Zimmer’s Symphony: analysis of Hans Zimmer’s scores

Photo via spotify.com under Creative Commons

Photo via spotify.com under Creative Commons

Will Campbell, Writer

Filmmaking was built upon the idea that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million more. It is very much a visual art, pleasing to the eyes above all. But behind every film, behind every frame, is music. Screeching violins, pounding drums, and high-rising brass instruments set to an action scene, a sad moment, or as quiet ambiance during a break in the action. Music has always been at the forefront of the movie experience, even if it is often less recognized than the visual aspects.

However, I think it’s always a good idea to highlight the talented people who do the scores for films. After a little thinking, I settled on my favorite movie composer: Hans Zimmer.

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A frequent collaborator with one of my favorite directors, Christopher Nolan, Zimmer has created some of the most iconic modern scores. A few of them I’d even go as far to say they’re some of my favorite film scores of all time, and I’m here to hopefully convince you to feel the same.

One of Zimmer’s finest works is the movie Interstellar, a movie directed by Christopher Nolan. In the film, the Earth is dying, and Matthew McConaughey’s character has to embark on a dangerous space mission to find a new world for humanity to live on. The movie’s score utilizes a very interesting instrument: the organ. While not quite being an instrument I would expect to be used in a space film, the score has actually grown to be one of my favorites, especially in a few scenes where it gets particularly intense.

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There’s also the soundtrack of another Nolan film, Dunkirk, which utilizes a special auditory illusion called a Shepherd Tone, where three tones, all one octave apart, create the effect of a constantly rising sound, which complements the slow ticking clocks that lead the Dunkirk soundtrack.

But he doesn’t just do Christopher Nolan movies. In fact, he’s done scores for many movies you might not even know, but one that’s always stuck in my memory was his score for Batman vs. Superman.

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While the movie itself is uninteresting at best, Batman vs. Superman’s score is unique and memorable enough that it’s become one I occasionally listen to, even if the only real stand-out track is Wonder Woman’s theme, who is also conveniently the star of the only good DC Cinematic Universe film.

Not only that, but Zimmer has also done scores for other media. One of his most notable works in the video game industry is that of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where he brings to life a lot of cinematic moments that would be dull without his score behind it. While Call of Duty might be awful franchise nowadays, Modern Warfare 2 was one of its better entries, and this score is one of the biggest reasons.

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While there are many notable film composers, including John Williams (who has probably scored some of the most iconic movies of all time), Howard Shore, and many others, I think Hans Zimmer is the face of the modern film score, and I wanted to take a look at his scores to show others how much he has done and how talented he really is.

If you love music, if you love movies, or you were interested in any of these movies, give them a watch. They’re worth it, especially considering they have Hans Zimmer backing them!

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