The Dark Knight

Musical Score By: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In Batman Begins, we learned the origins of the crime fighting caped crusader of Gotham.  In the new movie, The Dark Knight, Batman (Christian Bale) has continued his crusade, battling the forces of evil in Gotham.  With the help of Gotham P.D. Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhardt), Batman manages to destroy organized crime in Gotham, until a new criminal mastermind emerges.  They call him the Joker (Heath Ledger) and his arrival in Gotham is heralded with anarchy and disaster forcing Batman to teeter between the lines of hero and villain.

            Having worked together to create the Batman Begins Soundtrack, it seemed inevitable that the team of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard would return to create the soundtrack for the movie’s sequel, The Dark Knight.  German composer Hans Zimmer has been creating award winning soundtracks for many years.  Some of his works include the musical score for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Da Vinci Code, Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda and more.  American composer James Newton Howard also has a great deal of experience creating award winning musical scores for film.  His vast resume of works includes the soundtracks of the movies King Kong, The Village, The Sixth Sense, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Primal Fear, The Fugitive and more.  Together, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard represent an incredibly talented team with an award winning soundtrack for Batman Begins already under their belt.

            In keeping with the movie, the soundtrack of The Dark Knight is rather dark itself.  There is a predominant theme for Batman in this soundtrack and one will take note of it in tracks such as I Am the Batman and A Dark Knight.  I do not own the soundtrack of Batman Begins, but having seen the movie, I remember this theme and was happy to see it carried into the next film.  The opening track of The Dark Knight’s musical score, Why So Serious?, introduces us to the insane criminal mind that is the Joker.  The track begins simple enough, but escalates until the violins begin to sound squeaky and we imagine ourselves being submersed in the Joker’s demented mind.  We can say the same for Harvey Dent’s theme, Harvey Two-Face.  It begins as a heroic anthem until Harvey slides into the dimension of insanity that necessitates the creation of Two-Face

            The music composed for The Dark Knight Soundtrack tells the story of the film quite nicely.  The music is incredibly expressive and very dark using brass, woodwind and string instruments to set the mood of the film.  There are only fourteen tracks on The Dark Knight Soundtrack, but don’t be fooled – two of the tracks are very long.  Why So Serious? is actually over nine minutes long and A Dark Knight is a masterful creation over sixteen minutes in length.  My sources tell me that Warner Bros. Records will be releasing four incarnations of The Dark Knight Soundtrack – a standard jewel case CD version, a two LP heavy-weight vinyl version, a special edition digipack, and a collector’s edition with special artwork to come after The Dark Knight’s release.  But whatever version suits your preference, I definitely recommend you check out The Dark Knight Soundtrack.  There is no doubt in my mind  that the team of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard have created yet another award winning musical score.


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