The score of a movie is an incredibly important aspect of a film that goes unnoticed by many people, but is subconsciously vital to their appreciation of the movie. As far as composers go, Hans Zimmer is by far my favorite. His scores brilliantly accent aspects of the film that always make me appreciate a great movie even more. If you aren’t familiar with any of these scores mentioned, I would recommend giving them all a listen.
Note: This list is based off of how much I enjoy listening to the score by itself. The score of Inception worked very well with the movie, but it is too subtle for me enjoy without the movie for the most part. Any scores that I regard in this way are all listed with the honorable mentions at the end.
5. Sherlock Holmes
This would’ve been a good movie even without Zimmer’s touch, but his score really pushed it over the edge into fantastic in my eyes. I loved the use of the quirky instruments to give it a “period” feel such as the cimbalom, the one and only Experibass, and broken pianos. As great as Zimmer’s music may be, the musical high point of the film may actually be the use of The Dubliners’ song The Rocky Road to Dublin in the bar fight scene.
Once again, this would’ve been a phenomenal movie even with a lesser composer working on the score. In fact, I consider this to be one of my favorite movies ever. That being said, the score that Zimmer created for this movie does a excellent job of drawing you into the movie. In the same fashion that the Holmes score sets a “underbelly of late 19th century London” mood, Gladiator’s score makes you feel like a warrior with its epic sounding themes. Listen to The Battle and Barbarian Horde and tell me that you don’t want to go grow a beard and strangle a lion with your bare hands. Zimmer closes this score beautifully with my favorite song from the album – Now We Are Free – which has an uncannily heroic and inspiring tone to it.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The aspect which I find most impressive about this album is the way that he brought over the themes that make Pirates of the Caribbean so recognizable, while changing things enough that you don’t feel like you’ve heard it before. Listen to Palm Tree Escape and tell me that it isn’t Pirates, yet totally different. Rodrigo y Gabriela make this score what it is with their urgent flamenco guitar giving the score an unmistakably Spanish feel. If you only listen to one track from this album, listen to Angry and Dead Again (note: if you listen to this song you will change your mind and listen to the entire album at least once).