Batman Begins (soundtrack)

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Batman Begins: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Released June 14, 2005
Recorded December 26, 2004 - March 1, 2005
Length 60:26
Label Warner Bros. Records
Batman soundtrack chronology
Batman & Robin
(1997)
Batman Begins
(2005)
The Dark Knight
(2008)

Batman Begins: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album to Christopher Nolan's 2005 film Batman Begins. It was released on June 15, 2005. The soundtrack drew from the film score, composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, as well as contributions by Ramin Djawadi and Mel Wesson.

Composition[edit]

Director Christopher Nolan originally invited Zimmer to compose the film score, and Zimmer asked the director if he could invite Howard to compose as well, as they had always planned a composers collaboration.[1] The two composers collaborated on separate themes for the "split personality" of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman. Zimmer and Howard began composing in Los Angeles and moved to London where they stayed for 12 weeks to complete most of their writing.[2] Zimmer and Howard sought inspiration for shaping the score by making set visits to Batman Begins.[3]

Zimmer wanted to avoid composing a film score that had been done before, so the score became an amalgamation of orchestra and electronic music. The film's ninety-piece orchestra[1] was developed from members of various London orchestras, and Zimmer chose to use more than the normal number of cellos. Zimmer enlisted a choir boy to help reflect the music in the film's scene where Bruce Wayne's parents are killed. "He's singing a fairly pretty tune and then he gets stuck, it's like froze, arrested development", Zimmer said. Zimmer also attempted to add human dimension to Batman, whose behavior would typically be seen as "psychotic", through the music. Both composers collaborated to create 2 hours and 20 minutes worth of music for the film.[3] Zimmer composed the action sequences, while Howard focused on the film's drama.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[4]
Filmtracks 2/5 stars
Movie Music UK 4/5 stars
SoundtrackNet 4/5 stars

Reviews of the score were positive. Soundtrack.net, for example, in a review by Matt Scheller, said that "the music complements the visuals flawlessly." He called the main action track, Molossus, the best of the soundtrack: "Once this track starts, it never quits." He does admit that the album is heavy on Hans Zimmer's style rather than James Newton Howard's ("I would say 70% Zimmer, 30% Howard"), and that "Hans Zimmer/Media Ventures haters should probably skip this album. His score in the end is four stars out of five."[5]

Movie Music UK was equally positive - Jonathan Broxton claimed that "I personally found that there was a great deal of music in "Batman Begins" that is hugely enjoyable", specifically complimenting "Howard's exceptionally beautiful string elegy [...] during the opening moments of Eptesicus", a motif that recurs in "the achingly emotional Macrotus and Coryhorinus". He did admit that a lack of strong superhero themes and a complete lack of similarities to Danny Elfman's Batman scores, now considered classics, did make the score "unremittingly downbeat". He also rates the album four out of five.[6]

Christian Clemmensen, sole reviewer of Filmtracks.com, was less ready to praise the score, saying that Zimmer and Howard's decision not to use Elfman's material was an attitude that "stinks of laziness". He also considers the theme used to represent Batman, a rising, two-note minor third, inadequate to represent the complex character of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego. Most of these complaints he lays on the shoulders of Zimmer, saying that "you could argue that Zimmer traded in his hoard of lesser-known ghostwriters for one top-notch ghostwriter [Howard]." His final rating is two stars out of five.[7]

Easter eggs[edit]

  • The titles of each of the tracks are taken from the Latin names for different species of bats.[8]
  • The titles of tracks 4 through 9 form an acrostic: Barbastella, Artibeus, Tadarida, Macrotus, Antrozous, and Nycterus all come together to spell "Batman".
  • The final track Lasiurus is a play on the Lazarus pits used by the film's main villain Ra's al Ghul in the comics.

Use in other works[edit]

The soundtrack is also often sampled for other superhero related productions. "Vespertilio" and "Eptesicus" were used in the screener pilot for Heroes. "Myotis" has been featured in trailers for King Kong, Fantastic Four and Far Cry. "Molossus" was sampled for the Aquaman pilot, and was also used in the trailer for V for Vendetta and The Dark Knight. The beginning of "Vespertilio" and part of "Myotis" was also used for the previously mentioned V for Vendetta trailer.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length Key Scenes/Notes
1 "Vespertilio" 2:52 The opening, the flashback of the bats, the main theme and the journey to Ra's al Ghul's monastery.[9]
2 "Eptesicus" 4:20 The flashback of Bruce remembering his parents and the training sequence.[9]
3 "Myotis" 5:46 Plays during the destruction of the monastery and when Bruce knows what he must do when he returns to Gotham.[9]
4 "Barbastella" 4:45 The death of the Waynes, and when Bruce sees the Bat and enters the cave as an adult, knowing his path.[9]
5 "Artibeus" 4:20 Played during Batman's first appearance and when "Ducard" meets Bruce in the prison.[9]
6 "Tadarida" 5:06 When Batman has Rachel in the Batcave, when Scarecrow attacks Batman, and when the man at Wayne Enterprises tells Earle about the damaged ship and missing microwave emitter.[9]
7 "Macrotus" 7:36 The Wayne theme, flashback of Bruce going to the opera. Bruce in the Ninja test. Also plays during the flashback of Bruce meeting Rachel again and the courtroom with Joe Chill.[9]
8 "Antrozous" 3:59 Batman reveals himself to Dawes and flies to Ra's al Ghul. Fights League of Shadows ninjas.[9]
9 "Nycteris" 4:26 Played when Bruce meets Lucius Fox, sets his gadgets and when he has a moment with Rachel before she goes to Arkham.[9]
10 "Molossus" 4:49 The main action theme. Played during the Tumbler escape chase to the Batcave. Parts of it are also used when Batman goes after the train in the climax.[9]
11 "Corynorhinus" 5:04 The film's resolution; Bruce and Rachel meeting in the ruins of Wayne Manor and Gordon unveiling the Bat Signal to Batman. A modified version of the end also appears when Batman attacks Falcone and says "I'm Batman."[9]
12 "Lasiurus" 7:27 Includes Ra's al Ghul teaching Bruce about criminals, Batman watching over Gotham after defeating Falcone.[9]

Tracks not included within the release of the soundtrack:[10]

Written by Arrigo Boito. Performed by Norman Treigle. Ambrosian Opera Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Julius Rudel. EMI Classics. EMI Film & Television Music

Written by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill. Performed by Cavendish String Quartet

  • "Divertimento In D"

Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Performed by Cavendish String Quartet

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200[11] 155
Top Soundtracks[11] 8

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Danny Graydon (July 2005). "A Little Knight Music". Empire. p. 87. 
  2. ^ Spence D (2005-06-10). "Batman Vs. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard Part 1". IGN. Archived from the original on 4 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  3. ^ a b Spence D (2005-06-13). "Batman Vs. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard Part 2". IGN. Archived from the original on 4 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  4. ^ AllMusic review
  5. ^ Matt Scheller (2005-06-27). "SoundtrackNet review". Soundtrack.net. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  6. ^ Jonathan Broxton – "Movie Music UK - Batman Begins - Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard"
  7. ^ "Christian Clemmensen – "Filmtracks: Batman Begins (Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard"". Filmtracks.com. 2005-06-14. Archived from the original on 22 November 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Batman Begins Soundtrack". SoundtrackNet. Archived from the original on 23 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-06. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Matt Scheller (2005-06-06). "Batman Begins: First Listen". SoundtrackNet. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  10. ^ Batman Begins End Credits
  11. ^ a b "Billboard Albums: Batman Begins". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-05-23.