Tag Archives: Hans Zimmer

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)

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Hans Zimmer talks Inception (2010)

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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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Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

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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.

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Film Composer Interviews A-H

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See also:

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

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Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

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Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

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.

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See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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Hans Zimmer talks Man of Steel (2013)

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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.

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

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*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures

King Arthur (2004) tells the old story in a new way

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On July 7th, 2004, the adventure film King Arthur was released into theaters. Rather than showing a traditional portrayal of the fabled king of legend, Arthur (Clive Owen) is shown here as a Roman officer in the waning years of the Roman Empire, with his “knights” of the Round Table (Bors, Gawain, Lancelot, Tristan, Galahad and Dagonet) being fellow officers under his command.

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For the last fifteen years, Arthur and his fellow soldiers have been guarding Hadrian’s Wall and preventing the Woads from crossing into Roman territory. However, now that Rome is officially abandoning Britain, they all expect to receive their freedom (as their length of service to Rome is set to expire the very next day).

However, at the last possible moment, Bishop Germanus arrives and insists that Arthur and his knights travel past the wall to rescue a wealthy Roman family, as their son is the favorite godson of the Pope. The mission is nearly suicidal in nature, but they won’t receive their freedom unless they go.

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At the same time as Arthur and a company set out to rescue the Roman family, the Saxons, led by Cedric and his son Cynric, are seen landing on another coast, set to plunder and destroy as they go. In the course of the mission, Arthur rescues a Woad woman named Guinevere (Keira Knightley rocks in this role), who has been trapped alive inside a wall. Her father is a Woad chieftain named Merlin, and he desires to join forces with Arthur’s so that they can fight the coming Saxon incursion.

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A lot of this film revolves around Arthur accepting who and what he really is: that he’s not really a Roman (his mother was Celtic) and that the Rome he dreams of doesn’t really exist. In the end, the Saxons are defeated and Arthur and Guinevere marry, with Arthur being proclaimed king by Merlin.

At the time this film came out, I was deeply obsessed with the legend of King Arthur and Merlin and anything remotely connected to them, so I naturally took this movie in like a sponge. I recognize now that the story is deeply flawed, but if you forget about historical accuracy (and the blatant lack thereof that exists in this film), you can spend an enjoyable two hours watching this film.

King Arthur “Knight’s March” (2004)

One positive the film does have is a great score composed by Hans Zimmer, who once again proved why he is a master of writing scores for action and adventure films. The music for the Woads is particularly well-done, fitting their mysterious nature.

Sadly, the film wasn’t very well-received (it’s currently rated “Rotten” at Rotten Tomatoes), which is a shame, because there are some great moments in this film, and the score as I said is another Hans Zimmer gem.If you haven’t seen this film, I recommend borrowing a copy and checking it out.

*film poster is the property of Buena Vista Pictures

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

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

The finale of The Dark Knight film trilogy saw composer Hans Zimmer return to score the film. Co-composer James Newton Howard declined to return for this film (as he felt Zimmer and Nolan would work better together) but the main theme that he helped create still remains in the film.

Zimmer admits that he kept Selina Kyle’s theme ambiguous and also that he took Bane’s theme in a completely different direction than what had been seen in the previous installments of the series.

This interview clip that I found features not only Zimmer, but Richard King as well, as they talk about the various sounds and musical themes heard in the film.

Like The Dark Knight (2008), I admit that I haven’t actually seen this film, but I’ve heard from so many that it is good, that I’ve placed the entire trilogy on my “to watch” list. Please enjoy this interview for The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

*all images are the property of Warner Bros. Studios

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Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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