Jason FLZ, in his review of this soundtrack, brings up the point of Hans Zimmer’s propensity of using material from other soundtracks. While I don’t think it’s as prevalent as Jason FLZ contends, it is nonetheless apparent in this soundtrack. But Rango has so much more going for it. With some exception, the music is great fun that does Zimmer’s reputation justice. Also, the inclusion of some of the dialogue from the film adds a certain cohesiveness to the tracks.
At 34 minutes, the soundtrack is anything but elaborate, with almost all of the tracks under two minutes in length. The music is neither complicated nor heavy - both of which Zimmer is known for. In fact, Rango is comparable to his recent scoring for Megamind, although I would argue this soundtrack sounds better and is more worthwhile. The track “Bats,” for instance, is an amusing, reworked compilation of Ride of the Valkyries and Blue Danube in a western style.
Throughout these and most other tracks, there is a great Mexican/old-time western flair that really lends the music some authenticity and flavor, and while it’s nothing you haven’t heard in thousands of other cliche western soundtracks, Zimmer’s ability to enmesh into this score is truly refreshing. Perhaps least surprisingly, Zimmer puts his incredible talents to work when scoring for moments of triumph during the film, providing the listener with the grand and heartening music that soundtrack listeners have come to love and expect from Zimmer.
When reviewing the soundtracks of Hans Zimmer or of those who work for his production studio, there is the unfortunate necessity to mention that some of the music is borrowed. Rango is no different. In parts of the tracks “Bats,” as well as nearly the entirety of “Sunset Shot” and “Name’s Rango,” Zimmer uses the same melody as can be found all throughout the soundtrack for K-19: The Widowmaker, which was written by Zimmer’s underling, Klaus Badelt. What’s more, many of the tracks written to evoke the character of Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) sound unabashedly similar to the sauntering and swashbuckling themes Zimmer and his underlings wrote for the character Captain Jack Sparrow (also played by Johnny Depp) in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
In all, the film has been expertly made to stand on its own two feet. Often, soundtracks are really not enjoyable unless the film is familiar to the listener, but such is not the case here. The use of small snippets of film dialogue fills in the story behind the soundtrack, making the listening experience as much its own tale as the movie itself. The tracks are short and light, full of fun and upbeat music exhibiting everything from Richard Wagner to cliche western flair. Sure, it borrows some musical elements from other soundtracks, but I think everyone expects that from Zimmer and his crew, and it alone is no reason not to listen to this soundtrack.
Read other recent reviews by Steve Ewing: Game of Thrones
, Winnie the Pooh
, Breakfast at Tiffany's