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Old 06-19-2012, 12:36 AM   #176
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Default Re: Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread!



Batman Returns turns 20 today. Since there's already a thread talking about BR hitting 20 (the film) in the BR thread. I wanted to talk about it's score here.

Hard to believe that 20 years ago BR came out. Back when scores to a Batman movie were worth bragging about. The film dealt with plenty controversy. The score however didn't dealt with any at all I believe unlike B89. Elfman was back as well as Keaton and Burton to tell a different tale of the caped crusader and his universe. The score (and film) wasn't a rehash of B89. The film felt like a seperate universe from B89 even. BR was a lot more darker and gothic than B89, imo and Elfman's score reflected that.

Elfman's Batman theme comes back better than ever. The theme never feels repetitive or like the theme is running on fumes. It stays fresh and Elfman takes the theme in many different directions that he didn't or couldn't in his B89 score. The Batman theme in BR though is the same theme still feels quite different from his B89 score.

Elfman wrote themes for the two villains.The Penguin theme wasn't really that evil or played as a typical villain theme but as more tragic, poetic and even innocent at times making it seem like he's more of victim like Batman was as a child. The theme really captures the psychological trauma Penguin feels about being abandoned by his parents and not fitting in with the world or high society. The theme's also sinister at times capturing penguin's deepest and darkest secrets like him having a history of killing innocent children. It's a great theme and is Elfman's favorite theme in the score I believe. Probably b/c of how tragic and pathetic it is like Devito's intepretation of the character. It really nails DeVito's portrayal like a glove.

His Catwoman theme is very cat like with the strings. It really captures Pfeiffer's attitude and performance perfectly. Especially during the track "Selina Transforms". That scene has hardly any dialogue but the music (and Pfeiffer's "powerful" acting in that scene) carries it perfectly and adds a lot of weight. The theme (just like penguin's own) really get's inside Catwoman's psychologically damaged head.

There's also a theme that connects Batman, Catwoman , and the Penguin. Proving that theiy're all the same. It's true in a way b/c they all break the law and are looked at as criminals. They were all victims at one time. Batman's parent's were murdered in front of him as a child, Penguin was abandoned and left for dead as a baby by his own parents and Catwoman was left for dead after getting thrown out a window by her boss. Also Batman, Catwoman, Penguin each want revenge. Batman gets vengeance for his parents murder by fighting crime and going after every criminal who threatens Gotham. Penguin wants revenge by killing all of Gotham's firstborn sons by drowning each. I guess b/c he never had the life that they had. And Catwoman wants revenge against Shreck for killing (or attempting to kill) her. There's more similarities I'm sure. But I like that Elfman wrote a theme that connects those three characters. It really nails the tragic and dark side of who've they've become after their traumatic events led to them to it.

The score also has some circus music (that Elfman was known for at the time) for the Penguin's Red Triangle Gang. It really sets itself apart from B89 with that music.

BR (film & score) is a lot more magical and operatic than B89. It's very much in the style of Elfman's Edward Scissorhands . It even has his typical gothic chorus ("La La La"). The score as is the film itself is very fantasy/fairy tale like. I think the score still holds up after 20 years. And though B89 is more iconic BR is more emotional and has more heart than the B89 score(which has plenty of heart itself) . A lot of fans consider this score to be one of Elfman's masterpieces. And I agree. I also think the score is right up there with B89 if not over it. LLLR released an expanded cd release for both B89 and BR (as well as B66, BF, some B:TAS eps). B89 came out in the summer of 2010 (with 5000 units)while BR came out on Black Friday in 2010 (with 3500 units). BR sold out (in fact 2 or 3 weeks ago it did) before B89 (which has yet to sell out as I type this). http://www.lalalandrecords.com/BatmanReturns.html So though B89 is the most popular score of the two with fans BR is definitely the favorite score of the two among fans.

So on that note Happy 20th Anniversary Batman Returns. 20 years later and it's still very timeless, imo. Classic film and score.

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Old 06-19-2012, 08:39 PM   #177
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totally agreed. Returns has aged better then the other 3 batman films of the 90's. there is no question that the batman scores of today, ala zimmer, is just blah. nothing to it. its just a bunch of weird sound effects and synthsizer. in short, very unmemorable. but its not just with batman. many hollywood movies today and action films imparticular are suffering from electronica style scores. what made the original batman film scores great along with many other numerous film scores of the 80's and 90's, like Die Hard and The Mummy, was the huge REAL unfiltered big bold heroic full-on orchestrational music that amazing compsers like elfman, john williams, jerry goldsmith, michael kamen made for these classic films. the scores are so much a part of the film, that without them, half the magic is gone. film scores today have taken such a hit, and its so sad. its like someone said "no more romantisism, we dont want very heroic sounding scores, its too "corny" and old fashioned to have a big score in the movies anymore. everything must sound cheap and be electronicy with unmemorable, unrecognizable themes (if there even are any to be found)."


its quite a sad state in the movie music world. BUT we can always remember and treasure these classics with the gorgeus music, like the Batman Returns and 1989 Batman scores. i own both expanded versions, the Returns score is beautifull.

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Old 06-23-2012, 12:32 AM   #178
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Another interview with Elfman. I know how many interviews does this guy do right? This interview took place last Saturday at the LA Film Festival 2012 where he talked about his influneces and film music with Elvis Mitchell. It's 56 minutes long. Some of the things he's mentioned many times in other interviews, but he did talk about some things he doesn't often get asked. It was a very entertaining interview overall, imo. If you want to check out the interview in a nutshell. The 2nd video of the same interview is condensed to 4 mins. On the first video at 38m:39s he talks about B89 and how TPTB temp tracked the music for the "Finale" scene with Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and didn't want to replace it with any original music. Very interesting, but Elfman pulled through and wrote something that's probably one of the best tracks ever put to film, imo.

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:31 AM   #179
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Just got done listening to Dark Shadows finally. This is definitely one of those scores that'll take repeated listenings to fully appreciate, but overall I enjoyed it. It doesn't feel like a typical Elfman score to a Burton movie to me. Eventhough it has the key ingredients to scoring a Burton movie Elfman still keeps the score feeling fresh (with more minimalism and old school synthesisers) from past Burton related scores. It's also arguably his darkest score for Burton, imo. The score has no whimsical, light, or happy moments that all of his Burton related scores ( maybe except for POTA but that score had a sense of hope in a few tracks) tend to have at times. The score is very operatic, melodramatic and a little depressing in a baroque kind of way. The score really has a sense of doom maybe capitalising Barnabas' curse and being out of time from everyone else. I hear hints of Elfman's The Wolfman (or Kilar-esque moments) in a few tracks but that's not a complaint. Just something I notice. The score really adds a lot more weight on the cd than it did in the actual film, which is surprising for a Burton film. "Darks Shadows - Prologue","Shadows - Reprise", "House Of Blood", "Final Confrontation", "Widow's Hill - Finale", and "The End" are some of the highlights on the cd. I can't wait to listen to it again to hear anything I missed the first time. As well as hearing and finding other layers to the score, b/c I know I didnt catch everything on the first listen.

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Old 06-26-2012, 02:05 AM   #180
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I've mostly hated the Elfman's film scores that he's most known for. It used to be that the only ones I liked were Midnight Run and Dead Presidents. A lot of that had to do with the fact that they didn't sound like Elfman. But I think he's gotten better more recently as he's moved away from what made most of his scores sound so similar. I thought Wanted was okay.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:54 PM   #181
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Finally got around to listening to this. And my first impression is that I enjoyed it a lot. Not sure how I rank it with the other two until I listen to it more and after I listen to all 3 back to back. I found this score a lot more fun than his Dark Shadows score. I'm not dissing DS. In fact I appreciate DS more and more after each listen just like I figured I would. It's just that it's not really a pleasant or fun score, but both scores as well as films are very different DS is a dark, macabre, operatic and at times minimalistic score. While MIB3 is just wacky, over-the -top, fun, whimsical and adventurous, imo. So both scores have something the other doesn't, imo. So it makes sense why MIB3 is easier to listen to.

If you're a fan of the other two MIB scores you should be able to enjoy this one as well. It's quirky like the other two. Though it's not as hyper as MIIB, imo. Eventhough that's what I love about the MIIB score. If you're not a fan of the other two scores then I doubt you'll enjoy this one either.

Elfman does go back to familiar ideas other than with the MIB theme obviously. But sometimes he uses a beat that he used from both scores but then twists it into something fresh and new. For example the beginning of the piece "Forget Me Not" has a similar beat that's used at the beginning of "J Nabbed" from MIIB. He just turns it on it's head this time. I even heard the theme for "the light" from MIIB make two appearances towards the climax of the album. It's very subtlely used though, imo. He doesn't use the familiar pieces as a crutch like Hans did for TDKR or TDK for that matter.

I know some found this to be annoying but I like how the MIB theme is played mostly with electric guitars. The theme feels more fresh and upbeat. And even more hip and awesome than before, imo. The MIB theme and score never felt like it was running on fumes like some have stated. He only uses familiar themes and ideas b/c of it being apart of the style of his MIB scores. It never felt like it was temp tracked into the score without much difference unlike Zimmer's TDKR score.

The new themes were good also. The theme for the new character Griffin (which is introduced in"Griffin Steps Up") really captures the tone and heart of the film b/c of how crucial the character is in the film and plot. Griffin's theme reminds me of the piece that plays as K's memories reboot in MIIB ("K's Back") after being deneuralized by Jeebs. And in MIB at the beginning of "Finale" when K's about to get neuralized by J as K's talking about the stars and such. Wonder if that was intentional. The theme for the villain Boris is not very typical of Elfman's villain themes either. It's not as in your face as his others, but I thought it worked well with the character and with the rest of the score.

K's theme also returns and makes a few appearances on the album. It's used very effectively and is made the best use of in "Mission Accomplished".

I also liked the pacing of the album it's 53m and 54s long. It doesn't feel like it drags or is too long. I was never bored. I think most of the score if not all of it is on the album. I can't recall anything missing that was in the film.

I think the album becomes nonstop fun when "The Prize-Monocycles" begins all the way through the rest of the album. I enjoy this score while listening to it. I think Elfman did a great job for his first 3rd score in a trilogy. It's been long over due for him to complete a trilogy. I think he did a much better job than Zimmer did with TDKR score. I felt Elfman put a lot more effort in this and wasn't relying too much on the temp track unlike Mr Zimmer, imho.

I do wish the "Men In Black 3 -Main Titles Revisited" was longer it's sadly only a minute and a half long. It also kind of ended abruptly on the album. The theme really didn't feel like it went out with a bang. It only left me hungry for more.

I'm not being biased. I found the score very enjoyable. I know I'm in the minority, but I think it's a great 3rd score to an already great trilogy of scores. Sure it's not oscar worthy or groundbreaking. And definitely not one of Elfman's best scores. I still found it to be a lot of fun. One of the better scores this summer. He definitely delivered on this. I definitely prefer this 3rd score over the other big 3rd score this summer by Mr. Zimmer.

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Old 07-26-2012, 09:35 AM   #182
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Okay for those interested in Elfman's upcoming score to "Frankenweenie". You can already pre-order it on Amazon. The cd will be released on Sept. 25th.

http://filmmusicreporter.com/2012/07...rack/#comments

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Old 07-31-2012, 01:06 PM   #183
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Looks like I'm going to have to pre-order it. I'm very excited to hear his Frankenweenie score, especially after how pleased I was with Dark Shadows an MIB3. It's been a good year for Elfman.

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Old 08-09-2012, 11:42 AM   #184
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So it looks like Disney wants the goth/emo crowd's money by releasing another soundtrack album for Frankenweenie featuring various artists ("Frankenweenie Unleashed")on the same day the score album's released. SIGH! So just like they milked money by releasing two seperate soundtracks for Alice In Wonderland (2010). They're pullling the same stunt with Frankenweenie. These songs for" Frankenweenie Unleashed" just like "Almost Alice" probably won't have much to do with the movie itself but to promote the artists involved. I shouldn't be surprised by this b/c Disney milked money from TBTNBC by having different artists perform the songs from that a few years ago on two different occassions.

Though one artist wrote a song for the movie which will play at the end credits taking away the spotlight once again from Elfman. Just like Avril Lavigne's song did for AIW. They released the "glow in the dark" cover for it 6 days ago, which will make little kids rush to buy it b/c of that cheap gimmick I'm sure . Don't care for this album and am only interested in the score. Excluding the one song that'll play at the end credits. It's pointless releasing a song album that most likely has nothing to do with the film. Disney once again being greedy.



http://www.rollingstone.com/music/ne...ashed-20120803


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Old 08-10-2012, 01:18 PM   #185
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Okay so I've listened to MIB3 more and even listen to it back to back with the previous two scores. Which all in all are all great scores. I can't really pick a favorite b/c each score has something the others doesn't.

MIB is the most serious of the three, but it has a mixture of a lot of elements. It's at times serious, dramatic, hip, whimsical, quirky, and adventureous. The 1st score also plays the comedy the most straight of the three as well. While MIIB is the most wild and fun score of the three, imo. It's the least dramatic of the scores compared to the other two b/c it does have a few dramatic bits. It's very wacky and has it's tongue on it's cheek most of the time. MIB 3 is the most dramatic and mature of the scores, imo. It's the least quirky of the three. The action music isn't as hyper as MIIB or as quirky and at times odd as MIB. The action music towards the climax tracks of MIB3 are much more dramatic than usual too. I enjoy each score for how different each are from each other.

I definitely disagree about Elfman running out of ideas for MIB3 b/c I feel that it's different enough from the other two. While still keeping in style and tone of the first two MIB scores.

I also want to correct myself from an earlier post about when Griffin's theme was introduced in MIB3 score. Griffin's theme was not actually introduced in "Griffin Steps Up". But was actually introduced or hinted at in the middle of track 7 "Not Funny". Just felt I had to correct myself.

I enjoy all three scores and believe Elfman put a lot of effort in each score to keep it fresh and fun than some give him credit for. Therefore it's hard for me to pick the best score out of the three. Like I said before all three scores have something the others doesn't, imo. And that to me says a lot about these scores.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:28 PM   #186
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I miss late 80's/early 90's Elfman...

It's not his fault, but that was definitely his peak. I could listen to Edward Scissorhands forever.

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Old 08-10-2012, 10:05 PM   #187
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Cover art for Elfman's "Frankenweenie" I find it to be cute but creepy at the same time.



Here's some more info on the "Frankenweenie Unleashed" album in case anyone was interested in that.

http://filmmusicreporter.com/2012/08...ack-announced/

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Old 08-13-2012, 10:47 AM   #188
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Yikes. Not liking that cover. It looks so... Photoshopped. But whatever. It's the music that's the important thing, and I'm excited to hear it.

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:31 PM   #189
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Fans of Boingo/old school Elfman should check out this 1990 E! interview with him. If you haven't already, but it's in poor quality.

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Old 08-25-2012, 07:12 PM   #190
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Well it looks like the tracklist has been revealed for Elfman's "Frankenweenie" album. It has 22 tracks. Two of 'em of which are bonus tracks. Good to know Elfman scored a "Main Title" for the movie and is using his trademark cue title "Final Confrontation" as well.

http://filmmusicreporter.com/2012/08...ls/#more-12294

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Old 08-26-2012, 06:06 AM   #191
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Can't wait to see Frankenweenie. The last really good Elfman scores for me were Milk and Hulk. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was pretty good too. I agree that he hasn't had his definitive 90s style for a long time, which is sad. But at the same time, I really like the times where he actively tries to be different from the typical 'Danny Elfman'. I feel like he's just going through the motions with so many scores..it's just generic rehashes of his previous 'style'.

Currently writing a fan-fic third Burton Batman here and have been trying to picture a Danny Elfman Scarecrow theme in my head - something like an evolution of the amazing Penguin/Catwoman themes. At the moment I've just got the Sleepy Hollow theme as a placeholder.

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Old 08-26-2012, 02:23 PM   #192
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^^^I enjoy Elfman's early film scores as well, but I think he's evolved and matured quite a bit in the last decade. I know I'm in the minority but I believe he scored a lot more hits than misses in the last decade. The only real miss, imo, was "Meet the Robinsons", which felt like a rehash of "Corpse Bride" and "Charlotte's Web (2006)" in a few parts. It just felt like Elfman was mostly on autopilot. He's done many scores in the last decade that showed his range "The Family Man', "Proof of Life", "Planet of the Apes (2001)", "Hulk" (eventhough I hear hints of "Red Dragon" in it), "Big Fish", "The Kingdom", "Standard Operating Procedure", "Wanted", "Milk", "Notorious", "Terminator Salvation", "Taking Woodstock", and "The Next Three Days". So he's gotten out of his comfort zone many times. I don't think any of his scores aside from "Meet the Robinsons" sound generic. Despite what haters say his Spider-man scores don't sound like any of his superhero scores including his Batman scores. I know some find his scores to Burton's films "generic" but I find 'em different enough from each other. It's more Burton's fault than Elfman's b/c his films tend to deal with the same themes and stories. Plus POTA '01' and Big Fish weren't typical of Burton so Elfman was able to try new things.

But yeah I'm very much looking forward to Elfman's "Frankenweenie" score.

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Old 08-26-2012, 11:19 PM   #193
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I feel in love with his Dark Shadows score the instant I heard it. I have to agree about Meet the Robinsons, that's probably the only score of his I never seem to come back to. I'm so happy to see we're getting a "Main Titles" and "Final Confrontation" in Frankenweenie. I can't wait to hear this score!

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Old 08-26-2012, 11:29 PM   #194
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I remember back in March of 2008. EW gave a first look of what the wolfman looked like in the "troubled" remake. Which was this http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20185191_2,00.html . And I remember after seeing that photo being ecstatic for the movie. A few months later I found out Joe Johnston had replaced a director and took over. Though Johnston is hit & miss at times, imo. It was interesting to see what he'd do with a gothic horror movie especially with a monster movie icon like the wolfman. He's never directed a movie like it. And the prospect of it being rated R. I was definitely curious of what he would bring to the genre and how far he'd go out of his comfort zone for it. The cast was also top notch, imo. With Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, and Benicio Del Toro portraying the horror icon, which was funny b/c he already looks strange without any make-up. Speaking of make-up another superb casting decision was hiring the great Rick Baker to do make-up for the horror legend. Which was no surprise b/c he's done outstanding make-up for a few werewolf movies before. The movie also had three Sleepy Hollow alums Andrew Kevin Walker (screenplay), Rick Heinrichs (production designer) and of course Danny Elfman.

When I found out Danny Elfman was on board I almost lost it and couldn't believe it. The Wolfman was right up Elfman's alley and I was glad Johnston had him on board. The score and film was one of my most anticipated of '09'. I anticipated that score as much as Elfman's own Spider-man 2 score, which funny enough shares similar problems behind the scenes as "The Wolfman" score did. Eventhough it's original release date was Nov. 2008. Unfortunately the movie got pushed again from April 2009 to Nov. 2009 to finally Feb. 2010. I started to lose interest in the film b/c of the delays. To add insult to injury Elfman's score at one point got rejected. And Paul Haslinger was going to be his replacement. Can't recall if it was b/c a test screening of the film or the trailer tested poorly with audiences that made TPTB want a more contemporary score instead of the traditional approach that Elfman took. TPTB claimed that the movie had another cut and Elfman's score wouldn't fit. So they decided to dump it and start from scratch with a more contemporary approach. At that point I stopped caring about the film entirely and I decided to wait for dvd or cable if I was going to ever see it. And I did.

I think sometime between Dec. '09' and Jan 2010 Johnston talked the studios into putting back Elfman's score in the movie. Orchestrator and composer Conrad Pope came in and wrote 18 mins (I believe) of additional music for the scenes Elfman's music wouldn't fit. I don't know if Haslinger wrote anything for the film. He's been very coy about the situation. Overall in the film Elfman's score was butchered and edited in places. The film itself was mediocre and disappointing. It's a shame that the film wasn't what it could've been, imo. Looking back I wish Guillermo Del Toro or even Tim Burton got the gig instead. Oh well.

Luckily Varese Sarabande released Elfman's score from the original cut, which he scored back in summer of '09'. So technically this is a 2009 score instead of a 2010 score. I don't know if it's the whole score, but it's the score Elfman originally intended. Here's some of my thoughts on a few of the tracks.

The first track "Wolf Suite Pt 1", which shares some resemblance with Wojciech Kilar's Dracula (1992) score, is pretty much the highlight for most. It opens very dark and unsettling with the piano and the screeching sounds. The moody main theme played on a viola (I believe) is used perfectly setting the tone of the film and score. It's haunting (even a little tragic) and gives the listener a sense of danger and paranoia. .It gives the feeling that the wolfman is lurking somewhere. This track really gets inside Talbot's (Del Toro's character) head and how he tries to deal with this curse brought upon him. It's a ticking clock for Talbot as when the wolfman is ready to be unleashed. It already hint's, imo, that the character is doomed. It really sets the tone for the rest of the brooding score and film. This track was suppose to be for a main title sequence that was never used at least that's what I heard anyway. Don't know if there's any truth in that, but if it was true it's a darn shame. Would've love to have seen that. Interesting bit of trivia some of this piece was used for the trailer of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", which I've heard some say works better for that trailer than it it did for the movie it was written for. I guess it's fitting since Gary Oldman starred in both Bram Stoker's Dracula and in TTSP.

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The 4th track "Dear Mr. Talbot" though short begins with the impression of urgency the way the main theme is used. The last few seconds introduces a more touching and serene theme, which will recur throughout the album, that closes this track. I like how dismal the track begins and as it slows down becomes more comforting.

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The 7th track "Wake Up Lawrence" is a more comfortable track with the main theme played more romantically and dramatic. It gets a little unsettling in the middle as the main theme starts to become a little threatening and as the secondary theme (from "Dear Mr. Talbot" ) which was usually the more calm of the two themes is played like a music box tune. It feels like a jack in a box as the secondary theme builds and builds as it's waiting for something to happen but fortunately nothing does. As the track ends the viola plays the main theme very grim as the rest of the track eases down.

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The viola or violins used at the beginning of track #9 "The Healing Montage" really captures the gloomy feeling of night beginning and the full moon rising. The chorus or choir humming the secondary theme is very chilling but at the same time feels innocent. The main theme makes a grisly appearance in the middle of the track. Hinting the wolfman's lurking or made an appearance. As the track solemnly concludes it becomes less constrained. As if the nightmare is over or has just begun.

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The ghastly 10th track "First Transformation" begins kind of graceful as the viola or violins are played very smoothly than usual. The cue becomes more sinister as Talbot begins his first transformation into the wolfman. It really captures Talbots pain and torture of his tranformation. The music is very terrifying and unpleasant. Once the agony stops the main theme makes a big statement as the transformation's complete and the wolfman appears. The music ends as the wolfman lurks and begins to hunt his victims in London. Letting the listener know the night is far from over for the wolfman.

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The viola or violins that open track #11 "You Must Go" are used gently while still being a little suspicious. It plays perfectly to Talbot's fear and paranoia of changing into the beast and hurting Gwen (Emily Blunt) and anybody else. Before the cue gets more frustrating the main theme is played very romantically and dramatic as Talbot tries to protect Gwen by keeping her away from him in case he transforms. The main theme gets grimmer and grimmer as it and Talbot anticipates his alteration into the monster.

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Track #12 "The Antique Shop" is the most sentimental track on the album. It takes place or suppose to take place during the scene where Lawrence kisses Gwen at the antique shop. I love the use of the piano in the middle. It's almost heartbreaking hearing that part of the cue b/c it gives you the feeling that Talbot and Gwen will never be together. Eventhough he loves her (at least I think he did in the movie) his curse prevents him from being around her. And the only way he can be cured from his curse is death by a silver bullet. The music is very bitter sweet when he kisses her (I'm assuming that's where the piano part takes place during) b/c he'll never get that opportunity again to kiss her or be with her with him trying to isolate himself from her, authorities, and London. It really makes me feel sorry for Lawrence being in the predicament he's in.

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A bold statement of the main theme kicks off track #13 "Country Carnage" as the wolfman wrecks havoc on anything that crosses it's path. The fierce use of the main theme really nails the animosity, brutality, and carnage of the beast. What more can I say it's a very threatening, gruesome, menacing track that nails the danger of crossing paths with the wolfman.

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The last track "Wolf Wild #2" (What happened to #1?) is a short track that wraps the score up nicely. It was probably written for the end credits. It's basically a shorter version of "Wolf Suite Pt 1". It still captures the fear of the beast lurking in the woods or where ever in darkness waiting for it's prey. It also gives me the feeling that it isn't over and that the beast will return. It's a deranged (but fitting) way to end this melancholic and brooding score.

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I enjoy the score eventhough it can be intense, somber, grim and very insensitive at times. This score really captures the ferocity, danger and atmosphere of the wolfman. It almost feels like I'm right there as Lawrence becomes the wolfman and begins lurking and killing people that crosses his path. I think Elfman did his part and wrote a score a lot more than the medicocre film deserved. He didn't disappoint me. I think it's a near masterpiece. I say that b/c he scored a rough cut and not the final cut. In a way the score doesn't quite feel complete to me. It's definitely one of his darkest scores. It's a toss up between this and Red Dragon being his darkest score for me. Since some were expecting this score to be a cousin to "Sleepy Hollow". I found it to be a much more mature score than Sleepy Hollow, which is what I consider one of Elfman's masterpieces.

If you don't like dark, gothic, and at times disturbing music then this isn't for you. The score gets really heavy, gruesome, and brutal at times when Lawrence transforms into the beast and as he causes mayhem through London and villages. The score doen't have many pleasant moments. If you want something in the vein of Sleepy Hollow, Beetlejuice, Darkman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Batman Returns where the scores have something to balance against the darkness. This might not be for you. Just like with Red Dragon Elfman doesn't hold back with the melancholy and macabre music. He never lightens up the mood with this score.

Some people also pointed out how the main theme sounds like JNH's King Kong '05' theme. I can hear sort of a similarity, but I think that was unintentional. It only sounds similar when he plays the main theme dramatically or romantically which isn't much but I don't believe it's a rip off. He uses that theme throughout "Wolf Suite Pt 1". If anything the score has more in common with Kilar's Dracula '92', which Elfman used as an inspiration. I also don't get the similarities with Williams' Dracula '79' either. I guess b/c Williams and Elfman both wrote gypsy/eastern european type music for their classic movie monsters remakes. Come on.

Anyways this is a great and at times underrated score, imo. I'm glad Elfman got the opportunity to score this. The score (other than Baker's make-up) was probably the best thing to come out of the movie, imo.

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:42 PM   #195
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Default Re: Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread!

Came across this Top 12 Danny Elfman list.

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Glad to see Elfman's uplifting "Real Steel" get recognition, as well as his scores to "Spider-man" and "Red Dragon". It's also good to know I'm not the only one to find Elfman's score to "The Kingdom" underrated as well.

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Old 09-09-2012, 07:34 AM   #196
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Default Re: The Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread!

The lack of Batman Returns on that list is an insult to Elfman...

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Old 09-09-2012, 10:01 PM   #197
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Default Re: The Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread



It was five years since Burton and Elfman collaborated on a picture again after Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. In '07' Burton directed and adapted the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" for the big screen, which didn't require Elfman's services b/c of the pre-existing music by Stephen Sondheim on the actual broadway musical was being used.

For his 2nd 2010 score Elfman reunited with Burton down the rabbit hole for the sequel to "Alice In Wonderland" titled "Alice In Wonderland". It had an all star cast with once again Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Crispin Glover as Stayne-Knave of Hearts, Michael Sheen as the voice of the White Rabbit, Stephen Fry as the voice of the Cheshire Cat, Alan Rickman as the voice of the Blue Caterpillar, with Christopher Lee voicing the Jabberwocky, and introducing Mia Wasikowska as a 19 year old Alice.

The movie was 'Meh' for the most part, imo. It could've been better since AIW was right up Burton's alley. In a way "The Nightmare Before Christmas" has a lot in common with Lewis Carroll's AIW (storywise) . So how Burton missed the mark? The visuals were nice though "stale" and "generic" b/c it's what you'd expect from Burton. Depp's Mad Hatter was nothing special either, imo. Arguably his least interesting performance for a Burton movie. I can even see shades of his previous characters (Wonka, Sparrow, Sweeney, etc.) in his portrayal of the Mad Hatter which didn't help. It feels like Burton wasn't inspired much by the movie, which is a shame. This could've been a real masterpiece with Burton's stamp on it if done right.

Elfman's score, however, didn't disappoint, imo. It's easily the best thing about the film. The movie and story would've fell apart completely without it. Elfman's score really carried the movie and kept the plot moving. It was everything the film could've been had Burton been more inspired.

I enjoy the album and score as a whole. Here's a few tracks I thought should be mentuoned from the original score album.

Track #1 'Alice's Theme", which is arguably the best track on the album for many. And is arguably one of Elfman's best themes for any movie, imo. It's the main theme of the title character. The "sweeping" theme is very whimsical, magical, majestic, catchy, and charming. It pretty much captures the essence of the characters and universe that Carroll created in the book, imo. While at the same time fitting Burton's take on it.

Elfman originally wrote the theme, but it didn't feature any lyrics until Elfman flew from or back to London to finish scoring the picture. He started hearing lyrics at an airport or on the plane and wrote it down on a piece of paper. Kind of similar to how he heard his batman theme in his head on a airplane and recorded it on a tape recorder back in '89'. The lyrics he wrote for "Alice's Theme" felt like it came from Carroll himself. That's how well it fits the characters and stories, imho. It also connects to the film's plot quite nicely. The boys choir performed the lyrics perfectly and beautifully. Their performance captures the innocence of Alice and the magical mystique of Wonderland. I feel the choir invites Alice and the listener to Wonderland. The lyrics added a lot more substance and weight to the theme, imo. I remember after seeing the movie in the theater this theme stayed in my head on my way back home. It really made me want to pick up the cd ASAP.

Some have pointed out that at the beginning it starts a little bit similar to Elfman's C&TCF "main titles". Some have mentioned how the theme is very similar to his "Black Beauty" theme. I slightly agree. I hear a little bit of similarity between those but "Alice's Theme" is a very original and inspiring theme, imo. Elfman also pointed out he got some inspiration from Phillip Glass with the score.

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Track #3 "Proposal/Down The Hole" starts off as Alice is being proposed to by a guy her family wants her to marry. She turns him down and decides to follow the White Rabbit through the forest and down the rabbit hole after being the only one distracted by it most of the ceremony. The track opens very ceremonial with the "Proposal". It makes the moment touching for the groom and everybody else but Alice. The cue really speaks well of Alice not wanting someone making her decisions that can change the rest of her life. As the main theme kicks in, when Alice abandons the ceremony, it gives Alice this sense of freedom and triumph as she chases the white rabbit (as well as her dreams) through the forrest.

"Down The Hole" is an intense, suspenseful, and almost infernal track that follows Alice through the rabbit hole and into the unknown. It's feels like a rollercoaster ride that won't stop. The organ used as the main theme returns was nice touch. I should point out the track is very similar to Elfman's "Up and Out" from C&TCF. That track was even used in the trailer for that very scene. It doesn't bother me since the situations in both films are very similar.

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Track #6 "Into The Garden" though is a short track really nails Alice's bewilderment and fascination of Wonderland/Underland as she enters it. It also gives a sense of the atmosphere that inhabits Wonderland/Underland. Which is mysterious, mythical, dazzling and eerie at the same time. It's not really played like Alice is discovering and exploring something beautiful, pleasant, peaceful and enchanting. This isn't the Wonderland she could or couldn't remember. I think the track hits that message well. It's like Alice has been there before (eventhough she can't remember and believes she's only dreaming this world) but the place has changed considerably since she last been there.

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Track #8 "Bandersnatched" opens very menacing as the Bandersnatch attacks Alice and her old friends. Through the music I get a sense of the peril and threat of the Bandersnatch wrecking havoc in Wonderland/Underland. At the 0:57 second mark the main theme gives me the feeling Alice discovered something captivating. I can't recall if that's what happen in that moment in the film though. Anyways Alice and her old friends escape the Bandersnatch and the Red Queen's minions. The Red Queen's theme is introduced at the end of the cue as a tree by a large castle reveals a silhouette of her face. Which reveals the Red Queen lair. The chorus and organ performs the Red Queen's theme very wickedly letting the viewer know that this is the antagonist of the story and film.

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Track #11 "The Cheshire Cat" is the cue to the scene that introduces the Cheshire Cat of course. It's very eerie, charismatic, and puzzling. I think it fits the character and it's attitude perfectly. The cue also feels very "catlike" with the strings that almost brings me back to Elfman's instrumentation of Catwoman's theme in BR. The performance of the boys choir captures Alice's purity and naivete as the main theme reappears.

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Track #12 "Alice And Bayard's Journey" opens very solemn, but the main theme makes a "mighty" and "gallant" appearance as Alice and Bayard escape and head toward Red Queen's castle I believe for some reason I cannot recall why. As Alice and Bayard's journey ends the music turns "gloomy" like danger is near. The main theme concludes the track very enthusiastically. Hinting that Alice will be fine and has nothing to worry about yet.

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Track #14 "Alice Escapes" opens a little "chaotic" as Mad Hatter helps Alice escape the Red Queen's clutches. The main theme plays victoriously as Alice escapes. Alice's theme becomes urgent as Alice must hurry and get to the White Queen's castle. The main theme plays very confident, peaceful, and pleasant as she arrives to the White Queen's home. Which makes sense b/c the White Queen is a very "friendly", "delighted", and very"polite" character anyway. Though it's a short track Elfman is able to do different things with Alice's theme.

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Track #16 "Only A Dream" opens with her childhood/little Alice theme that was used in track #2 ("Little Alice"). I can't recall where it plays probably during the scene where Alice is talking to the White Queen about her lost memories of Wonderland above WQ's castle during the night. It's very sentimental and tender. The theme could be looked at as Alice's emotional theme as well. It plays well to what her feelings and frustration of why she can't remember her adventures in Wonderland as a little girl.

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Track #18 "Alice Decides" opens very mysteriously as Alice's childhood memories are unlocked by the Blue Caterpillar. Alice then believes she's no longer dreaming. The Red Queen's theme plays maliciously as her army prepares for battle against Mad Hatter, White Queen and her army. Waiting for Alice to show up to fight. Alice's theme makes many appearnces throughout as the White Queen's army prepares for battle. It's at moments very heroic, celebratory and festive. I really like the use of the boys choir at the 2:09 mark. It's very majestic and honorable to Alice and the White Queen's army. It gives me a sense that win or lose Alice and her army are going to put up a fight no matter the cost.

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Track #23 "Alice Returns" opens with her emotional/little Alice theme as she returns to the ceremony. It plays more satisfying and pleasing as Alice speaks for herself and tells everyone the truth about themselves. The music plays well to Alice's confidence and courage of sticking up for herself and following her dreams. Alice's theme closes the cue very peacefully and gratifying as Alice is at peace with herself. As she takes on her next journey/adventure.

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As a whole I think this score is a masterpiece that does a much better job of capturing the spirit of Carroll's book than Burton did. I also feel it's one of the best scores of 2010. "Alice's Theme" is one of the most memorable themes to come from the last decade, imo. That track alone is why I think the score should've been nominated for an oscar. The film did win an oscar for art direction and costume design, but was nominated for visual effects. So why couldn't the score get a nomination? I didn't think the visual effects deserved even a nomination. No offense to Ken Ralston.

Some have also claimed AIW was typical of Elfman. True the score is in his comfort zone but at the same it felt fresh and inspired. As most of his scores do, imo. Plus I find fantasy to be one of his best genre's. AIW is proof of that.


Last edited by Elevator Man; 09-09-2012 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:05 PM   #198
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Default Re: The Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread

I love "Alice's Theme," but I wasn't thrilled with the AiW score. It sounded a little too generic to me, but I guess Danny Elfman did the best he could with this boring movie.

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Old 09-10-2012, 10:34 PM   #199
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Default Re: The Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread

His AIW score carried that film for me. I didn't really get anything much out of the film besides Elfman's great score. Hopefully Oz:The Great and Powerful will be great. I wasn't to impressed by the trailer. I hope Elfman will write something opposite AIW b/c the film looks like a sequel to Burton's AIW instead of a prequel to Wizard Of Oz, which worries me. I also hope Raimi lets Elfman be original and do his thing this time as well. We don't want another Spider-man 2 fiasco.

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Old 09-12-2012, 11:06 AM   #200
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Default Re: The Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread

Elfman has three new projects added on his plate. First David O' Russell's "Silver Lining's Playbook" which is coming out this November. I think the score's already been completed. Second is his 6th collaboration with Gus Van Sant called "Promised Land" which is coming out in select cities Dec. 28th and everywhere January 2013. And third is for the biopic "Hitchcock", which stars Anthony Hopkins as the legendary director, and coming out next year in February I believe. Hitchcock is perfect casting for Elfman since Bernard Herrmann's his idol. So Elfman has six projects in total coming out including "Frankenweenie" in Oct., "Oz:The Great and Powerful" March 2013, "Epic" May 2013. I like that all these projects are different from eachother and get to show Elfman's range as a composer.

http://filmmusicreporter.com/2012/09/11/danny-elfman-to-score-hitchcock-biopic-and-gus-van-sants-promised-land/#more-12605

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