Category Archives: 2.5

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – Hans Zimmer

I’ll be straightforward: on the whole, I’m not a huge fan of this score. Dead Man’s Chest set a VERY high standard as far as Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean scores go, and At World’s End simply falls short of the mark.

The opening track, “Hoist the Colours”, acts as a sort of anthem for the film, but, aside from that, its only purpose is to exist so that it can be used at later points in the score, such as in “What Shall We Die For”. Most of the tracks are just re-hashes of stuff we already heard in Dead Man’s Chest, so the overall feel of the score is pretty bland. And “Multiple Jacks” is just weird.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some good to be found, though. “Up is Down” is one of my favorite tracks from all four Pirates of the Caribbean films (the awesome French horn rips help with that). Additionally, “Parlay” is super cool because it’s a direct reference to a track by renowned composer Ennio Morricone from the score to Once Upon a Time in the West; compare “Parlay” to “Man with a Harmonica” from the Morricone score. Cool, eh? Lastly, the track “I Don’t Think Now is the Best Time”, despite being mostly comprised of re-used material from the second film’s score, is exciting and acts as an almost suite-like track that combines just about every single theme from the trilogy so far.

Other than that, there’s not much to look forward to listening to. Sure, it’s enjoyable, but that doesn’t matter for much to me if it’s not new and different. Like I said, Zimmer set the bar for himself when he composed such an incredible score for Dead Man’s Chest. If you’re looking for just one Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack to buy, get the second one.

Rating: 2.5 (out of 5)

  1. “Hoist the Colours”          (1:31)
  2. “Singapore”          (3:41)
  3. “At Wit’s End”          (8:06)
  4. “Multiple Jacks”          (3:52)
  5. “Up is Down”          (2:42)
  6. “I See Dead People in Boats”          (7:09)
  7. “The Brethren Court”          (2:21)
  8. “Parlay”          (2:10)
  9. “Calypso”          (3:03)
  10. “What Shall We Die For”          (2:03)
  11. “I Don’t Think Now is the Best Time”           (10:46)
  12. “One Day”          (4:02)
  13. “Drink Up Me Hearties”          (4:32)

Total Length: app. 56 min.

iTunes Album Link

-Chad

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Kung Fu Panda (2008) – Hans Zimmer & John Powell

After reviewing Hans Zimmer’s score to Inception yesterday, and with the upcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises next week, also scored by Zimmer, I’ve decided to make this next week Zimmer Week! Every day will feature a soundtrack review for a score composed or co-composed by Mr. Zimmer. Second up on this list is the Hans Zimmer and John Powell collaboration, Kung Fu Panda.

The album has a promising start with the incredibly fun track “Hero”, which opens with a beautiful solo from a pan flute-like instrument before being interrupted by a brass fanfare that rolls into a rock-and-roll-influenced beat, showcasing the main theme that is heard throughout the entire album. I know I’ve said that before, about a theme being heard throughout, but I really mean it this time; there are maybe only one or two tracks in the entire album that don’t feature something you didn’t hear in “Hero”. In fact, this whole album could be summed up with this opening track, and it gets pretty obnoxious.

Don’t get me wrong – there are still a few great moments every once in a while, such as in the track “Oogway Ascends”, but even that track is just a rehash of the opening solo in “Hero”. Very few of these tracks present something we haven’t already heard, and some even appear to have entire duplicate sections. Listen to the “Hero” starting at about 1:55 and compare it to the opening bits of both “Impersonating Shifu” and “Panda Po”…sound familiar? That’s because they’re nearly identical.

I could go on and on about this soundtrack, but the fact of the matter is, aside from a few individual tracks, this isn’t an album that stands well on its own because of how repetitive it is. In the context of the film, though, Kung Fu Panda‘s score works magnificently well. So here’s what I recommend: watch the movie and enjoy the music simultaneously with the plot, the characters, and the visuals. Wrapped together in one big package, Kung Fu Panda is one of Dreamworks Animations’ best productions. Buy the Zimmer/Powell score if you’re a collector, but don’t expect a lot of variety. (However, the closing track, a Cee-Lo Green/Jack Black cover of the Carl Douglas classic “Kung Fu Fighting”, is quite enjoyable, so check that out!)

Rating: 2.5 (out of 5)

1. “Hero” 4:42
2. “Let The Tournament Begin” 1:59
3. “The Dragon Warrior Is Among Us” 2:57
4. “Tai Lung Escapes” 7:06
5. “Peach Tree Of Wisdom” 1:53
6. “Accu-flashback” 4:05
7. “Impersonating Shifu” 2:18
8. “The Sacred Pool Of Tears” 9:51
9. “Training Po” 1:28
10. “The Bridge” 3:23
11. “Shifu Faces Tai Lung” 4:47
12. “The Dragon Scroll” 2:31
13. “Po vs. Tai Lung” 2:41
14. “Dragon Warrior Rises” 3:22
15. “Panda Po” 2:39
16. “Oogway Ascends” 2:04
17. “Kung Fu Fighting” (Performed by Cee-Lo Green and Jack Black) 2:30

Total Length – app. 61 min.

iTunes Album Link

-Chad


Spider-Man (2002) – Danny Elfman

I bought this album today in anticipation of the upcoming release of the Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield, Rhys Ifans, and Emma Stone.

The score for Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film, composed by frequent Tim Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, initially unimpressed me. Aside from the Main Title and the occasional awesome musical moment, it felt rather bland. In fact, lots of it was reminiscent of Elfman’s score to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film; Elfman’s music frequently sounds the same (thus the reason for me dubbing him “a quirky Hans Zimmer”), so this came as no surprise to me.

I must admit, however, that most of the time I was listening today was in my car with the air conditioner on full blast and in the shower, so I was never one-on-one with the music. So, to be fair about it, I put on my over-the-ear headphones so that I could hear every detail and gave it another listen.

This time around, I enjoyed it a lot more. The Main Title was as excellent as ever, but I noticed the more intimate moments found within tracks such as “Revenge”, “Revelation”, and “Farewell”, as well as the more fun/exciting “Costume Montage”, “Parade Attack”, and “Final Confrontation”, closing with a fairly satisfying “End Credits” track.

Overall, while Danny Elfman’s score to Spider-Man (2002) may not be the best superhero score out there (I’ll get to that in a later post!), it provides just what the audience needs to enjoy Spidey’s crime-fighting adventures that much more.

Rating: 2.5 (out of 5)

1. “Main Title” 3:31

2. “Transformations” 3:31

3. “Costume Montage” 1:19

4. “Revenge” 6:13

5. “First Web” 0:56

6. “Something’s Different” 1:17

7. “City Montage” 1:50

8. “Alone” 1:37

9. “Parade Attack” 3:54

10. “Specter of the Goblin” 3:47

11. “Revelation” 2:32

12. “Getting Through” 2:05

13. “Final Confrontation” 7:19

14. “Farewell” 3:11

15. “End Credits” 1:54

Total Length: app. 46 min.

iTunes Album Link

-Chad