A musical score composer. He did movies like The Lion King, The Rock, Crimson Tide, and Rain Man. Won an Oscar in 1994 for The Lion King.

The man who made the overscoring trend seen in the movies since somewhere around 1996 popular. He started out with such mellow works as the soundtracks to Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy and Thelma and Louise, proving to be a talented composer of many types of music.

He went on to make the music for Crimson Tide, Broken Arrow and two tracks for The Rock, where he had the privilege of composing music for an already edited movie, in his now well-established style. He became so popular that some of his works were reused - music from Broken Arrow was used in Scream 2 as well.

After this he once again diversified, leaving the genre he helped create to others (Trevor Rabin and Nick Glennie-Smith), and went on to score The Thin Red Line in classic, orchestral fashion.

After scoring Gladiator, Zimmer stated that he wouldn't do another action movie for a while. But we all know who composed the music for Mission: Impossible 2, don't we?

Is a fucking hack.

Who doesn't even write the extruded music product he puts his name to. He has a whole load of other composers that he employs as ghost writers and takes the credit for it. He also decided not to be arsed writing anything actually new since about 2006 or so, and just reheats the same things over and over and again and again. Yet Hollywood, that morass of creatively bankrupt sex offenders who make most of the cinematic product for us to consoom, will insist on giving him and his underlings work, and there is now the feedback loop that cinema-goers expect scores in his "style" (yes, those are deliberate quote marks) because everything else has.

How can you tell it's a Hans Zimmer score? Let me count the ways:

  1. Three notes over and over again. He might occasionally push the boat out to five notes if he's feeling generous.
  2. Repeated overdubbing of the same phrases on itself to make it artificially loud.
  3. Drum loops wanking over everything.
  4. A two-note (if you're lucky) theme for a character in a film, which his asspatters laughingly think of as a leitmotif.
  6. No dynamics, other than a few seconds blissfull silence before aforementioned BWWWAAAAAAAAAAAM
  7. Bass turned up to the point of distortion, because treble is for losers or some shit

The result of all this is dull, messy, and drowns out any nuance in the music (assuming Herr Zimmer is capable of this any more) as well as the dialogue (usually aided by the fact that actors nowadays mumble all the fucking time). And because his music is in all the capeshit and other big budget "films" of today, everyone tongues his hideous, haemorrhoidal balloon knot because criticising a product of a Major Hollywood Studio gets your publication sued out of existence or advertising pulled, for the most part, or your reviewers are not invited to advance screenings of the next product. And you thought payola was banned in the 1950s, you poor ninny. No, it's called the access media nowadays.

Even the general public fall for this. "Oh, but Hans Zimmer gets these scores done because only he can sound EPIC!!!!1" they ill-informedly mewl. Slap yourself for even thinking of something so stupid. People only think this is "epic" because they've been Pavlovian-conditioned into thinking that three-note ostinatos, drum wanking, brickwall production, and BWWWAAAAAAAAAAAM is "epic." This is a side effect of there being nothing else on, and the fact that Hollywood is too risk averse to have anything other than formulaic shite any more. So if you have a large budget major motion picture your choices for scores are either Hans Zimmer and his team of ghost composers producing extruded music product, or people who ape him at a lower cost.

The problem is, though, that Hans Zimmer's "music" is so obnoxious and overproduced and loud (and you thought the loudness war was solved by streaming services, didn't you, you sweet summer child) that is all but ruins the rest of the film. I recently saw the 2021 version of Dune. It was a good film but the constant three notes with a dynamic range running from forte to fortisissississississimo in every conceivable moment, drowning out the dialogue (which was annoyingly mumbled a lot of the time) all but wrecked it. Dunkirk had the same thing. A next to real-time on the ground view of one of the most iconic moments in World War II, and we get phoned in three note drones and wanky shit with drums that completely fail to fit other than they are forgettable and generic. Though at least on both cases the BWWWAAAAAAAAAAAM (that's the noise made by an entire brass section, or ersatz brass section in Zimmer's case, because he doesn't use a real orchestra, but layered samples over and over and over, which sounds flat and artificial, made iconic by that pretentious crock Inception) was kept to a minimum. I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies.

But do you know what the worst thing about Hans Zimmer's soundtracks is? Well. That he also did Gladiator and Pirates of the Carribean many years ago. Which were, dare I say it, actually good, and didn't rely on the things that have turned him into a meme. Which makes his current "music" even worse. Because it's not like he can't compose, because clearly he can. It's that he chooses not to. It's that given the choice between putting in effort and just recycling the same things over and over again, he chooses the path of the lazy hack. He considers doing something like what Ennio Morricone or Basil Poledouris or John Williams would do, and scratch-building an entire score that fits the film and includes leitmotifs, something always going on, and a variety of tempos, keys, and movements that fit what is actually happening in the film and the moods of the various scenes, and says, "fuck that noise."

And that is why Hans Zimmer is a hack.

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