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June 24, 2005

hitchhiking Batman

Filed under: Film — see @ 4:45 pm

Just seen “Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy”. Brilliant, very british and also or therefor lacking all the boring stereotypes some (not all though) Hollywood films and other massive productions use.

I’ve seen “Batman begins” the week before and altough I liked it and think it is in some respects similar to the IMHO really good “Spiderman I” film it had some annoying aspects. The music was the main drawback of Batman as it is almost the same as the music in “Gladiator” or “King Arthur”. It seems composer Hans Zimmer is only able to compose one type of music and it almost seems he uses a template score to which he applies some slight random changes (at least for a certain kind of movie). The dark horns and the usual strings were getting on my nerves even during the film, especially during fight scenes. The music made them boring and I thought no music at all would have been better for some scenes.

I wonder if movie scores have evolved in the last 30 years at all.
Until the 60s there were big orchestral scores including the great ones by Bernhard Herman for the Hitchcock movies in the 50s and 60s.
In the late 60s these scores almost vanished and I remember (not personally at that time though ;) some really strange scores like the one from “Planet of the Apes”.

During the 70s orchestral movie scores came into fashion again (Taxi Driver again by Bernard Herman and the first Star Wars and other scores by John Williams).
But since then I hardly remember (I have not the best memory though ;) any interesting new kind of movie score. John Williams scores for movies like the Indiana Jones trilogy are great and had brilliant themes but nevertheless are “big-orchestral-movie-scores”.

During the 90s with films like Armageddon and the films mentioned above the stereotype-music came up it seems. I kind of remember Gladiator being a good film and the music I liked too, but copying this type and sometimes almost the same music and recycling it for similar-type movies is a bit to safe. I don’t want to bash on Hans Zimmer alone, Batman was just a striking example and the music was really an annoyance.

But also the fight scenes in Batman were annoying. They used a similar kind of camera work I noticed for example in “Episode II” during the massive Jedi Knight fight scene. The camera and editing in these scenes make it impossible to actually see anything. Strangely enough but the rapid MTV-style cutts and extreme near focus on the people actually hinder seeing more then they help seeing…
I remember older movies like fight scenes in “Goldfinger” or the elevator fight in “Diamonds are Forever” that were cut rough and fast too but actually did enable the viewer to actually follow and comprehend what was going on.

Generally it seems bigger films try to play a safe game which I don’t think is nessesary. Good stories do work and can be successful even with a more experimental or maybe just new ideas for music, camera etc.
But maybe I am too naive and people who watch TV the whole day need boring, repeating films…

Anyway, “Hitchhikers…” was not a template film but was original. Maybe easy for a film based on such a strange book (which I did not read though having played only the text adventure in the 80s, and that not even through). But the ideas how to adapt it with all the graphical interludes worked really well. Of course I am a bit biased as I do like the very english accent a lot but the film was fun and I guess I’ll buy the DVD as soon as its out…

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