Batman Research Info Essay

2046 words - 8 pages

Batman Research Info

Batman: (Danny Elfman) This was Elfman's breakthrough score, catapulting him into the mainstream scoring business. Many traditionally classical composers may find fault with Elfman's dark and uniquely strange score for Batman (or, for that matter, any of Elfman's scores), but it doesn't change the fact that Batman was one of the highpoints for soundtracks of the 1980's. Even without the same training as many of the other top composers of this era, tributes to such classical masters as Holst, Orff, Strauss, Wagner, and others are inserted by Elfman, along with his own Gothic and operatic style.

With Batman, Elfman first showed a talent of composing for large orchestras that wasn't widely known up to that time. The main theme is the best Batman theme ever conceived --and it is a great shame, with due respect to Elliot Goldenthal, that the Batman series abandoned the great theme halfway through. Throw in the multitude of secondary themes in Batman and you get a remarkably complete score. The Joker's tinkering little magic box theme is zany enough to parallel Jack Nicholson's idiotic grin, and the mysterious cello theme is brooding enough to make the audience curious and yet fearful of learning more about Bruce Wayne's past. The love theme is likewise dark, and although it didn't work completely with Kim Basinger's persona, it suffices.

The main Batman fanfare dominates the screen during a few key points of the movie, and really enhances the depth of the film: specifically, the drumroll when Bruce Wayne opens up his costume closet to get into his armour and fight the Joker one last time, and the finale, in which the camera pulls up from the city street to reveal Batman and the spotlight on the sky --the buildup with bells and brass is enormously fun. Never again would Elfman or Elliot Goldenthal capture the same momentum, though Goldenthal's main theme for the third and fourth sequels were a creative mutation of Elfman's original theme. Perhaps the best testament to the effectiveness of Elfman's conception of the theme is its continual use in the trailers for even the most recent Batman films. Most interestingly, Elfman first thought up the tune on an airplane ride, and went to the toilet so he could hum the tune into a tape recorder in private...

And I suppose "fun" would be a good way to describe the entire score. It is so reminiscent of the overtures that a person would hear from a European symphony 200 years ago; like the film, Batman a timeless composition. A considerable team of composers and orchestrators, conductors worked on this score, and the effort shows. It's mixed well with the film and the percussion never drowns out the rest of the orchestra. This CD is a classic and I recommend it to everyone. In sales, it has rivaled Prince's song album for the film even ten years after the initial release of both albums. And even though Elfman employed the same theme a few years later in Batman Returns, that...

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