As a soundtrack aficiando this ranks as one of my favourite of all time. I'm a big fan of both composers, and didn't think Zimmer would top either Gladiator or Hannibal but this is equally as good. The mark of a soundtrack in it's own right is that it can hold it's own without the film, whilst complementing the film and adding to it. This achieves that admirably. The opener "Why so serious" is electrifying, the use of sub-bass is brilliantly done and the use of the ticking clock very original. I love the way synthesiers have been used in harness with strings, it adds something mystical and gritty to the sound, reminiscent of Blade Runner and other Vangelis work.
All in all a brilliant piece of work, well worth buying the more expensive package for the second disc.
Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard have done it again. An effortless masterpiece that thrills and chills with a grace that only they can produce. The film has not been released yet but the score is so emotional that I am sure that those that loved Batman Begins wil not be disappointed. Love and tragedy is played out perfectly throughout; the pace of the action sequences and high tension wire of suspense is so taught and precise that you really can get lost in Gotham and escape. Nolan credits Zimmer & Newton Howard for one of the reasons as to why he wanted to return to the Batman films. My only disappointment is that there are no lines from the characters within the soundtrack itself; but this soundtrack is so amazing it does not need the support of the cast. Some great orchestral high rise spiraling as Zimmer produced in Hannibal that provide real eerie moments of hairs on the back of your neck and goosepimples all at once. If this film is as good as its soundtrack then this will be the film of the year. I cannot wait. RIP Heath Ledger.
The Dark Knight * * * * Music by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard Warner Bros Records (RT 73:37)
Certainly the most enjoyable film of the year; however - is the music as enjoyable?
Track 1: Why So Serious starts the disc off on a siren-like noise with alternating strings coupled with driving bass segments, starting off the bank heist at the start of the film. It's a powerful, fast sequence with a 4-note repeating rhythm and the score matches the action perfectly. As we find out later, this is the main theme for the Joker. 2: I'm not a Hero opens with dancing strings and some powerful bass movements repeating the main theme for Batman from Batman Begins only briefly, then it changes for synth thuds, building the strings as Batman finally nears his quarry. Zimmer then introduces brief flurries of heavy brass covering the main action with another statement of Batman's main theme.
3: Harvey Two Face builds gentle, noble strings for the Gotham D.A. Sprinkling this theme with piano, Zimmer and Howard create the mood of a noble, yet twisted man, building the theme to a 6-note motif for the character midway through the piece and then repeating on piano. It's a lovely piece of music - tragic yet noble. The next track, 4: Aggressive Expansion rolls in a powerful statement for Batman in flight, on heavy brass, bass and strings, then low synth, strings and a rolling 6-note motif on the strings for Batman's forceful grabbing of the Mob's banker. The siren-like music heralds the Joker's arrival in 5: Always a Catch, and the Harvey music resurfaces again in 6: Blood on my Hands. Terror strikes in 7: A Little Push, with the Joker exerting his influence on the mob bosses. Deep bass and rolling brass intertwine with the Joker's machinations and true terror as the bosses realise that the Joker is no puppet of theirs.
8: Like a Dog Chasing Cars has Batman in flight once again with a fast paced string sequence. Introducing the brassy segments once again, the strings just dance around in a powerful arrangement with lovely horn statements exemplifying Batman's dominance at road travel. The alternated strings make an appearance midway, i.e. the Joker is lying in wait with a bin lorry. Quiet passages now ensue as Harvey announces to the world his plans for the Joker with a surprising revelation in 9: I am the Batman. 10: And I Thought my Jokes Were Bad rolls the drums and strings for Batman again, and here Zimmer fires in a very strong arrangement for Batman's arrival, switching this for the Joker's theme. Indeed, 11: Agent of Chaos is equally as heavy with that 6-note motif from track 4 bubbling under the surface, coupled with Harvey's piano music. Batman must save one or the other here and the Joker's twisted theme turns ever higher as Batman makes his choice. Repeating strings against powerful brass fire away to be left with sad strings and piano as one of the main characters dies, the Joker gets away and Harvey gets his face burned.
12 Introduce a Little Anarchy rolls the powerful Batman chase music once again, yet the Joker is busy blowing up hospitals and setting yet another trap for Batman. Another roll of the Batman theme makes for another powerful track. 13: Watch the World Burn covers the action with the two ships prepped to blow, with each having the trigger to blow each other up, all at the Joker's expense and enjoyment. Low bass passages deliver the mood perfectly, turning the screw ever higher with dissonant strings/synth as one or the other - or both - could potentially take the other out. 14: A Dark Knight covers the finale, with moody passages building slowly to the main theme as Batman sets his plan in motion. Running in at 15 minutes, deep bass now enters the fray with the two ships ready to blow, the Joker not caring either way and the Batman's rendezvous with the Joker's dogs. High strings exemplify the tension even more, building in the main theme as Batman becomes someone not be applauded but hunted. Zimmer runs in a fast end to the track, running the Batman theme once again, yet tinged with a remnant of the Joker.
It is a stunning film, and the score is equally fascinating, mixing the power of Batman, yet with the psychotic nature of the Joker and the subtlety of Harvey - an interesting combination.
I bought this on a whim, just out of interest really, and didn't expect that I'd go back for repeated listens. On the one hand the score is quite predictably "Hollywood blockbuster"-ish with lots of big drums, urgent marcato strings and dark industrial synth sounds. But you get past that, and the vision of the score becomes clearer over repeated listens, and I began to find it a very satisfying piece of work, and as an album, feel that the narrative and coherence works really well: the album flows seamlessly. Recommended for children of darkness everywhere.
On a different note, some reviewers commented that the album leaves off some of the score - but the CD comes in at 73 minutes, so you can't really complain that you don't get your money's worth. Possibly a double CD album would have nailed it 100%, but then maybe the album wouldn't have been so coherent, and anyway, it means you've got an excuse to watch the film for those missing parts eh?
Having heard the few audio teaser clips at the Dark Knight Score website, I knew I had to purchase this CD, and it definitely does not disappoint. There's a lot of electronic sounds in this score which may irritate purists, but it adds wonderfully to the tone and atmosphere of the music, making the film menacing.
Those who purchased the Batman Begins CD will recognise a few themes in this score, but they are not prominent and there is plenty of new material and themes. The tempo is also increased which puts you on the edge of your seat.
I am really looking forward to seeing this film, and the quality of the score bodes well!
I bought this product, the soundtrack of the smash-hit crime-thriller-superhero-drama film, 'The Dark Knight', shortly after managing to be able to watch it on the big-screen at the local cinema, four years or so after it first debuted, to coincide with the release of the third and final installment in the Christopher Nolan's trilogy, 'The Dark Knight Rises'.
With such classics as the new Batman theme, 'A Watchful Guardian, the blissful 'I'm Not a Hero' and a memorable gem in the shape of 'Harvey Two-Face', the soundtrack is without a doubt one of the best of it's kind, and one you'll enjoy for a long time listening to in your bedroom whilst attempting to write your own story on the Caped Crusader (or is that just me?)
All in all, the soundtrack contains some great tracks, but only so has it's faults in the shape of some over-used beats and sounds. To be quite honest, I'm reluctant to say whether this or the soundtrack of 'The Dark Knight Rises' makes it to the top.