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The Best of Hans Zimmer

I was reading Empire magazine one day and saw a one page ad for a Hans Zimmer tour. I was struggling for inspiration for something to do for Charlotte’s upcoming birthday, and as we’re both big fans of his (and Christopher Nolan) it just seemed too perfect. As Manchester dates hadn’t been announced at that point I booked tickets in Birmingham. It’s the city Charlotte went to university at, so we turned it in to a bit of a nostalgia break with a spa day and escape run thrown in for good measure. The chance to see the master, Hans Zimmer, with a 70 strong orchestra in tow was the main event though, and we were not disappointed.

Film scores can play a huge role in their success. Who can imagine the James Bond series without its signature riff woven throughout it? Would the Star Wars opening rolling text have worked quite as well without the John William’s score blasting out alongside it? Steven Spielberg even admitted that the first ever summer blockbuster, Jaws, wouldn’t have been half as successful without that famous score by John Williams (again)… who would have thought two notes could be so scary? Hans Zimmer’s always been my favourite film score composer. He’s brilliant at matching the bombastic scale of some of Christopher Nolan’s films, and it’s very difficult to imagine one working without the other sometimes. His scores can raise a film to another level. The Da Vinci Code is essentially a bunch of people talking and solving puzzles for two hours (Angels & Demons is the same, but they’re running while they do it) yet, the music has you gripped. The thing with Zimmer’s work is that I would often just download and listen to it on its own. There’s nothing like it to make a normal working day that bit more dramatic. The concert itself was superb. I knew most of the set, although did find myself ordering the Crimson Tide DVD during the interval based purely on this.

Although this was earlier this year, having just watched Interstellar again the other night I was inspired to go through his back catalogue and pick out some of my favourite film scores of his.

7. True Romance (1993)

Famously written by Quentin Tarantino, and directed by the late great Tony Scott, this isn’t a score many Nolan fans would associate with Zimmer. The upbeat simplicity of it always cheers me up.

6. Gladiator (2000)

Working closely with Lisa Gerrard on this one, it’s the haunting ‘Now We Are Free’ that stands out from the rest of this action packed epic. This is when Maximus begins to flit between this world and the next, walking back to his family through a field of barley… *lip wobble*

5. The Lion King (1994)

A surprise standout from the live show. Zimmer even had Lebo M. on stage to sing Circle of Life (this is when you start singing ‘that’ opening with the sunset in your head). Quality!

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

I still like the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Perfect it ain’t, but it a lot of fun, and Johnny Depp’s Keith Richards impression hadn’t got annoying by that point. The best thing about it might just be Hans Zimmer signature tune though. It’s annoyingly catchy, and weirdly, a good one to drive too.

3. Interstellar (2014)

On the night Zimmer left this as his penultimate tune. Having watched this back the other day, it was really striking how big a role the score plays in this film. His use of the organ and subsequent religious feel clash with the science lesson Nolan’s giving us on screen.

2. The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005 - 2012)

One of the best trilogies ever made. The madness of The Dark Knight score matches Heath Ledger’s Joker perfectly, and there’s a slight twist with The Dark Knight Rises, as the chanting choir marries up with the rise from the prison Bruce Wayne finds himself in. The Dark Knight edges it for me, but it’s difficult not to listen to one without putting on the next immediately after.

1. Inception (2010)

Zimmer left his best until last on the night. Inception was the encore to the show, opening with the famous foghorn and a single searchlight piercing the otherwise pitch black arena. This turned in to a gradually building ‘Dream is Collapsing’ and ‘528491’, before turning in to the thrill ride of ‘Mombasa.’ Eventually it finished on the haunting ‘Time.’ It’s one of my favourite films, and the score is just as genius as the film (if you’re not aware, that ‘foghorn’ is a slowed down ‘Non, je ne regretted rien’ by Edith Piaf… mind = blown).

Nods to Sherlock Holmes, Rain Man, Crimson Tide, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, The Thin Red Line, and The Amazing Spiderman 2. He also did Cool Runnings. Mental.


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