29 September 2008

The Dark Knight (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Music composed by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard

*** (out of ****)

Christopher Nolan said when he sat down to pen the script for THE DARK KNIGHT; he popped in the CD for BATMAN BEGINS to get in the mood and inspiration. If that CD brought about such a phenomenal sequel, just imagine what Nolan can construct popping in the DARK KNIGHT CD.

Composers Hans Zimmer (THE LAST SAMURAI) and James Newton Howard (KING KONG) re-unite and deliver one hell of a brilliant score. Take away the movie entirely but leave the music – you’ll still have one hell of a fantastic experience. Now, I’m not the best bloke in the world to review musical scores, but this one was just too good to ignore. Hopefully my ill-fated attempt at describing the beauty of this score will perhaps spark curiosity on your part and download a few tracks.

“Why So Serious?” begins the album, and it’s a doozy. Also known as the ‘Joker’s theme’, it is erratic and edgy, keeping you constantly engaged by the unpredictability of what’s going to happen next. “I’m Not a Hero” continues the trend of awesomeness, being moody yet thrilling, and “Harvey Two-Face” perfectly compliments the character of Harvey – valiant and Mr. Do Gooder. Pumping up the blood is “Aggressive Expansion”, which completely engrosses you into the action. “Like a Dog Chasing Cars” is energetic and thrilling, the resounding action piece of the album. “Agent of Chaos” is gut-wrenching. “Watch the World Burn” is haunting, freaky, and uncomfortable. The disc concludes with the 16-minute “A Dark Knight”, which is pretty much a culmination of all the themes present in the past two movies, and it, too, is beautiful.

Every CD has their one particular track that stands out above all others, and although most would argue it’s “Why So Serious?”, I lean towards “Like a Dog Chasing Cars.” The track is simply breathtaking, beautiful, brilliant, fantastic, yada, yada, yada. It truly, I feel, epitomizes the Batman character and his struggle against himself and the rest of Gotham City, as well as the entire film itself. It is, simply, an excellent, emotionally moving track. The other track that stands out would be “Agent of Chaos”; as stated earlier, when you link the events of the film to this cue (which is almost unavoidable), it truly is one of the most emotionally moving recording I’ve heard in quite a while. Although it has taken repeated listening to get into it, the final suite, “A Dark Knight”, is nothing short of perfect. These tracks, out of this entire album of greatness, stand out against the rest as – um, even greater-ness…ness…

So, to sum up for those slow on the uptake: bloody brilliant score, and I recommend it to everyone, even the blokes who aren’t exactly very into the whole music scene. If the score for Dark Knight is overlooked by the Academy gits, I will be very, very, very agitated. I’m thinking Hulk-sized agitated, my friends.

On a side note, the CD for Dark Knight was released in two different versions. One is your normal jewel case sporting the cover imaged above with nothing but the soundtrack; the other is a ‘Special Edition’ that, unfortunately, doesn’t live up to that title. Sporting a cardboard case similar to Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END release, it contains three collectable cards, each featuring a face shot of a character: Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent (holding his I Believe in Harvey Dent badge) that you’ve seen before. In the back of them are stills from the flick. So, that’s pretty much it. Kind of disappointing for the extra money spent on it.

Why So Serious? (9:14)
I’m Not a Hero (6:35)
Harvey Two-Face (6:17)
Aggressive Expansion (4:36)
Always a Catch (1:40)
Blood on My Hands (2:17)
A Little Push (2:43)
Like a Dog Chasing Cars (5:03)
I Am the Batman (2:00)
And I Thought My Jokes Were Bad (2:29)
Agent of Chaos (6:55)
Introduce a Little Anarchy (3:43)
Watch the World Burn (3:48)
A Dark Knight (16:15)

Total Album Time: 73:35

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