Review Summary: Hans Zimmer breaks away from his standard action movie motif and delivers one of the most amazing, ambitious, and imaginative film scores of the decade.
In recent years, film scores have been following a certain trend. Composers seem to have this motif of creating overblown pieces (particularly in action films) with horns blasting out from the blue and background strings creating suspense with their melodies. It was most likely when the Christopher Nolan film Inception
came out in 2010 when that fad started to settle in people’s minds as it quite literally blasted us with its overblown nature with its film score. Sure it was fun for a while, but within that little span of time listeners were just begging for it to stop because composers had this knack for just creating this style just for the hell of it. And Hans Zimmer was pretty much the center of it all, especially considering the fact that he did the score for Inception
So one would think that a Hans Zimmer score would equal a completely overblown barrage of blasting horns and pretentious amounts of string melodies, right? In a surprising manner, the answer is no, or at least in this occasion. For the most part, his material of Interstellar
(another Christopher Nolan film I might add) is actually toned down a lot compared to the other scores he’s produced. Now granted, Interstellar
does take place in space, and so one would expect it to have a more ambient tone. Most likely similar to that of something like Steven Price’s score for Gravity
. That being said, Gravity
was a thriller, so the over-the-top nature that the score had was more or less acceptable. Interstellar
on the other hand is a dramatic film, so a more subtle and subdued mood would be a more obvious choice.
Zimmer would’ve been more or less a last choice for a film such as this, since he’s been recognized from action films. However, not only is this Hans Zimmer’s best film score in years, but it’s quite possibly one of the best musical scores to come out since the beginning of the decade. Sure it does have it that typical over-dramatic feel to it in certain moments. But those are only moments, not entire songs, when that happens. Most of this album is soothing, subtle, relaxing, and sometimes uncomfortable. And when those horns create those typical blasts that most people will recognize, it actually works the way it’s supposed to. Songs like “Mountains” and “Coward” build up suspense ever so perfectly and then when they reach their well-placed church organ filled climax you’re left of the edge of your seat throughout. “Coward” especially manages to succeed in this more than any other song in the record, as the those small little beats sound like a clock, ticking down the time towards the climax while the rest of the instruments build up the suspense more and more and ever so slowly; practically to the point of being rather creepy (most likely helped by the organ). Then you have songs like “Running Out” and “Dust” that are subdued and laid-back yet they have a very sinister feel to them that just leaves you in a rather uncomfortable state.
But the score is at its most beautiful during the melodies. “Stay” and “Where We’re Going” create such a subtle yet powerful tone to the album that it feels almost dreamlike. It feels free, broad, open and spacious, as if you’re actually in space. Even the quiet moments such as in “Message From Home” create this phenomenal aspect of creating an emotional experience that flows freely among itself and it just leaves you in such awestruck wonder. I can’t find any other soundtrack that manages to capture the beauty and magnificent imagination that the film managed to bring as much as this one.
To put it in a precise manner, Interstellar
is one of the most intriguing, ambitious, and incredible film scores in years, and easily one of Hans Zimmer’s best records in years. Using the emotional tone that it sets for itself as well as its climactic moments to its advantage, this record manages to engage the audience in a manner that one wouldn’t expect, and it succeeds in detaching away from the standard film score clichés that one would expect from a film like Interstellar
. What else could I say, it’s just down right amazing.