In Zimmer's career, there have been many ups and downs, twists and turns. I would almost equate him to Beethoven in that both stages of their careers where marked by certain characteristics that distinguished them apart. However, in the case of Zimmer, his has been one of an odd declining quality. Marred by an indistinguishable use of synthesizers and an over reliance on the people at Media Ventures, Zimmer gives off an impression of laziness in his work. I don't mean to bash Zimmer but to honestly critique this score, one of his older works, I can't help but see where he came from, and where he is now. Another thing that detracts a lot from this review is that a full score was never released to the public save for an expanded score which really didn't that much added material: one short cue and the True Romance
The First Cue is (Your So Cool)which is the corner stone to the entire movie and score. Based on Gaussenhaur by Carl Orff
. The cue works with a steady marimba introduction moving to a full percussion section. Then it slows off to reveal added synthetic strings to the mixture which resolves with a lovely horn section playing to the perfect cadence. Now there where those who claim that Zimmer Ripped from Orff, whose work was intended to actually be used in percussion education to teach improvisation. Yet those who are wise to musical history also realize that Orff actually borrowed from an old piece lutenist Hans Neusiedler from 1536. I bring this up because while what ever inspired Zimmer, his theme is very thematically different and he sticks true to what makes this score work: The Marimba.
His use of this instrument is generally used to denote a kind of dream like trance. Much like the protagonist Clarence, Zimmer's use of the instrument helps to reveal a kind of naive personality of the protagonist Clarence as he is swept of his feet into the dangerous world of Alabama(character,not state). When the danger starts though we are greeted to some awesome guitar and percussion work that may have actually been a precursor to Zimmer's Thelma and Louise. The action makes itself known in the cue (Star at Dawn) and briefly injects it into the climatic cue (Amid the chaos of the day).
As for the extra music well they don't really add much to the three cues on the soundtrack. The cue(Romance Meeting)is the opening 57 seconds of (Amid the chaos of the day) save the ending which ends on a perfect cadence giving the sense of conclusion rather than fading into the action part like the latter cue. The suite however is nothing more than (your so cool) and (amid the chaos of the day) back to back with the ending of the chaos cue reaching a kind of more satisfying conclusion.
In the end though 5 cues does not give me enough to go by strictly from the narrative sense and the extra material is really more of two of the other cues but harmonized better at their conclusions. This score is really more like a 7.5 in my book but I rounded up because at its core it really is beautiful music, and this is probably one of the few times I have ever called a Zimmer work: Beautiful.
Read other recent reviews by Chris R.: The Croods
, Wreck-It Ralph
, Cloud Atlas