Do you ever feel like your life is a movie, like The Truman Show? Do you ever browse your favorite record store with your ear-buds in, or find yourself just sitting in your car in traffic blasting your favorite song, when this overwhelming feeling comes over you that almost makes you feel like you’re playing an intense role in some film? Maybe I’m just insane (that could very well be the case), but it happens to me on a rather constant basis.
For instance, a few weeks ago, I was at Best Buy looking for a charger of some sort, so I was heading towards the PC and TV areas of the store. I looked up at some of the TVs they had on display and noticed Inception was playing. It was towards the end of the film, where it starts getting really emotional, and all I could do was stop dead in my tracks and listen. A second ago, I wasn’t really experiencing any kind of particular sensation. Just a regular, bland, to-do list kind of feeling was all. Then all of a sudden, a huge wave of emotion washed over me as the ending scene played, and this song filled the area I was standing in.
Like most twenty-somethings, there’s been quite a lot in life that’s been thrown at me all at once, so when I heard this, my inner child fell to her knees and began to weep. Yeah, I know, that sounds ridiculous. But when a song, especially an instrumental, has that kind of effect on you, in the middle of the day, when just a second ago you were feeling nothing at all… that’s powerful.
So, in light of becoming head over heels in love with this song, and with it being the opening weekend for Dark Knight Rises, I decided to check out the film score, composed by the beyond brilliant Hans Zimmer.
Zimmer has a very recognizable sound. When the trailers were on TV and I wasn’t really paying close attention, I’d turn my head even before any actors spoke, because I could pick out the eerie, low strings. I feel like Zimmer should have his own logo branded somewhere on the Dark Knight Rises posters.
Immediately when the film starts, if you’re like me and paying attention to the music along with the story and visuals, you can tell it’s going to be an intense scene. I’m not going to mention what happens, because it only just came out a few days ago, and I don’t want to spoil it. But I can definitely tell you that there is a lot going on, and Zimmer’s representation of it locks you in right away.
This might be bold to say, and may upset some fan boys and girls, but I sense a slight Danny Elfman sound in “Mind If I Cut In?” off of the DKR score. It’s that creepy, childlike piano. And I love that, so I mean no insult or disrespect by comparing a piece of his to Elfman. I mean Elfman is the man. He wrote the Simpsons theme!
Another thing I really dig about this score and about Zimmer’s overall style, is he’s not afraid to experiment with other sounds and mixes. In “Underground Army”, I hear a subtle industrial sound – and anyone who knows me can tell you I’m a hardcore industrial fan. If I heard that song and didn’t know it was Zimmer or that it was a song for the Nolan Batman Trilogy, I would’ve guessed the name “Reznor”. I hear it again in “Imagine the Fire”. It may sound cliché coming from me, but that’s what I hear, and I’m sure there are a few others out there who hear it too.
In “Despair”, within the first 20 seconds, I got really excited because… I don’t know how else to describe it other than it’s BATMAN. And what I love about that signature Nolan Batman Trilogy sound is that it totally gives me chills, because it takes me back to the 90’s animated Batman series. I know for a fact, from discussing with some friends who were big fans of that series, that I’m not alone in feeling that way, and that it is quite exciting. I also wound up feeling nostalgic and really pumped at the same time because of that. Batman is my superhero. Always has been. Always will be.
The intense and booming drums let you know that something big is going to happen, and gives you that push to sit on the edge of your seat (I actually noticed this happening a lot in the theatre). The cello goes along with it so well – and oh, how I love the cello.
I can’t get enough of the faster paced, chiller-like violins. They’re usually subtle when there is some valuable dialogue happening, but they get louder as the next scene pieces together an important part of the film, which may or may not end up as an action scene.
In the softer, more somber parts of the movie, the choir voices brought a few tears to my eyes. They aren’t overwhelming, but it’s just enough for you to feel sorrow or remorse.
The score for Dark Knight Rises is really fantastic. Powerful sounds all the way through. Brilliantly composed. Listening to it from start to finish makes me want to see the movie again! And even if you’re not the type to listen to something purely instrumental, I think this is something everyone can sit and enjoy. If anything, I’d think it would urge you to buy a ticket to see Dark Knight Rises.
If you’d like to check it out, you can listen to it for free, here.
Rest In Peace, Aurora, CO victims of the DKR theatre shooting.