If you’re an air batoner like me, you’ve enjoyed conducting some mighty fine movie soundtracks. Classics such as Superman (1978 John Williams, thank you), Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Danny Elfman’s Batman (actually everything Elfman), and my personal favorite, Alan Silvestri’s Back to the Future, have been played loud and often to perfect imaginary baton movements. The 80s and 90s provided some stellar material to blow your arm out on in the privacy of your own bedroom.
I semi-retired the baton for a while until the 2000’s hit and I found Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore. ::Sigh:: These guys are an air batoner’s dream; the gifts that kept on giving. Not only for the quality of their music (you can have a grand old time creating a one wo/man show contorting your way through The Riders of Rohan or A Dark Knight) but by their output. Hans had his hands in nearly 50 titles from 2000-10 alone, assisting Christopher Nolan with the rebooting of Batman (and giving Elfman a run for his money for best theme), as well as giving us the stellar Gladiator soundtrack, The Last Samurai, Da Vinci Code, and Kung Fu Panda among others. Howard Shore could’ve called it a decade and just dropped the mic with his moving, amazing, shoulder tendonitis inducing Lord of the Rings trilogy soundtrack but he too kept on giving by cranking out two dozen titles in the early 2000’s, The Aviator and The Departed standing out among them.
You thought it couldn’t get better after The Dark Knight with Hans, but then he just blew it out of the water with the 2010’s Inception soundtrack; not just for the music itself but the thought put into creating that signature vibrating, wall shaking horn and the story behind it (http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/07/27/inception-music-twist-the-hidden-meaning-of-the-evil-foghorn/). It still stings that he lost that well-deserved Oscar to Trent Reznor’s Social Network score, which, yes, is awesome, but it didn’t move me to play it on a loop on my iPod like the Inception soundtrack or even another Oscar nominee for that year, John Powell and his How to Train Your Dragon score. By the way if you download any music from that soundtrack it should be Test Drive. Such a fun, exhilarating, loud bit of music you’ll have fun accidentally hitting yourself in the face with because you got so caught up in your conducting.
This summer has offered up some goodies to get your groove on: Alan Silvestri of Back to the Future fame gave The Avengers it’s manly, large-and-in-charge theme song. James Horner (Legends of the Fall, Braveheart, Apollo 13) made The Amazing Spider-Man amazing, Hans nailed it once again with The Dark Knight Rises, and James Newton Howard (who worked with Zimmer on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) hit a double with Snow White and the Huntsman and The Bourne Legacy.
In other words I’ve got plenty of tunes to rock out on for the rest of the year. Guess I better stock up on shoulder compresses and Bengay.
The Dark Knight Rises
The Amazing Spider-Man
None. Bring back John Williams!