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View Poll Results: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film
Danny Elfman (Batman & Batman Returns) 56 67.47%
Elliot Goldenthal (Batman Forever & Batman and Robin) 2 2.41%
Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (Batman Begins & The Dark Knight) 25 30.12%
Voters: 83. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-22-2010, 02:08 PM   #26
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

I prefer Elfman's Returns over Batman Begins, tied with TDK, however, I'd rather listen to begins than B89. All are great though, and one thing is for sure, even throughout the bad times...B&R...Batman has had great music consistently.

Mashup for Elfman/Zimmer/Newton-Howard

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Old 09-24-2010, 02:01 PM   #27
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

I think all 3 composers were perfect for thier roles. Eflman created this Gothic, Operatic choir, Goldenthal created a superhero music for the toy commercials that Schumacher did and Zimmer provided a dark crime theme

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Old 09-25-2010, 09:27 PM   #28
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Elfman all the way.
The problem with Zimmer and Howard's scores for the Nolan films is that they are generic trailer music, IMO. It really doesn't feel like a Batman movie when I hear it. It captures the tone Nolan wants but that's it. There aren't many themes to identify the characters with either and if there are it feels lazy and too simple to me.

Batman's motif is two simple notes. Zimmer claims that Batman hasn't earned his theme yet so that's why he has a simple motif that you hear in Black Rain and any other action film he scored. I'm not going to bother comparing it to Elfman's, Walker's or even Goldenthal's theme , which I think is underrated.

The Joker has a one note theme. I'll admit it captured some of Heath's performance but definitely not all of it. There's more to Heath's performance than being scary and dark and Zimmer missed it big time. One note doesn't do his performance justice at all. Ledger gave an amazing performance to one of the best villains on any medium and all he gets is one silly long note. Darth Vader, the shark from Jaws, Doc Ock, Norman Bates, and so on and so forth have great themes to go with great performances but the joker the one played by an actor who passed away shortly after filming and received a posthumus oscar for arguably portraying the best joker on screen get's one silly ridiculously long note.

Harvey Dent's theme is basically Batman's. Probably to parallel Dent's White Knight to Wayne's Dark Knight. Still seems lazy. I was very disappointed in that theme compared to everything else b/c Howard wrote it without the aid of Zimmer as Zimmer did with the Joker. Instead Dent's theme might as well have been written by Zimmer since it sounded like Zimmer anyways.

Another problem is Nolan. IMO Nolan doesn't have an ear for music. That seems to be a flaw he has in every movie of his. Now don't get me wrong I do think TDK is good in a guilty pleasure kind of way but nothing else. It's music you could play while working out , drawing, etc. Not really a good listening experince unless you're busy doing something while that's playing in the background. Back to Nolan, Inception had the potential to do a lot of things with the music as did BB and TDK and missed the oppotunity. Instead Nolan wanted Zimmer to write his usual generic loud trailer music instead of a psychological dense score that could create layers just to emulate the dreams and emotions in the movie.

Too bad those scores had so much potential to be great and missed it big time. Sad when two composers like Zimmer and Howard , who are so much better than what Nolan gives them credit for, collaborate and come up with something like what they came up with for BB and TDK. Nolan's Batman scores are nothing but guilty pleasures to my ears.

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Old 09-25-2010, 10:01 PM   #29
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:52 AM   #30
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

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Originally Posted by Elevator Man View Post
Elfman all the way.
The problem with Zimmer and Howard's scores for the Nolan films is that they are generic trailer music, IMO. It really doesn't feel like a Batman movie when I hear it. It captures the tone Nolan wants but that's it. There aren't many themes to identify the characters with either and if there are it feels lazy and too simple to me.

Batman's motif is two simple notes. Zimmer claims that Batman hasn't earned his theme yet so that's why he has a simple motif that you hear in Black Rain and any other action film he scored. I'm not going to bother comparing it to Elfman's, Walker's or even Goldenthal's theme , which I think is underrated.

The Joker has a one note theme. I'll admit it captured some of Heath's performance but definitely not all of it. There's more to Heath's performance than being scary and dark and Zimmer missed it big time. One note doesn't do his performance justice at all. Ledger gave an amazing performance to one of the best villains on any medium and all he gets is one silly long note. Darth Vader, the shark from Jaws, Doc Ock, Norman Bates, and so on and so forth have great themes to go with great performances but the joker the one played by an actor who passed away shortly after filming and received a posthumus oscar for arguably portraying the best joker on screen get's one silly ridiculously long note.

Harvey Dent's theme is basically Batman's. Probably to parallel Dent's White Knight to Wayne's Dark Knight. Still seems lazy. I was very disappointed in that theme compared to everything else b/c Howard wrote it without the aid of Zimmer as Zimmer did with the Joker. Instead Dent's theme might as well have been written by Zimmer since it sounded like Zimmer anyways.

Another problem is Nolan. IMO Nolan doesn't have an ear for music. That seems to be a flaw he has in every movie of his. Now don't get me wrong I do think TDK is good in a guilty pleasure kind of way but nothing else. It's music you could play while working out , drawing, etc. Not really a good listening experince unless you're busy doing something while that's playing in the background. Back to Nolan, Inception had the potential to do a lot of things with the music as did BB and TDK and missed the oppotunity. Instead Nolan wanted Zimmer to write his usual generic loud trailer music instead of a psychological dense score that could create layers just to emulate the dreams and emotions in the movie.

Too bad those scores had so much potential to be great and missed it big time. Sad when two composers like Zimmer and Howard , who are so much better than what Nolan gives them credit for, collaborate and come up with something like what they came up with for BB and TDK. Nolan's Batman scores are nothing but guilty pleasures to my ears.
I completely agree.

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Old 10-04-2010, 03:10 AM   #31
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Cool Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

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Originally Posted by Elevator Man View Post
Elfman all the way.
The problem with Zimmer and Howard's scores for the Nolan films is that they are generic trailer music, IMO. It really doesn't feel like a Batman movie when I hear it. It captures the tone Nolan wants but that's it. There aren't many themes to identify the characters with either and if there are it feels lazy and too simple to me.
This is because the music for the Advertisement (Trailer) is licensed. Hans Zimmer, etc. doesn't actually score the ad/commercial, this is typically handled by a different composer! Stock music (pre-written music) is licensed in almost all cases for the Trailer.

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Old 10-04-2010, 03:49 PM   #32
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

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This is because the music for the Advertisement (Trailer) is licensed. Hans Zimmer, etc. doesn't actually score the ad/commercial, this is typically handled by a different composer! Stock music (pre-written music) is licensed in almost all cases for the Trailer.
I think you misunderstood his post.

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Old 10-05-2010, 10:58 AM   #33
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Elfman and it's not close.

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Old 10-05-2010, 11:59 AM   #34
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Elfman by FAR.

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Old 10-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #35
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

Danny Elfman, by far.

But as others have pointed out, how could you have possibly left Shirley Walker off this poll? She's the only other contender who can arguably give Elfman a run for his money.

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:17 PM   #36
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

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Danny Elfman, by far.

But as others have pointed out, how could you have possibly left Shirley Walker off this poll? She's the only other contender who can arguably give Elfman a run for his money.
Well, but she was pretty much repeating Elfman's score with some original additions which were also made in Elfman's style

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Old 10-05-2010, 09:25 PM   #37
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Well, but she was pretty much repeating Elfman's score with some original additions which were also made in Elfman's style
Not really, no. She used the Elfman theme a lot in the early days of TAS, but that was actually because the studio had called for that to tie the show to the current movies (that's also why some character models are similar). As the show went on Walker developed her own theme and eventually came to use it instead. It's similar to Elfman, but better in my opinion.

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Old 10-05-2010, 09:31 PM   #38
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It's Elfman for me. I favor scores with memorable, hummable character themes and his Batman theme is one of the greats. BATMAN RETURNS is probably my most cherished soundtrack album.

I also think Shirley Walker's gorgeous, Hermannic score for MASK OF THE PHANTASM should make her worthy of a slot on this poll. Her best work was, to my mind, in some of the episodes within the series like TWO-FACE and RIDDLER'S REFORM (which sounds like it could've been ripped from a Hitchcock picture).

Zimmer & Newtown Howard's scores are both efficient and effective, but have no lasting impact on me, certainly not the way the other scores in the poll do. Interestingly, when I saw SHERLOCK HOLMES and INCEPTION, those scores stuck in the forefront of my mind for weeks afterward. Not the case with BATMAN BEGINS or THE DARK KNIGHT.

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Old 10-05-2010, 09:58 PM   #39
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

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Not really, no. She used the Elfman theme a lot in the early days of TAS, but that was actually because the studio had called for that to tie the show to the current movies (that's also why some character models are similar). As the show went on Walker developed her own theme and eventually came to use it instead. It's similar to Elfman, but better in my opinion.

Yeah but in the first 2 season Walker simply reused Elfman's score from primarily the first movie with some additional tweaks, using the same instruments and style as Elfman did on the score for the first movie. All that was part of the idea to continue Burton's world in the animated series, more or less (the Goth Deco design, the gangster noir, the 1940s style and a big portion of consistency, like Penguin's deformed look and Jack Napier name were the other elements). And after all, she did work with Danny for many years and on many projects including scoring the Batman movie as well so she understood that style

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:05 AM   #40
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It's no mystery that the Burton films had both aesthetical and financial impact on the direction of the series.

Seeing the success of "BATMAN" and the anticipation fans had for "Batman Returns," it's obvious that Warners wanted to keep that momentum going on any other project based on the property.

So when the series came around, their influence can be felt with the proceeding examples...specifically the Penguin's animation model (and subsequent use of the Duck-Mobile in the episode "The Mechanic"), the mention of the Joker's alias being Jack Napier in "Dreams in Darkness" and, most obviously, the use of Danny Elfman's theme by Shirley Walker.

But aside from "On Leather Wings," "Nothing to Fear" and "The Last Laugh," I can't recall another TAS episode that used cues from Elfman's theme.

So that's three Season 1 episodes...out of, what, eighty five total FOX episodes?

Burton's depiction was clearly immensely popular with both general audiences and fans, so it's a great visual impression of where the series should go in terms of tone and atmosphere...but TAS quickly became its own entity almost immediately and certainly by the release of "Mask of the Phantasm" the year following its debut on FOX, the show had left Burton's influence behind as best it could (that Penguin model notwithstanding, though they finally were able to do away with that for "The New Batman Adventures" on Kids WB in '97).

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:30 AM   #41
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the mention of the Joker's alias being Jack Napier in "Dreams in Darkness"
And we see it on Joker's police file in "Joker's Wild"(http://gothamalleys.blogspot.com/201...-of-joker.html)

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But aside from "On Leather Wings," "Nothing to Fear" and "The Last Laugh," I can't recall another TAS episode that used cues from Elfman's theme.

Thats true but her style was still that of Burton's, using tubas, cellos and percussion extensively, thats why I think her music can be included in the Elfman option

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Old 10-06-2010, 06:20 PM   #42
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Personally, I think Walker and Elfman shared similar influences, more than Walker being specifically influenced by Elfman's BATMAN scores. Listen to Bernard Hermann's score for VERTIGO, then watch BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS and BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. You can hear the Hermannic touches pervading through all of those in different ways.

Also, shouldn't Nelson Riddle be an option here? His score for BATMAN: THE MOVIE is fantastic. I'd probably put it just behind Elfman and Walker.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:12 AM   #43
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Danny Elfman, out of this poll. But I feel that the best Batman composer ever was Shirley Walker.



As far as live action movies tho, Danny Elfman is so far ahead of the others it's unbelievable. It's not just the quality of the music either. He and Burton somehow managed to be so much on the same page that the actual score (not an edited version) coincided with what was on screen. He captures the tragedy and darkness of the Batman world perfectly.

Elliot Goldenthal had the misfortune of being associated with B/R. His score (especially the main theme) is adventurous and fun. Ideal for how Id imagine Denny O'neal's Batman theme would sound.

Zimmer and Howard, on the other hand, absolutely suck, imo. There is absolutely NO sense that they put their all into anything they've contributed so far. Every lick of it is boring, repetitive, and worst of all, simplistic. I'm a musician. And I work my ass off at what I do. I know that I would go the extra limb to at the very least, do some type of chord progression. Every so often I find myself sitting bored at the keyboard and I'll run my hand up and down hitting any random note, and end up playing a part of the BB/TDK score. That's how simple it is. Like the movie's themselves, and their Director, Zimmer and Howard's score is completely overrated.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:26 AM   #44
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I agree about the main theme completely, however I think their score for the tender moments and buildups are brilliant. I think the music from Bruce's training, assembling the costume and getting up while surrounded by bats or thinking about his parents is fantastic and really affect the viewer. The action scenes however, leave plenty to desire

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Old 10-07-2010, 11:58 AM   #45
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I'm not the biggest fan of the Zimmer/JNH scores, but I fail to see how simplicity is bad. It's one thing not to prefer more minimalistic approaches, but to discredit them only because the music is easy to perform is baseless.

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Old 10-07-2010, 03:31 PM   #46
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Shirley Walker. She's actually responsible for a lot more of the Elfman soundtrack than people realize (at least according to Bruce Timm and all the people behind B:TAS) and she took the movie score and really developed it further. The music from Mask of the Phantasm always gives me chills.

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Old 10-09-2010, 08:45 AM   #47
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I think that's a vote for Goldenthal.

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Old 10-09-2010, 08:10 PM   #48
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Shirley Walker. She's actually responsible for a lot more of the Elfman soundtrack than people realize (at least according to Bruce Timm and all the people behind B:TAS) and she took the movie score and really developed it further. The music from Mask of the Phantasm always gives me chills.
You believed Bruce Timm and his B:TAS crew who weren't involved whatsoever with any of Burton's Batman films ?

I'm tired of this "Walker being responsible for the Batman 89 score" BS . When all she did was conducted and did additional orchetrations (which wasn't that much) for the score. Bartek (Elfman's longtime orchestrator and friend)orchestrated most of the score. Both Bartek and Walker have stated many times that Elfman was the man and brains behind the Batman score. When critics claimed they were the ones behind the score.

Let me make this clear to everyone who doubts it. ELFMAN WROTE THE BATMAN SCORE HIMSELF. If you don't believe it buy the book "Danny Elfman's Batman: A Film Score Guide". I don't know why it's hard for people to believe that especially now that Elfman is still one of the most sought after composers working today.

His Batman score had some shades of Beetlejuice which he composed before working with Walker. Also if Walker was responsible for the Batman score how come she didn't come back for Batman Returns. A score that a lot of people believe surpassed the original. Again proof that Elfman didn't need Walker's help with the first Batman score or any other score she worked with Elfman on. Except Nightbreed where she wrote an additional cue callled "Charge of the Berserkers" if I'm not mistaken. But that's it.

BTW, BTAS is mainly leftovers from Walker's The Flash . No offense. I love her music for both shows but you can hear it in there.

The reason Bruce Timm hired her other than the fact that she conducted the Batman 89 score was he liked her work on The Flash very much.

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Old 10-09-2010, 09:07 PM   #49
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Default Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?

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Shirley Walker. She's actually responsible for a lot more of the Elfman soundtrack than people realize (at least according to Bruce Timm and all the people behind B:TAS) and she took the movie score and really developed it further. The music from Mask of the Phantasm always gives me chills.
Evidence please. Elfman has proven once and again he's one of the best composers out there and he doesn't rely on Walker to make one great score after another. Sure, Walker orchestrated it very well, but if anything her BTAS score owes Elfman a lot, not the other way around.

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Old 10-13-2010, 06:08 PM   #50
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Danny Elfman

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