Archive for October, 2013

My Top 5 Hans Zimmer Scores

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2013 by Adam Broome

So just recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer. He has scored some of my favourite films of all time (and, as it transpires, a pretty awesome game as well). Nothing quite adds to an action scene like a heart-pumping soundtrack – get the music wrong, and it all falls apart. The thing with Hans Zimmer is that even with movies that didn’t do so well financially, the music was undisputedly top-bar. Every time.

Currently undergoing a slight nostalgia trip with his music, I feel it best to write my own ‘ode’ to this amazing composer, and cover my top 5 Hans Zimmer scores from some of my favourite-ever films. Even if you’re not a fan of their genres, these films are worth checking out for the merit of the music alone:

5. Inception

Clocking in at number 5 is one of the most popular movies in recent years. Inception – ‘that film about dreams’ – tells of the story of one man who infiltrates the dreams of another to place an idea deep inside his subconscious. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that easy, and it’s not long before the man’s subconscious starts fighting back, and then we have all manner of mountain assaults, zero-gravity corridors and freight trains chugging down Manhatten high-streets.

Amidst all the fun, Zimmer delivers one of his most easily-recognizable scores – the deep bass became synonymous with the film, and the film are the score were both highly regarded. Rightly so – ‘tis a brilliant film!

4. Modern Warfare 2 – Whiskey Hotel

In one of his first game projects, Zimmer scores Modern Warfare 2, which continued on from where the first game left off. Due to a political mess-up, Russia has declared war on the US, and invaded. ‘The Battle For Washington DC’ kicks off, and although the US Army spend several days defending it, it eventually becomes apparent that the first wave of the invasion alone is enough to bring the American infrastructure to it’s knees.

Just when all hope is lost (with the second and third Russian invasion waves flying over the skies), the British SAS save the day by launching a nuke directly at Washington, and detonating it in the upper hemisphere. The EMP triggered by the bomb sends the aerial invasion forces crashing down to Earth, and after dodging all manner of falling planes, jets and helicopters, an eerie walk around the ruins of Washington with the survivors follows. Soldiers run around lost – some looking for their units, some carrying messages. Amidst all the chaos, the surviving marines eventually get their final assignment – congregate at ‘Whiskey Hotel’. When you eventually get there and find out what the code-name is for, you realise ‘The Battle for Washington DC’ will be decided then and there. It makes for a very tense (and memorable) moment in gaming with a soundtrack all too fitting for it’s epic conclusion.

3. The Peacemaker – The Chase

This overlooked film made a fair impact upon release due to a highly-tense final act, where a middle-Eastern terrorist tries to detonate a nuclear bomb in New York. Back in ’97, that was just fiction, but subsequent real-life events rather pushed this film aside.

‘Gorgeous George’ Clooney and Nicole Kidman team up in two stereotypical roles as a solider and a government analyst trying to find a nuke and secure it before it goes off, chasing the theft of the device all over Europe, until the inevitable showdown in the US of A.

It did, for a long time, feature one of my all-time favourite car chases of any film (until I watched Ronin, that is). In that scene – to this soundtrack I might add – Clooney and Kidman are ambushed, and so drive into a town square, but find themselves surrounded by bad guys. At this point, amidst the erupting bullet storm, a hydrogen pump bursts, and turns the cobbled floors into an ice-rink. The cars slide and smash into each other like dogems, machine guns blazing. It’s very fun to watch, and very epic!

2. The Rock

One score that frequents many ‘Zimmer’ lists, The Rock tells the story of an American army officer’s attempt to bring government compensation to the families of his fallen comrades by hijacking chemical missiles and aiming them at San Francisco. Whilst we see the film through the viewpoint of the ‘good guys’ working for a corrupt American government, it isn’t until the closing ten minutes that the real bad guys are finally revealed. In one of Micheal Bay’s more complex and sensitive films (dare I say, ‘intelligent’) Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage storm the island prison of the title to save the city.

This particular part of the score plays at the opening, when we see the crazed army general steal the chemical weapons without killing anyone – yet losing one of his own men in the process. The scenes opens with the general standing over the grave of his deceased beloved, asking for forgiveness before the events of the films. It is a very unusual way to start an action film of this calibre, but is all the better for it!

1. Broken Arrow

One of my favourite all-time films, Broken Arrow is one of John Woo’s earlier American credentials. After ‘Hard Target’, Woo dropped Van-Damme, and invested a bigger-budget to tell a story of two American air-force pilots fighting in the Utah desert for custody of two nuclear missiles (again…) hijacked during a test flight.

The by-play between the two leads (Christian Slater and John Travolta) keeps things suitably theatric – with Travolta in particular reveling the role. A shoot-out in a collapsing mine, and a hand-to-hand fight on a train about to explode are featured to this soundtrack. When the music kicks in, you feel it, and I doubt that I would not have so much love for this movie were it not for Zimmer’s score. They complement Woo’s direction perfectly, and two come together famously for one of the best action films of all time, and my all-time number one guilty pleasure! (Listen hard, and you might even be able to hear the future ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ score coming through!)