Batman Film Scores

Discussion in 'Movies' started by David Coleman, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    Now that the series has had 3 different composers(or should I say 4 due to the Zimmer/Howard collaboration) wondering what everyone's take is on the scores? Do you have a favorite score of the whole series? Favorite composer? Let's hear your thoughts?

    I always thought that Elfman's theme to the original was good but honestly I was amazed how well I liked Eliot Goldenthal's score to BATMAN FOREVER. For me I thought he just nailed the "theme" moreso than any of the other composers in the series.

    Well i'll be interested to hear your thoughts!
     
  2. Shawn_KE

    Shawn_KE Screenwriter

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    Elfmans style fit the films well, and actually has a "theme". Decend into Mystery is a great score.
     
  3. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer

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    My favourite score is Batman Returns. I love the themes that Elfman established in the first Batman, and I thought he built on those perfectly in the second film. The whole score to the opening sequence from the WB logo to the basket arriving at the Penguin's lair is my favourite piece.

    So when it came to Batman Forever I was very disappointed with the score, though I suppose it fit with the tone of the film.

    Batman Begins was a step in the right direction again and I did like the main theme that was established near the start of the film. Not sure which composer wrote that.
     
  4. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    Danny Elfman hands down. The first "Batman" score was a masterpiece and not only should have been nominated for Best Score but should have WON as well! "Batman Returns" was also a great, darker score as Elfman didn't simply re-hash the score to the first movie.

    While I do like Elliot Goldenthal's Batman theme, the overall score is all over the place. He's done better work in "Interview with the Vampire" and even "Alien3". I was also disappointed to see that his "Batman & Robin" score was only a re-hash of his "Batman Forever" score. Not that "Batman & Robin" deserved it though.

    "Batman Begins" I feel is highly underrated and I think with time will become much more appreciated. Already pieces of the score are finding their way into movie trailers (ie. V for Vendetta) and I hope that Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard are back for the sequel but I feel if either of them want to, only one will return.
     
  5. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    It was definitely Zimmer. I don't think Zimmer and Howard really collaborated in the sense of writing the same songs together. The way I hear it, Zimmer handled the action pieces while Howard handled the emotional pieces. However, it does sound like one score to me, instead of two scores put together.

    I like all the film scores, but I don't have a favorite. As far as themes go, I like Elfman's version the best. Goldenthal's theme is nice as well.
     
  6. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    I wish the Elfman original would see a re-release, becuase the mixing is terrible on the CD, especially when you hear it in the film (for example, the opening titles contain prominent use of percussion, which is drowned out almost to the point of just not being there when you hear the CD- but in the film it sounds nice and clear, and it has nothing to do with the DVD, as even the old VHS sounded better.

    Goldenthal's theme was a great interpretation, and it's too bad the "Forever" score album has so little of it...but he completely ruined that theme in "Batman & Robin" due to the performance of it alone- in that film his theme sounded too much like it was a cartoon series version of it- if that makes any sense.

    As disjointed as the "Forever" score was, that kind of score must be a composer's dream- because it allows for so many distinct styles independent of each other, and is that much more creative.
     
  7. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    My favorite theme would Elfman's but Goldenthal's isn't bad either. I can't even remember the score from Batman Begins!
     
  8. Patrick H.

    Patrick H. Second Unit

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    I don't think there's any disputing that Danny Elfman's original is one of the all-time great, legendary movie scores. Years from now people will still remember his Batman theme, and I felt Goldenthal more-or-less upheld the style with a slightly brighter, jazzier take. However, I also find Batman Begins to be a hugely effective score. Elfman's music was ABOUT Batman and his world, but Zimmer and Howard go INSIDE Bruce Wayne's psyche and create different musical signatures for different facets of his personality. There's a subdued heroic theme, there's a rising pair of brass chords which seem to represent his drive, then there are the "wing flaps," which work sort of like the Jaws theme in letting you know that Batman's around in the darkness somewhere. Great visceral scoring that sucks you right into the mood of the film and the mindset of the character.

    And I second Nicholas' request for a re-relase of the first Elfman score...I want that cue where Batman comes crashing through the museum skylight!
     
  9. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    Yeah...bad mixing was just one problem the CD had- the worst was certainly the missing cues, as well as cues (such as "Roof Fight", "First Confrontation" and "Attack Of The Batwing") being edited down to a shorter running time.
    Not only that, but with regards to "Attack Of The Batwing"- if you listen closely to the part just after the poison gas is released and Batman's theme comes in as the Batwing flies through frame, a noticable drop in performance quality can be found on the CD (very sloppy), while the performance is great in the film.
     
  10. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I'm a huge fan of the '89 film's score. Elfman created movie score history with that one, and it's still a strong, iconic work. I've never been a huge fan of the BR score, though it's been a good decade since I've listened to it.

    Goldenthal's scores were far too shrill for me, and they felt like painful exaggerations of Elfman's work.

    The Zimmer/Howard score is a thing of beauty, IMNSHO. Understated and possibly underrated, it perfectly supports the themes and images of the film, and works well on its own.
     
  11. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I enjoy the original Batman soundtrack the best. Batman returns has a couple of tracks that are good. I liked the music from Batman Begins. My big complaint for it though. Is that each track is similar. And their are no big scores like in Batman.
     
  12. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    Yeah the first Batman score is one of the great iconic scores- over 15 years later and you still know exactly what movie its from just by hearing a few notes.

    However, I just love the Batman Begins score and if I had to choose that's the one I'm much more interested in listening too.
     
  13. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    You're right; there are no big recognizable themes or motifs in the Batman Begins score. I think this was a conscious choice by Zimmer and Howard. I'm guessing they know that Elfman's score is known and loved, and decided against trying to top it or override everyone's association with it. I also think that the themes of Batman Begins helped them with that decision, since it's a very internal movie, about what goes on inside the characters' heads. The BB reflects the grittier, human elements of the film, rather than grandiose hero themes.

    There ARE great moments of "typical" action music in the score; they're just not the predominate sound or features.
     
  14. RodneyT

    RodneyT Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with all of the statements here: the Batman movies have all had varying degrees of enjoyable music. The original theme from Batman could probably never be bettered considering the style of film it is, and the same for Batman Returns.

    The Schumacher films, whilst alternatively pompous (Forever) and ridiculous (B&R) still had great themes, its just that they were perhaps bloated throughout the film by the directors inherent overblown style. The music was excellent for all four films, but in the last two Schumacher movies, the music was used in place of actual character development.

    Batman Begins is an excellent example of character driven music, neither overly heroic (considering that in this film deals with a non-heroic figure being forced to become something darker) nor overly melodramatic. The restraint used by Zimmer/Howard for their themes is commendable for its simplicity. WHile the score may not (for me) be the most memorable, it certainly suited the type of film being presented on screen. Elfmans score highlighted the darker heroism of the original two films, Goldenthal's bombastic music was in perfect keeping with the tone and style of the third and fourth films, and Batman Begins was another different style that had a score in keeping with what was happening on screen.

    You could say that each score for each film perfectly suited those films style. Sure, Batman & Robin sucked in a way never thought possible, but the music certainly captured the on screen action, and that cannot be faulted.

    Just my two cents.
     

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