and he plays the role with so many layers that you can watch the film multiple times and see a new interpretation each time.

Of course the film wouldn’t be nearly as good without its musical score, which was composed by Hans Zimmer. In this wonderful interview, both Zimmer and director Ridley Scott talk about the music and how it came together. Scott believes that the music is just as important as the dialogue and so the score is crafted accordingly. Hannibal marked the fourth time that the director and composer collaborated on the same project, and you can tell that they’ve developed a good working relationship with each other.

Zimmer describes Hannibal as a “haunting story” and that the music must be haunting as well to match it, and I believe he totally succeeded in accomplishing this. One thing about Hannibal (the character) that always fascinated me is his love of the classical, be it art, poetry or music. The score reflects this to a large degree, as Hans Zimmer wrote several choral pieces in an early classical style for certain scenes involving the titular character. It was amazing to learn about the score for this haunting film, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Hans Zimmer talks The Dark Knight (2008)

Hans Zimmer talks Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Hans Zimmer talks Inception (2010)

Hans Zimmer (and Richard King) talk The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Hans Zimmer talks Man of Steel (2013)

Hans Zimmer talks Interstellar (2014)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Hans Zimmer talks Man of Steel (2013)

Hans Zimmer talks Man of Steel (2013)

After Superman Returns (2006) fell flat at the box office, Warner Bros. made the decision to reboot the Superman film franchise and cast Henry Cavill in the title role. Like Superman: The Movie decades before, Man of Steel begins on the doomed planet Krypton, where Jor-El has learned of the planet’s imminent destruction and has his infant son Kal-El sent away in a small rocket ship shortly before the planet explodes.

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Before he is sent away, however, Jor-El takes steps to infuse the genetic codes of Krypton into Kal-El’s DNA (codes that are also sought by General Zod, a former friend of Jor-El). Growing up on Earth, Kal-El, now living under the name Clark Kent, wanders the country seeking a purpose in life after his foster father is killed in a tornado (he’d forbidden Clark to use his powers to save him).

Man of Steel “Sculptural Percussion” (2013)

Man of Steel “Percussion” (2013)

Clark is forced into action when General Zod and his compatriots escape the Phantom Zone and land on Earth, around the same time that Clark enters a Kryptonian scout ship discovered in the Arctic. Inside, Clark finds an AI of his real father, Jor-El, who gives him a Kryptonian uniform bearing the family symbol. Meanwhile, Zod intends to terraform Earth into a new Krypton (which would kill most if not all of Earth’s human inhabitants) and Clark must stop him before it’s too late.

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Man of Steel “Strings of Steel” (2013)

Man of Steel “Solo Violinist” (2013)

As I remember it, this film got mixed reviews, and was heavily criticized for the scene where Superman kills General Zod.

The music for Man of Steel was created by veteran composer Hans Zimmer, who had initially denied rumors that he would be scoring the film. To make sure that Man of Steel stood out from previous Superman films, Zimmer did not use John Williams’ iconic “Superman March” in any way, instead creating his own original themes for the character. The five links I’ve located concern the score in general (top link) and how the various instrumental parts were devised for the score (two for the percussion and two for the strings).

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 I still prefer Christopher Reeve’s interpretation of Superman (and the “Superman March” will always be a favorite piece of mine), but I’ve also heard that Henry Cavill has done a good job in the role. I hope, therefore, that you enjoy listening to Hans Zimmer talking about the score for Man of Steel.

See also:

Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

Hans Zimmer talks The Dark Knight (2008)

Hans Zimmer talks Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Hans Zimmer talks Inception (2010)

Hans Zimmer (and Richard King) talk The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Hans Zimmer talks Interstellar (2014)

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures