Home > Movies, Music, Not-A-Reviews > Why Hans Zimmer can blow me.

Why Hans Zimmer can blow me.

I’m serious. I don’t know if I’ve written an article on this before, but I know I’ve spoken enough on this topic to not let it pass any longer. Hans Zimmer is a hack. He is hackery incarnate. Everything he does is so loaded to the brim with failure that my first impulse upon hearing his name is to fly into a wild and unrestrained rage. Hans Zimmer is the antithesis of good music for motion pictures. Hans Zimmer is the exact opposite of the kind of composer who deserves to be recognized by the Academy for achievement in motion picture music. If there were a person I could nominate for “pay enough money to never have to hear their output again”, it would be Hans Zimmer. So why do I hate Hans Zimmer?

I said it already. He sucks at what he does. Isn’t that enough?

Okay, so, how do we explain this in a way that still comes off as epic flame, but also comes off as educated flame? Good question. Let’s go to work.

What Hans Zimmer is hired to do is scoring a motion picture. In theory, this is actually rather simple. What you do, in theory, what the job entails, is walking into a room where the movie is going to be played, sitting through it and coming up with music for the various scenes. A long time ago, some composers got cute with this. While the other guys were busy just writing fast music for fast scenes and slow music for slow scenes, composers would start writing themes for characters. Actually, this has been done for centuries, before film was even invented. Funny, that. Anyway, these obnoxious overachieving dicks would write melodies or harmonies for specific characters and use variations on them throughout the feature to tie your emotions to a certain series of notes. The theme would be varied to reflect the character’s inner thoughts or motivations. It would have fragments of other themes in it to reflect their allegiances. This is what I call writing an original score.

When an original score works, you know it. It’s magical. You walk in to the theater, watch a fantastic movie, and whenever you hear the music out of context, you are reminded of the same emotions you felt in the movie. Specific scenes will form in your mind’s eye, unbidden, reminding you of the emotional power of that film and the score accompanying it. If I were to hum the Adventure theme from Up or Luke’s theme from Star Wars for you, right now, you could hum along with me and would be feeling all of the emotions those themes accompanied onscreen.

A soundtrack, by contrast, is music cut to picture. The music could be written at any time, by any person for any purpose. Any music is good for a soundtrack. Some creative people can make soundtracks as unique and narrative as original scores. For instance, Quentin Tarantino. No, seriously, that’s it. Just, Quentin Tarantino. If you have seen a single one of his movies, I could hum a song from a pivotal scene and you would feel the same complex array of emotions you did at the time it was playing.

Where the line gets hazy is original soundtracks. Original soundtracks are probably not a new phenomenon, but basically, they’re what happens when a composer comes in, writes some music to match a few varied moods, and then the director and producer and editor cut it back to the picture where they think it fits. This is not a score. This is casually called a score among various professionals in the industry. Good original soundtracks? None spring immediately to mind. There are two that I can name that are pretty good. The soundtrack to Kick-Ass, while at times overbearing, also has dedicated character themes and different orchestrations to govern mood. This is a lot more work than goes into any normal soundtrack, and it pays off in the final feature. The soundtrack to The Social Network is also quite good, but that’s mostly because I just love the music. It improves the movie simply by being there as the movie unfolds. It sets the tone brilliantly, and uses texture in a way most composers ignore.

Hans Zimmer has never written a score. The Academy says he has, but just like when they said How Green Was My Valley was better than Citizen Kane, the Academy can sometimes be stone wrong. What Hans Zimmer writes are original soundtracks. When he described his writing process for really-good-movie-I-swear Inception, he said that he and Chris Nolan got together, and he played some fast stuff, some slow stuff and some middling stuff and that Nolan liked all of it. This was in pre-production. Zimmer’s music was then cut to picture throughout production. Loud stuff when it’s important, fast stuff when people are running, quiet stuff that gets loud when stuff gets real. This is not scoring a motion picture, by any means. This is writing a few half-baked ideas for themes and handing them in and letting the director say where they go.

Hans Zimmer doesn’t consider character, motivation, context or even the movie itself when he writes his music. The music he puts in Inception could have been used in The Dark Knight or The Thin Red Line or any of his movies. The only difference between soundtracks for this man is the brand of synthesizer he uses. When I see his name on a poster for a movie, I know that no matter the movie, it will have an awful score that will not serve the characters or themes of the movie at all.

Here’s a test. If I were to hum the Adventure theme from Up–but you already know what I’m talking about, don’t you? If you know what the main theme to Up sounds like, you’re already seeing Carl and Ellie’s life together, Carl’s adventures in South America and friendship with Russel in your mind’s eye. If I hum a few bars of Stuck in the Middle with You, I can tell if you’ve seen Reservoir Dogs.

Hum Dom Cobb’s theme from Inception. Go.

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Categories: Movies, Music, Not-A-Reviews
  1. Anon
    February 17, 2011 at 12:23 am

    There are film critics who don’t know the first thing about making a movie… they are unsuitable critics and couldn’t begin to accurately judge film. Your ‘article’ simply attacks Zimmer’s capabilities as if you hate the man; and you give no real structured argument.

    I am a composer and music in film is about supporting the film, whether it’s character development, mood, anything the director wants (Nolan wanted the music written this way for the film, fyi)… if you want music to be ‘proper’ and following traditional form, you should listen to Bach and no one else… otherwise, grow up to the real world and realize that the most demanded composer in Hollywood is popular for a reason, he explores what directors and audiences want, which is his job title.

    Go back to whatever you were doing before you wrote this trash.

    • February 17, 2011 at 12:56 am

      What I was doing before I wrote this trash was writing more of this trash. Did you take a second to look around the site to see that?

      The article isn’t titled “A structured and reasoned exploration of the deficient capabilities of Hans Zimmer”, it’s called “Why Hans Zimmer can blow me.” If you honestly were looking for a structured argument in an article with that title, I applaud your fine judgment and taste.

      There are commenters who don’t know the first thing about writing an article. They are unsuitable commenters and couldn’t begin to accurately judge writing. The first thing about reading an article is the title. You should have known from it that I wasn’t going to like Hans Zimmer nor that I was going to do it in a polite or reasonable way.

      I find it amusing how you give me all this information about what music in film is supposed to do. I know what music in film is supposed to do. If you’re actually a composer, then so do you. It’s funny that you tell me that “Nolan wanted the music written this way for the film, [for your information]…”. I know that. Anybody knows that. He’s Christopher Nolan, why would he have anything in his movie he didn’t want? He doesn’t answer to anyone, least of all me, but I hope he starts making better creative decisions. I just want his movies to be remembered as gold standard filmmaking instead of “popular”.

      That’s another thing, you do this thing there, near the end of your second (and only) paragraph. You make an appeal to Zimmer’s popularity. Okay, he’s popular, yes. That doesn’t mean he’s good. Also, to go back to an earlier part of your comment, when did I say I wanted music to be traditional or structured? The only appeal I made to tradition was that a score be written to picture in order to be called a score. Whether that’s by using a basso continuo fugue style and layering multi-instrumented melodies, counter-melodies and harmonies on top of each other or by squalling feedback overtop of distorted drum loops with a Bartok sample in the back is up to the composer.

      You tell me to grow up. Part of growing up is accepting responsibility for your words. I use my real name and my real email and my real Twitter feed and my real Facebook account to link to this site. Because of articles I’ve published on this site, friends of mine have received threats from parties that felt slighted or insulted by what I published. I dealt with that situation myself because I accepted that responsibility. You, however, posted as “Anon” and left your email as “ibeacomposer@gmail.com”. Sorry if I don’t believe that, Anon, as your email reeks fake. By supplying a fake email and not even using your first name or last name or some token to actually identify you by, you’ve refused to take responsibility for your words here. That shows an immaturity far greater than mine–which is rather substantial, I assure you.

      Lastly, I’d like to leave you with this: I know you’re never going to read this. I know that you can’t see what I’ve written here because that’s a fake email address. You likely aren’t really a composer and even if you are, I’d bet my bottom dollar that the work you put out is of such a middling caliber to leave no impression at all. “The most demanded composer in Hollywood is popular for a reason” and that reason is that he can rewrite your film’s entire soundtrack in a week and a half. And you know how he does this? Entirely by ignoring the film.

      You’ve displayed a shocking immaturity here, Anon. You’ve taken great umbrage over what a nobody shut-in from Canada said about a rich white guy. Hans Zimmer’s life won’t be affected by my article here. He’ll never read it, and he’ll never care even if he does. So why do you care so much that somebody insulted a person whose work you admire? When people tell me they don’t like a favourite artist of mine, I don’t get angry with them. I recognize that music, film and all of the arts are so very subject to the eye and ear of the beholder. And I ask them to tell me frankly what it is they don’t find appealing about stuff that I really love. That way, I can see from other points of view, later on in my life. I can see how someone else would value and treasure something I find worthless, and that informs my ability to review movies. I can also see why someone else might dislike something I find precious. That too informs my worldview.

      “Whatever I was doing before I wrote this trash”, incidentally, was writing a a review of The Wicker Man starring Nicolas Cage. After this trash, I wrote a love letter to my cell phone. And you take me seriously? Why, I guess I’m flattered! 😀

      • Ben McCormack
        August 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm

        As someone who values the worth of his writing so little that he didn’t even pay the five or so bucks a month it would take to host your own WordPress page, I doubt you should be talking about the nuances of writing as though you’re coming to this blog with a master’s degree in journalism.

        As someone who insists your own writing is trivial and then proceeds to attempt to justify his opinion by talking more about Hans Zimmer’s shortcomings, I doubt you’re really that self-aware, unless there’s some sort of three-layer-deep irony to your entire stance.

        You say that his work is a load of synthesized rubbish, in so many words. Why? Well, you say there are no themes and there is no personality, and you say the only difference between Inception and Dark Knight is the brand of synth he’s using.

        First of all, you’re falling prey to the old-people-thinking-synthesizers-can’t-be-musical-instruments routine, so let’s cover that:

        At some point, advancements in technology and acoustics turned the harpsichord into the fortepiano into the piano as we know it today. At some point, advancements in technology resulted in the violin, and eventually further advancements turned the violin’s strings from a soft cat gut into metal wire that could create a larger, fuller sound.

        To say that synthesizers are the line between worthwhile advancements and useless bull is the same as saying that all movie soundtracks are worthless because they mic each instrument section separately for further mixing instead of just miking the room with a single XY pair.

        Get off your high horse. Zimmer’s theme for the Joker was carefully-calculated. He used metal to bow violins, as I recall, and mixed it very close to create a claustrophobic sensation. You can pretend it’s all just stupid technology stuff, but it works, and it’s just as memorable to someone with a decent ear for it as John Williams’ Star Wars soundtrack is to those who are familiar with Stravinsky and Wagner.

        If you’re only familiar with classical styles of composition, then just bloody say so. I’m familiar with Wagner and Mahler as well, and my composition style is usually closer to that. But I’ve learned the synth and sampler tricks, and yes, they come in handy, and for certain types of film, the John Williams sound makes no sense. This is why he’s not tapped for every film that can afford him.

        Not every film score needs to be Die Walkure. There’s plenty on the menu. If you don’t like it, you don’t necessarily need to blame the restaurant, especially if you don’t understand the meaning of the sounds you’re hearing.

    • April 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Hans is that you defending your generic unimaginative music *kidding*?))) Learn about Jerry Goldstein or Marty Simon – their score is so awesome so u cant even imagine)

    • Danyon Pitt
      May 7, 2013 at 3:13 am

      I totally agree with you. This is an argument based solely on the melodic material and aesthetics of music itself, not the underpinning ”sonic landscape” (quote, Zimmer himself) of the music that contributes to the film’s persona that people inherently react to. Totally totally agree with you!

  2. Anon2
    March 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I may be a month late? I’m not the same Anon. No worries. I also don’t compose music. I just attempt to hit things with mallets and have it sound decent. So I have a firm grasp on music, though it is by no means to a high level.

    I agree with the facts of what you’ve written. Though I can’t say that when I hear music from film, I generally identify it with character, even if it is a character theme. Personally, I identify it with a moment and picture. In this sense, Zimmer is very strong. When I hear, for example, “I’ve Never Woken Up In Handcuffs Before,” I immediately can picture Holmes sitting on that four corner bed with a pillow covering him, asking the Nanny if she could get the key. It’s vivid and the song sits alongside it. It’s a witty song that matches for me with a witty part of the film. Now maybe he made that before ever seeing the scene, but I’m not a composer, and so I could never make something fit that well. (Of course, the Holmes tracks are not exactly electric and synthesizer full, so maybe these fall in a different label of your Zimmer distastes.) Though I can’t say that most of the pieces I can think of by Zimmer have the same timbre as Inception which seems to be your most hated of his work…I first think of Gladiator, Holmes, and Angels and Demons. I’m a Nolan fan though, so I may be biased when it comes to Zimmer. I’m sure you’ll enlighten me to my ignorance.

    I also don’t associate the Spirit of Adventure (I’m assuming this is what you’re alluding to?) to any characters necessarily, but to the scene in which Carl is running with the balloon and jumps over a crack. They both make me smile. That may not even be where the song is placed, but this is where I mentally see it.

    Music, as art in general, is about aligning to create emotion. So though I can’t, as per my uneducated being in this subject, say that Zimmer is a great film composer, I can say that I personally find his work to be enjoyable because I have the ability to align it with the movie and perceive, without hearing or seeing either at a moment in time, the emotions which I once felt upon hearing and seeing the scene simultaneously.

    I have no idea what website it is that I’m currently on. I’m too lazy to read my top bar at the current. And that’s why I’ve remained anonymous. Not because I’m afraid of what you may say to me. In fact, I’d think it to be civil as I haven’t attacked you in any way, shape, or form. But you seem to enjoy attack mode, as you haven’t yet left it in this post, so it may be. In which case I’ll probably imagine you yelling at me irrationally as I imagine all heated people to do. But I’ll probably come back and look if you respond.

    • March 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      You make a strong argument here. Don’t assume that all I do is berate everyone who crosses me–I’d hate to be an asshole on the internet. Sadly, even the limited amount of anonymity I have on this website brings out the worst in me. It’s something I should really seek to moderate. Overall, I guess it’s just more fun to be a prick when you have no responsibilities, and I thank you for pointing out that I’ve been a twat. I have been, and that’s something I should own up to.

      And that is the perfect association to have with the Spirit of Adventure, assuming we both mean the Ellie theme from that movie that comes back as the main action theme. The innocent joy of discovery and adventure that plays throughout the “married life” sequence.

      You make another very good point that I suppose I should address: I know Zimmer is talented. He has to be, in order to be as popular as he is. Something in his music must be resonating with people, like you or others I know. The only part of Zimmer’s work I don’t like is how lazy it all feels. I know he’s a talented man, but if there’s one thing I hate most in creative efforts, it’s talented people who don’t take full advantage of their gifts. Zimmer has gone on record saying he writes his music with a team of about four people, each of whom are credited under various titles like “orchestral arranger” on individual projects. And I think about his early stuff, the stunningly original and experimental stuff, and it makes me sad to see that over a decade later, he’s shown no significant growth. A bad composer is a bad composer and will live accordingly. It’s the talented but lazy that Hollywood tends to reward. See Tim Burton in recent years.

      I’d also be an utter curmudgeon not to say that if you enjoyed his music, you’re an asshole. I don’t know you, you may be a twat or a good guy, but if you get that same excitement from his work that I get from Michael Giacchino’s or John Williams’ or Howard Shore’s, I’m happy for you. If you like it, you should like it and be proud of it. Just like the vocal crowd of young men who violently disagreed with Roger Ebert about the quality of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I’m not commenting on the quality of Michael Bay or Hans Zimmer, I’m saying that there should be no such thing as something you enjoy that you have to apologize for. If you like it, like it, like you’ve done.

      Don’t immediately assume that the person who dislikes it has no taste or is stupid or is otherwise deficient. Try to understand their point of view and why they feel like they do. And in that measure, I want to thank you. You’ve helped me understand Zimmer’s appeal. Also, helped me understand that I can be a gigantic dick too.

      • Phillip Joseph
        August 6, 2013 at 10:38 am

        Even though it’s two years late, I was still going to write a heated response to your reply to Anon (the first one). But, seeing this post sorta makes up for all the stuff I saw in the other one. It’s cool, man. (even though it probably doesn’t matter that you’re cool with a complete stranger.)

  3. Anon2
    April 5, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I’d agree fully with that set of sentiments.

  4. Lee Allen
    May 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    You said it! He really isn’t a Score Composer. I really hate the fact that he overshadows by just name alone, a better composer and one of the most versatile and original composers of our time; James Newton Howard.

  5. June 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I know I’m late on this, but I just wanted to say I entirely agree with everything you said, and it’s a well thought analysis. It pains me how much praise a lot of hipsters give Hans Zimmer, when his scores are always so half-assed and vague. I’d also like to posit that the man never adds harmony to his music, and that each major song he does, whether it be the theme for Gladiator or for Pirates, have very identical bases. The man has no structure. I like a few tracks he does, but mainly for the emotion they evoke than for any specific connection to a movie, nevermind their quality.

    The man also seems to be a bit of a dick. He referred to his leitmotif for Batman as “the iconic two-note sccore” (you know, that part that goes DUNN-DUNNNNN), and once said he doesn’t need to try hard to do his job. Tell that to James Newton Howard, or Howard Shore, or John Williams, or anyone else who has produces amazing original scores.

    Or, compare him to Ennio Morricone. Think of The Good The Bad and The Ugly. The songs Ecstasy of Gold or The Trio are matched perfectly with the action on screen, making them some of the most powerful scenes in cinema history. Same can’t be said with On Stranger Tides.

  6. And Anon and Anon
    July 26, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Well, actually, he doesn’t write his music at all, in the sense that John Williams or Stephen Sondheim write music. They actually write out the music and harmonies and orchestration concepts. Zimmer, as I understand it, hums some ideas and other people do it for him. So his name should be Hans Hummer.

  7. JEG
    July 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I don’t know much about composing, all I know is when ever I watch a movie with Hans Zimmer in the credits as composer I can’t remember the theme or if I do it’s usually something asinine, like the dark knight’s slow violin scraping or that loud note that kept playing in Inception. The best POTC was the one that Klaus Badeldt did, Zimmer just rehashed his work, badly I might add. Fine he did the Lion King, that was good.
    Here’s a few names that makes it obvious he’s a hack: John Williams, Ennio Morricone, James Newton Howard, Alan Menken… so on

    • July 27, 2012 at 1:51 am

      Hans Zimmer wrote most of the themes for the first Pirates movie, look it up. Klaus Badeldt works with him.

  8. Inception
    August 9, 2011 at 12:20 am

    You suck.

    Also, you’re pathetic, and you clearly know nothing about (good) music. Hans Zimmer’s great and you’re just an angry slob who thinks their opinion matters. Luckily, the state of music in film isn’t up to you, it’s up to people like Zimmer and the many students he’s trained. By the way, 15 million copies of the soundtrack for the Lion King has been sold.. Because people aren’t spoiled fat idiots like yourself, and actually praise something praise-worthy.

    I expect I’ll be enjoying The Dark Knight Rises, and your pointless anger will keep you from doing just that.

    • August 9, 2011 at 5:52 am

      “I know Zimmer is talented. He has to be, in order to be as popular as he is. Something in his music must be resonating with people, like you or others I know. The only part of Zimmer’s work I don’t like is how lazy it all feels. I know he’s a talented man, but if there’s one thing I hate most in creative efforts, it’s talented people who don’t take full advantage of their gifts. Zimmer has gone on record saying he writes his music with a team of about four people, each of whom are credited under various titles like “orchestral arranger” on individual projects. And I think about his early stuff, the stunningly original and experimental stuff, and it makes me sad to see that over a decade later, he’s shown no significant growth. A bad composer is a bad composer and will live accordingly. It’s the talented but lazy that Hollywood tends to reward. See Tim Burton in recent years.

      I’d also be an utter curmudgeon not to say that if you enjoyed his music, you’re an asshole. I don’t know you, you may be a twat or a good guy, but if you get that same excitement from his work that I get from Michael Giacchino’s or John Williams’ or Howard Shore’s, I’m happy for you. If you like it, you should like it and be proud of it. Just like the vocal crowd of young men who violently disagreed with Roger Ebert about the quality of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I’m not commenting on the quality of Michael Bay or Hans Zimmer, I’m saying that there should be no such thing as something you enjoy that you have to apologize for. If you like it, like it, like you’ve done.

      Don’t immediately assume that the person who dislikes it has no taste or is stupid or is otherwise deficient. Try to understand their point of view and why they feel like they do.”

      From, like, two comments up, guy. 😛

    • Rob
      January 25, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      The Lion King is an incredibly popular film. Hans Zimmer had nothing to do with the soundtrack selling 15 million copies. It would have sold the same if it were composed by Big Bird. Your first & last sentences say it all. You’re a butt hurt Nolan fanboy. You’ll like anything associated with his films, even if they’re crap & get upset & angry with anyone who doesn’t think like you. I’ll bet you had no idea who Hans Zimmer even was until you saw Batman Begins, and then, because you thought the film was so awesome, you automatically became obsessed with the man who wrote the music in the movie. As someone who’s been listening to & collecting film scores for 30 years, I can honestly say that Zimmer is a self plagiarist who hasn’t written an original piece of “music” in 20 years.

    • Chris
      May 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      I’ve been listening to movie scores and collecting them for over 30 years. I’ve studied music theory myself and actually arranged some for orchestra. Hans Zimmer is a needle drop hack who only thrives because this current generation has been raised to believe that any sound with a beat is music. If 15 Million people are wrong it doesn’t make the music right, just marketable.

      • Jim
        November 17, 2013 at 2:15 am

        Absolutely right. Zimmer delivers pop to the suits and the teens. That’s about it. He doesn’t elevate films to art, he drags them down into pop culture.

  9. Kemal
    August 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Way to go Joe! Exactly right on spot. I was having an argument with my son who made me listen to a “nice” cue from Zimmer’s “the Holiday” and although it is cute, it’s not a score. I was getting frustrated at comparing the good new guys such as Michael Giacchino, Alexandre Desplat (whose Benjamin Button score is the best thing I’ve heard since Williams) and had reached a point where my only argument was that “He’s German for God sakes! He uses synthesizers ! He doesn’t know the grammar for scoring a movie. He doesn’t write themes! Then I told my 19 years old son: I’m sure that there’s someone on the net who already addressed this issue eloquently. So thanks Joe for proving me right.
    Kemal (a Willams / Herrmann fan).

    • August 31, 2011 at 11:14 am

      For the record (and for the haters): I didn’t prove this man right–I proved him not alone.

      An update on my experiences with Hans: I saw The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick over the summer. It is without a doubt one of the finest films I’ve ever seen. And it made me want to check out the rest of Malick’s output. So I thought “Hey, I’ll start with The Thin Red Line!” Then I saw that its score was by one Hans Zimmer.

      Challenge accepted. If anybody else comments, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  10. Sam
    September 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I agree with you on everything you wrote, including your rebuttles. I’ve seen all of Malick’s films, the man has such virtuosity it needs to have someone of equivilent caliber to work alongside him. Nothing proves this more when Malick threw out James Horner’s score for “The New World” and replaced it with classical music. Horner aparently wanted to go all Titanic and write a linking pop song, Malick was obviously repulsed by this hack-like, lame and douchey thing.

    It’s weird, I was watching a tv show over here in the UK about Zimmer and it suddenly hit me how much of his output stinks. I write scripts and music for film/tv/radio, etc. So I know from both ends how important the marriage must be. I saw him proudly announcing his thought process of the simpsons score, but that score just sounds like a German trying to sound like Elfman.

    Not untalented, just not a genius by ANY means. What’s all this nonsense about him breaking barriers and being innovative? Someone like Thomas Newman is way more interesting – pure innovation, using gamelan and indian instruments for a suburban drama, and Shawshank…Man, that’s good. Zimmer’s a good programmer and is most probably in demand because of his household name and speed that he works at.

    Nothing personal, but I agree. His work does nothing for my being, like white noise.

    Kudos on the funny and dead on article, buddy. Enjoy Malick.

    Sam.

  11. December 14, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Dear Joe Criger,
    you made my day!! I personaly like Hans Zimmer – though he’s overrated – but you have explained your reasons for disliking him so well that I can’t express anything else but respect for you.

    I laugh at people like the “inception” dude above, who just came in here to teach us some bad language. I guess calling you names enforces his point of you (actually point-less of view). People just don’t get (still in 2012) that we don’t have to agree on everything and we shouldn’t be offended by someone’s different opinion. A negative opinion about something we like, is not a personal attack against us. It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with you. It’s about understanding what you say and why you say it. Sometimes stating the obvious is neccessary.

    I enjoyed your reply to anon even more than the original article! Man you can write! And congratulations for using your real ID and not hiding behind anonymity.

  12. December 14, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I just realized that I wrote “point of you” instead of “point of view” haha

  13. Andrew Aker
    December 23, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I’m a composer. I fully disagree for these reasons: Not every films aesthetic, story and nature lends itself to theme driven OST’s. You cannot, and I urge you to really think about what I am going to say next, restrict creation of art in any form to your specific personal bias.

    That, my friend, is the antithesis to motion picture music and dare I say art and all it’s mediums in general.

    • December 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

      I–I’m aware? You realize I’m a gigantic Tarantino fan and that only one of his movies has ever had original music composed for it, yet the soundtracks to those movies are what make them unique in the best possible way when it comes to music.

      The issue I have with Zimmer is that he can’t possibly be working toward the final film’s aesthetic, simply because he writes all of the music in pre-production. We both know a lot happens between pre-production and post, sometimes making the film almost entirely different.

      And I’m really not restricting Hans Zimmer in the creation of his art to suit my personal bias. Has he written a score to picture yet? Has he credited me for doing so?

      Also, the soundtrack to The Social Network was written the same way, entirely outside the final film, but I love that soundtrack dearly for the other worldly quality it lends that movie. Which has continued on into Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

      What I’m really saying is Hans Zimmer is limiting himself to doing the things he knows how to do over and over again. Hasn’t some of the best art been created by people who didn’t know if they could succeed? By people who were unsure of what they were doing? As I’ve said earlier in this comments section, Zimmer’s music clearly resonates with people–and if he could make it resonate with the picture at the same time, I’d be delighted.

      • Billy Putt
        February 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

        One great soundtrack for a Tarantino film is on True Romance if you’ve heard it. That by the way was written by Hans Zimmer.

  14. Andrew Aker
    December 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

    In addition to my last post:

    It’s easy to get lost in the method of something, the technical features and values that make up the parameters of it’s existence. How it should be done, how it’s been done before and most importantly how it’s “expected” to be done.

    It’s because over time the same thing gets done so many times that people mistake it as the right way, often, the only way. A new method is born, a new definition or right of passage for this specific act, genre or whatever else.

    But we should always remember that any method ultimately exists at the consequence of someones genius that came before it, and, in general methods are usually presented as a catalyst between some type of skill and a lesser intellectual who neither had the time nor will power to sort it on their own. All this really means is that you have two choices in every life situation: Copy or create. Listen to the critics, or just roll the dice how you see fit and live your own artistic life with the very freedom you truly, and everyone truly deserves.

    People who wait to be told what to do, where to do it and how to do it won’t ever flourish in the ways of ‘humanity’, but will often succeed in ways of ‘culture’. They will be stuck with whatever cultural, economic, political or religious zeitgeist hangs over their era like a giant shadow, raining on them acidic commands and human, artistic and spiritual guidelines.

    Ultimately the lesson to be learned here is very simple, very personal and comes bearing no hate or division of taste. Each and every song deserves to be heard like you’ve never heard music before.

    Because if you can’t offer tabula rasa, you’ll be left judging a song based off of your preconceived notions of what you believe it should be, or, what you believe it should be living up to; and that is a cruel and vain approach to art. Ego and vanity are very, very unattractive.

    Hans Zimmer is a beautiful composer, songwriter, producer, sound designer, engineer and artist in general when forming out of global, and world standards. Your unrealistic ivory tower illusion of the global climate, the music industry and writing in general has jaded you (and many of the people in agreement with you) to the point of absurdity and outright denial of truth. Bitterness, envy, et cetera. The truth about Hans is that he has written some of the most noticeable and acclaimed scores in all of films history and truly has earned his spot as one of the greatest composers of all time. He’s not Wojciech, nor do I expect him to be. He’s also not Richter, nor would I want him to be. In fact, I even think Desplat might be a different person? I haven’t checked but I’d assume so.

    He’s not my favorite, but, he’s earned my respect. And he deserves respect from all of you, hands down.

    • December 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I’m… confused.

      What have you read into a thousand word potty-mouthed online rant that justifies the phrase “unrealistic ivory tower illusion of the global climate, the music industry and writing in general”? Like, really, that’s what I’m hung up on here. I’ve never meant “scores are always better” and I’ve always meant “scores more often ring truer to the picture”. I’m not a traditionalist by any means. I’ve just spent my life watching films and observed that to be the case.

      Also, I’ve never denied that Hans Zimmer is famous or acclaimed. I’ve said that he’s lazy and that he’s relying on old tricks to maintain his status in the art world.

      And when did I say–like, really, this is why I’m so confused here. You say “people who wait to be told what to do […] will never flourish in the ways of ‘humanity’ but will often succeed in the ways of ‘culture’.” And my only reaction to that is a befuddled “… okay?” You can be daring and innovative and write music to picture and you can also be bland and conservative and not. You continually say I’ve tied Zimmer’s method of production to his music, but isn’t it really Zimmer himself who’s done so? Who has ultimately constructed himself as a composer of music before a single frame is shot?

      The final point I guess I’m making is that even listening to his music tabula rasa leaves me wanting more. It’s entirely possible that I dislike something that’s popular on its own terms, here. That Zimmer’s music is lacking depth on its own merits. I’ve also said earlier in this thread that I intend to see The Thin Red Line, for which Zimmer wrote the soundtrack before the movie had been shot. That movie will probably impress me, if it’s anywhere near the quality of The Tree of Life, from the same director.

      Though I guess I shouldn’t be planning to watch movies based on anybody who worked on them, should I? Or ever having heard of them before.

      As I said earlier, I’m confused.

  15. Andrew Aker
    December 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Gauging by both of your responses (which took absolutely none of my advice, points or philosophy into account either by purposeful or accidental ignorance) I can agree that you are confused. Very much so.

    You’ve turtled away from any reasonable discussion, forfeiting all logic and sense for emotional bias and general foolishness. Your statements have progressively become more delusional, and in some cases what you’re stating is an outright lie (ie; denying your personal bias shapes your view of Hans Zimmers music, not understanding the usage or application of tabula rasa or just outright ignoring it to somehow gain and advantageous position in the debate, ironically, in vain).

    Ultimately I can’t have a productive discussions with dishonest people or liars so at this point I’m no longer going to take you seriously. I’m well aware that you’ll continue to avoid everything I’ve said in hopes that I’ll buy your strawman arguments, et cetera. And in turn produce another wall of text that denies accountability for what you’ve previously stated, hides from remarks you’ve stated (or makes the point so laughably obscure that only confused or emotionally contrived Zimmer haters could latch onto, like yourself).

    I’ve given you some advice through out these posts, and, I’m going to try it one last time: If you plan on expressing opinions on the internet, having passionate views or even feeling entitled to the point of labeling composers and musicians as bad, terrible or worthy of blowing your, et cetera. You should sharpen up your ‘own’ skill set first, so far all I’ve seen here is an angry young man who’s struggling to identify with his feelings about someones creation and art. You’ve been gasping for air, reaching for straws and fumbling arguments to save face in hopes of keeping your pride undamaged, but, you’ve failed on nearly every account and should begin to wind back in the other direction. Apologizing, admitting you were acting like a child, showing respect to Zimmer and having a better attitude in general about the luxury you enjoy so much called the film industry.

    I almost didn’t respond to your post because of the dishonesty, and, this will be my last post here. But in the end I figured I might be able to sway some people back into the courtyard of reason and free artistic expression, leaving their ivory towers, pitchforks and sour attitudes at the gate….It’s beautiful in here, perhaps you should take up an instrument and come join the fun.

    Goodluck, and take care!

    • December 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      For a guy who stands for free artistic expression, you sure don’t want free expression of criticism regarding the arts.

      (I’m sorry, you said I was typing walls of text, so I cut back this time.)

  16. Andrew Aker
    December 25, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I don’t want to stink up your new article about Zimmer, so, I’ll post my response here (even though I said I was done here I think I get a pass because the content I’m responding to is from a different post).

    You are again being intellectually dishonest. At this point I am not sure if you even understand that you’re doing it or simply don’t care because it’s the internet….Either way it’s a reoccurring trend in your writing and if you want people to respect you as an intellectual you have to stop doing it.

    Latest example: “That was really my only thesis in that essay, yet it’s the most-commented article on my blog, with the comments full of people who love Zimmer and think I’m an imbecile for not loving him like they do and others who simply don’t like his music and don’t get the hype.” – Joe Criger

    Above is a direct quote from your new article about Zimmer. What’s the first thing that sticks out? Well, you’re lying about the people who’ve commented on the original article (or purposefully ignoring members like myself and only highlighting / commenting on the extremes). Again, I will echo my point above: I don’t love Zimmer, he’s not my favorite and matter of fact I’ve never called you an imbecile. Lumping the people who’ve taken time out of their day to think, prepare and execute responses to you into a series of extreme ultimatums or generalizations is just about the rudest thing you could do to the people who contribute to your website.

    Not only is it intellectually dishonest (ie; fabricating extreme parallels to allow your case or point more weight) but like I said it’s rude. If anyone attempted to paint a picture of this discussion in that light (which you did) it’d be an intellectually dishonest joust in hopes of hiding the true nature of their original postings, and, the absolutely unparalleled amount of musical ignorance that it required to create it.

    But not shockingly, you’ve done it again even now with your last comment on this thread; playing the “I’m just the innocent critic who wants to share his opinion respectively” card after you just got done telling Hans Zimmer to blow you. Did you forget about that part? And that he’s a terrible, pathetic and outright laughable human being who doesn’t even write real music?

    I’m attacking free artistic expression by telling you off for acting like a child who just got a new computer? It’s not even close to the case here, and it’s not a fair representation of the free artistic expression statement I was defending to begin with (but we won’t get into how that is yet another intellectually dishonest representation of a point I made). Anyone reading all my posts can see very clearly I am fighting for the right to do things how each artist desires without having to worry / listen to the descending and often talentless voices that endlessly cross compare and insist on things meeting ‘their’ expectations. In this regard I have pointed out many times how your article is an edged blade pointed at Hans, you can at least man up and admit it.

    There was no balance, understanding, respect or even acknowledgement in your postings; you did your best to drag Hans Zimmer through the mud and saluted everyone who congratulated you for doing so.

    Again, goodluck and best of wishes in your writing career!

    • December 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      You’re right, I’m wrong, Merry Christmas.

    • macs
      May 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Well written!

  17. Brian Mansur
    January 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Classic flame bait. Entertaining as watching Apple and Windows fanboys go at it. You have some skills Joe and even a few valid points I had never considered about Hans. Too bad the tone of your main article exudes the maturity of a high school debate student … or a presidential candidate (don’t know which is worse).

    Just what are you trying to accomplish here? If it is just to have some fun tossing out bread crums to watch the trout swarm up to the surface then you have certainly done that. Or do you want to do something more respectable?

    • January 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      While I’d like to do something more respectable in general, the aim here was for high school debate student. So thanks for seeing through the high school debate student surface and saying I had a few valid points!

      It’s a shame what I was trying to do wasn’t more clear. While I wasn’t aiming for flame bait, I am totally happy having written it. 🙂

  18. February 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    He is fucking shit get over it

  19. Arne Barnard
    March 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    The most disturbing trend I can sense here ( according to all of the trailers I see on Youtube) is that everyone and their brother NOW wants to score a movie JUST LIKE HANS ZIMMER!!!

    According to them, this is how it works.

    1. Get a cool DAW and East/ West Symphonic Orchestra.

    2. Don’t use any more than three chords.

    3. Program EVERYTHING on the same MIDI channel so you can trigger it ALL at once.

    4. Slosh on the reverb until it just don’t matter anymore

    5. Write all of your themes at a ten minute bus stop.

    6. Have said themes arbitrarily pasted where they’re supposed to go in the movie.

    7. Get three other people to write for you on those days that you just don’t *feel* like it.

    8. Never study or practice ANYTHING, as to not contaminate your purity.

    9. Recycle your old themes and music often-It’s the GREEN way!

    10. Fake astonishment at the term “pencil and paper”. (Actually, you probably WON’T need to fake that because you don’t USE such implements!)

  20. TJP
    March 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

    You, my friend, are bang on the money. Zimmer is a hack and wouldn’t know a leitmotif if it bit him in the arse. I actually laughed out loud in the theatre during Inception at how bad Zimmer’s music was. When I hear people raving about this guy’s music and how ‘brilliant’ he is, I just want to strangle them.

  21. May 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Eh, he’s definitely phoned it in for some movies but he did a very good job with Inception. There are certainly other composers who try harder but it’s easier to complain about being redundant when you haven’t had to do the soundtracks for dozens of movies.

    Note, he’s not my favorite composer. Hisaishi is much more classically accomplished, Kanno more eclectic (even if she has a team), or Williams more well known.

    Try listening to Zimmer’s soundtrack from Black Hawk Down; it’s a bit less like his other work.

    • SK
      May 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      No, not really. Constructs are nearly identical to everything else he’s done. The Lion King and his 80s stuff like Rain Man (although highly emblematic of the time) were the final examples where Zimmer wrote anything even remotely original.

    • Siana
      November 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Williams isn’t just more well-known, Williams is extremely catchy. I wouldn’t say that this necessarily makes good music (arguably for movies, it probably doesn’t), but it is a major reason he’s popular.

      “HAD to do soundtracks for dozens of movies”. Heh. Zimmer has done music for like two HUNDRED movies, he finishes 6 or more soundtracks per year. I can’t see anybody forcing him to do so though! Some artists will prefer to not spread themselves thin like that, leave themselves some time to evolve and deliberate. I figure just 2 movie scores per year ought to keep a guy busy.

  22. June 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    100% truth in this article. Could not agree more. Those that don’t do not understand MELODY… Zimmer knows nothing about melody… only beat and percussive style. That’s all he writes. No melodies, no themes.

  23. July 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I have never heard scores during a film as bad as Zimmer’s. Even his underlings write better scores (Steve Jablonsky for example, has written some enjoyable ones). Zimmer is atrocious. He is the only well-known composer that I have ever heard who actually scores very good, well-known, critically-acclaimed, well-received movies and makes the music within them unlistenable. With nearly every movie I’ve seen with his music, I say to myself, “this is awful and it would be better with NO score or ANY composer off the street! Awful! Where is the music mute button?” The only flaw to Nolan’s excellent Dark Knight trilogy was that gawd-awful racket supposedly called music that was being distractingly bad in the background. After watching three films, I actually heard ONE theme for Catwoman in the third one… ONE?! And it wasn’t really a theme as much as it was frantic strings playing the same thing over and over when she was on screen. Those newer Batman films could’ve been so much more with a composer who writes themes, melodies, motifs, layering, structure, telling a story with the notes… these are things that any professional composer does. Except Hanz Zimmer. I won’t even use John Williams as an example (he has been my lifelong favorite composer), because he is overkill… ANY composer one can name is better. Even TRACKING music from one of the other Batman films would’ve been more preferable (well, different flavor, but at least they TRIED WRITING MUSIC AND NOT AMBIENT NOISE AND A BEAT!). Or even random songs from anywhere. “Duuuuummmm… duuummm……DUUUUMMMM….” or “Booom… boom…. BOOOOOOMMMM” – yeah, that’s a film score worthy of praise and fanboyd and awards! Atrocious. Try harder of step down, Zimmer.

  24. Leo S.
    September 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I realize that I’m late on this, so excuse me in advance. I’m a classically trained composer and pianist, and I agree on almost everything in your post and replies. What made me me write this reply however is some of the Zimmer defendants and claims from the “fellow composers” here… “He’s earned his spot as one of the greatest composers of all time” may be the most absurd on here. Honestly, the person who wrote that has to be either extremely deluded or just plain ignorant of virtually anything related to (classical) music in general. Simply astounding.

    • Siana
      November 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I don’t even like Zimmer and his music, i feel like it’s missing a soul, but let me put it that way…

      this is not classical music. What if there’s more than one ruler to measure things against? What if you were to imagine that it isn’t the only kind of music to exist, or the only notable kind of music around? What if you were to accept that Western music, being confronted with African, has recently evolved beyond melody? House is often enough just a few stabs on the pentatonic with perhaps as little as a hint of melody, Techno often contains no melody at all and can be impactful and emotional nonetheless. It can have a soul.

      Zimmer has made orchestral soundtracks that are more rhythmical than melodic and have a strong influence from electronic music, and i will understand if some people believe it’s innovative and makes him a historically notable composer.

  25. Kristo
    October 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    lil bit of Zimmers melody here, half of the score anyways. What im trying to say is that, he is more than capable of making more melody biased scores, BUT the scores he is most famous for are usually in war/action/fighting/impending doom settings and having percussion/beats there is more syombolistic like “drums of war” kind of thing, If yall get what i mean.
    Thats how i see it.

    • Siana
      November 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

      The melody here is not notable. It’s very formulaic, it pretty much follows from the quite trivial and tired chord progression.

      It is a decent rhythmical track though, which kinda reinforces the point others made, but doesn’t support your point of view.

  26. Lemongrab
    October 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I can’t stand Hans Zimmer, and I always send people your article when they ask why I don’t like him. Helps me win most all arguments.

  27. Cellist
    November 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I am a classical musician (cellist) who obviously appreciates music from Bach, Beethoven to Shubert.
    Classically trained from when i was 3, I know and anyone can tell, that Hans Zimmer has an incredible understanding of the Classical and Baroque era and incorporates this into his scores. He writes very specifically to each motion picture he is hired to do. His music is full of emotion and passion.
    So you, whoever you are… most likely an untrained ear, don’t have a clue on what you are talking about.
    His pearl Harbour score is amazing, and my conductor used to get us to sit quietly and just listen.
    The dissonance and resolution in inception is absolutely magical.
    Just because you don’t “feel” this magic feeling you seek, doesn’t make him a shit composer, it simply means you don’t like his style.
    Accept that he is fabulous. In the same way i don’t like how Mozart writes, but he was beyond amazing and changed music to what it is today.

    thankyou.

  28. anon3
    November 22, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Hans Zimmer is the second worst of Hollywood’s A-list composers. James Horner is the worst. James Horner wrote the music for Troy.

    Also I would like to introduce to this discussion (extremely late, I apologize) the topic of heavy handedness in film composition, which for me is the thing I dislike the most about Hans Zimmer. Aren’t people tired of being forced to feel emotions with the same tricks every time? How did you feel about Johnny Greenwood’s score for The Master?

    In my opinion (I am a concert pianist, not a composer) Hans Zimmer writes (or has someone else write?) scores more or less at random and sometimes he gets lucky and sometimes he doesn’t. In True Romance he got lucky, in Inception he did not. Except that low note, that was pretty cool.

    Thoughts?

  29. November 23, 2012 at 1:06 am

    I’m amazed that any one could write a response to a critique that is longer than the critique which was way too long and that twenty odd people including myself would actually bother to read it which is why Hans Zimmer can blow me too.

  30. November 23, 2012 at 1:11 am

    By the way get an apple laptop with Garage Band and a few good plug ins and you can be Hans Zimmer too!

  31. JustinMe
    December 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    So I’m not alone after all. I thought my hearing was broken or something when I say this guy sounds awful and everybody around me gets this look.

    It seems to my (untrained) ear that he can do two things. Either take a theme that is already there and ride it to death with his pen (or his underling’s) e.g. The Simpsons Movie or vary his own little piece and hope nobody notices. I regularly get confused between Glatiator and PotC when listening to movie music to name just the pinnacle of his audacity.

  32. Dan Giambrone
    December 4, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Great article! I was beginning to think that I was alone with my views on Zimmer’s output.

    I just find his ‘music’ very generic, and like you say his tracks are cut & paste solutions.

    Zimmer’s ‘music’ is also too loud, (often intruding too much on the dialogue), and over-powering.

    Sadly now, in my opinion, many other composers are following his lead. A good soundtrack these days are a rarity.

    If you compare the soundtracks between the original Clash of the Titans, to the recent remake, they are gulfs apart. The original had beautiful melodies, and used a more appropriate set of instruments; whereas the remake just had a loud soulless score.

    I guess that I have been spoilt, listening to my dad’s collections of Morricone, Barry, Williams etc.

  33. Kiss My Ass Joe
    December 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    You moron. The real truth is you don’t have ears.

  34. December 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    You’re a goddamn idiot. Have you ever heard “Time” by Hans Zimmer? One of the best pieces of music ever composed. Also, go fuck yourself.

    • Andrew Bagley
      April 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      You know, if you were polite this guy might actually listen to you.

  35. Jack
    December 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Anyone who compares Hans Zimmer to John Williams or even Danny Elfmen is just fucking brain dead. And Probably thinks that Justin Biber is the best singer of all time.

  36. Tralbry
    February 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    A critique of Zimmer without any actual critical analysis is worthless. It’s sad what simple jealousy drives some people to become.

    News for you: there is no simple formula for what constitutes a good score. It doesn’t have to have “hummable” tunes or “memorable” themes, as incredibly subjective as those two ideas actually are. Repetition alone is a huge factor in what becomes “memorable”.

    And any vague comments about music being derivative (from some other composer) is also useless since most music is derivative, including those “other” composers who derived theirs from predecessors including those classicists outside movie scoring altogether.

    There is far less sameness between Zimmer scores than there is between John Williams scores so having a individual style isn’t a crime, either. In fact, that’s why you get re-hired. To re-do past successes. Neither is commercial success since Williams had plenty of that, also partially derived from the fact that the movie itself was a blockbuster and NO movie has ever been a blockbuster because of the score unless it was a musical. Elfman also has a sameness and a similar commercial success derived from the film itself.

    I once heard that the ideal score is one where you’re not even aware there WAS a score because it’s so tightly, inherently integrated into the film that it’s subservient to the director’s vision just as much as the foley track is. NO major film composer would fit this definition. They all have themes and styles that very much stand out apart from the movie itself and you can hate away all you want (it just makes you look like a buffoon) but you’ll never come up with any real reasons why Zimmer or Hermann or anyone else is definitively inferior to anyone else in terms of supporting the mood of a movie. You can’t say Bach is Inferior to Stravinski because Bach wasn’t as percussive. It’s an absurd remark. Each composer for his own time and each score for it’s own film. No composer needs to meet the “standard” of someone else and they certainly don’t need to meet the non-existent standards of an embittered internet hack.

    No wonder you eschew “structured and reasoned”. You couldn’t possibly put something together if that was the standard.

  37. notdave
    March 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    What an idiot… Since you are sooooo smart, how much did you make last year on your lame-ass articles? How much did Hans Zimmer make? Yeah… I’m sure he cares about your unfounded opinion. If anyone is a hack, it would be you. Your writing is for shit and I assure you, I wouldn’t be interested in another single word you write..

    Oh and let us know how you do in third grade this year.

    • Siana
      November 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      By your logic, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, Beyonce and Justin Bieber must be the fucking prodigies of music, to behold for centuries to come! Zimmer made orders of magnitude less than either of those!

      I’m not saying Zimmer is notable or non-notable, i don’t have a very strong opinion on that. I can tell you though that your reasoning is broken.

  38. Simsdesvilles
    March 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I just wanted to tell you all that everything your saying to critic such an amazing composer and musician is bullshit, maybe in some how, you are right about some rumors but you can’t contest the fact that he is one of the best and he was chose to compose the music of so many extroardinay movies and i think there’s is a good reason for that, he has talent. So stop being so meen with this man, you are not able to critic someone much more intelligent and talented than you so just shut the hell of and think about What you do and if you are really born for this career. I think you should reconsider this idear Mr critical. Regards!

  39. James Laflin
    April 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Hey “Joe Criger” – I know you wrote this 3 years ago, however I really wanted to comment upon your post, especially after reading all the comments.
    I can understand and respect your opinion, about how can Hans Zimmer be called an OST composer when all he does is write themes, etc…However, did you consider that how would the movie soundtracks come out if Hans Zimmer didn’t write the original themes, which were expanded and added to the film by the editors and everyone else? It was through Hans Zimmer skill and wonderful mind that these themes were created. For me, I am very impressed with the themes he comes up with, and have embedded the scenes in which the themes are in into my mind. From a different perspective, films that Hans Zimmer wrote themes to would not be the same, obviously, but we can’t say that it would be for the better.
    If you’re at all interested in seeing how your comments and opinions above might be altered, if at all, you should check out Hans Zimmer’s blogs on YOUTUBE. They have some for the making of his OST for POTC, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down. You’ll see that Hans Zimmer doesn’t actually just write whatever. He does put thoughts into it, and there were a couple of things I learned that were actually really creative and intelligent. For example, for the OST to Black Hawk Down, HZ researched a lot of books of that country. He even researched about a particular instrument of that country (I forget the name of it), and even brought the world’s renowned musician of that instrument into the studio all the way from the country (Sorry, forgot the guy’s name too). What I also found especially profound was how he described working with Lisa Gerrard on Gladiator, and the pure focus and energy that was put into the making of the tracks featuring her.

    Anyways, just some food for thought. I’m not trying to argue with you and say you’re wrong, and you don’t know what you’re talking about, just a little contrast to the other comments written.

  40. April 3, 2013 at 1:46 am

    dun duuuuun dun da dun dun……dun duuuuuuuuuun da da dun dun…….ba dup da dup, da du du du dup ba dup da dup, da du du du dun

    ba da dun da da da dun, da da dun, da, da da dun dun dundundundun dunnnda da da dun, da da dun, da, da da dun dun dundundundun

  41. Andrew Bagley
    April 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Ok you have a fairly valid point bu his music is still f***ing awsome END OF STORY.

  42. Andrew Bagley
    April 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Oh lets just hum Cobbs theme from Inceptio….. He dosen’t have one! Thats why no one can complete your test! If you said hum the theme in {X} part of the movie i could though. They are memorable. People in films don’t have to have specific themes, thats what they used to do like in the 50s when a bad guy came on stage and a moody tune would play. This is 2013 and things change. In fact at this very moment i have the tune for the spinning hallway sequence in Inception playing in my head. whatever people want to say in the end no one can deny that even if he may be a bad composer, but in my opinion he is not, no one can deny that there is not at least one good piece of music by hans zimmer.

  43. edwood
    May 1, 2013 at 2:27 am

    My best friend’s housemate a few years ago was a musician that sometimes was given an assignment from Hans Zimmer to create a piece. So, he’d work furiously, night and day, for a few days to compose, play, and record the piece. Then, he’d submit it to Hans Zimmer, and Hans Zimmer would submit it as his own work. I speak of a piece of the “The Last Samurai” score. This housemate borrowed our other friend’s [low cost but decent] electric bass guitar to do some of it, and told us that that bass ended up in the movie.

    Hans Zimmer the composer, is a factory that has employees* that crank out product. *okay, maybe independent contractors vs actual employees.

    That said, I do like some of Hans Zimmer’s “work”. But, most of it, I haven’t bothered to remember.

  44. rose
    May 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Excited to see man of steel but dreading having to sit through another overrated film score.by Zimmer and Elfman’s batman score is the one and only!

  45. Daniel
    May 22, 2013 at 6:33 am

    It was actually Nolan that said to Zimmer in an interview “Write what you want, I like to see what you can come up with freely” So really, it is Nolan’s choice as the director, and sometimes it’s a better way of doing it. Hans Zimmer has written many scores in the proper way e.g. The Lion King and Pirates of The Caribbean, so don’t slate his talent. The guy cannot even read music and with all due respect writes better music than most of those who can.

  46. Tim
    June 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Hey Joe,

    I completely 100% agree with everything you said so perfectly well in this blog. Let me add some thoughts as I have been arguing/discussing the MoS soundtrack with Zimmer fanboys lately.

    Zimmer has made a nice little discovery. He has learned that no matter how bad the underlying dish is, if you cover it up with enough sauce the vast majority of the movie going public will eat it up and beg for more. He has absolutely no need to come up with anything of substance when he can resort to this formula time and again and get paid millions for doing so.

    For anyone out there who cares to give it a try yourself, here is Hans Zimmer’s musical recipe. You almost don’t need to be a musician to be able to to this:

    – Select appropriate musical mode. Scary/dark = minor (TDK). Triumphant/majestic = major (MoS).

    – choose rhythmic feel – either 16th notes or triplets. Doesn’t really matter which.

    – 1 x measure of miscellaneous loud drums – toms, tablas, taikos etc. – pounding away constantly and relentlessly at triple forte, playing either an accented 16th note or triplet based rhythm, repeated as long as required, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over….

    – 1 x gigantic and extremely low pitched bass drum on the down beat every first and/or third measure.

    – 1 x repeated string ostinato pattern played at fff, in 16ths or triplets to match the drums.

    – 6 x French Horns also at fff playing long swells consisting of tones from the currently played chord.

    – Low brass section playing loud chords.

    – a dash of electronic sound effects.

    All that’s required to actually come up with is:

    – 2 or 4 measure chord progression containing at least one flat 2nd, 3rd or 6th chord.

    Luckily, there are handy tools for that. Chord progression charts/wheels. Use one. Pick chords. Again, ensure there is one flat 2nd, 3rd or 6th.

    Mix well and roll out into as long a loaf as required, repeating ingredients as needed. Especially the loud drums. Those are the spices that will mask the rest of the blandness. Slap on well marketed label and serve.

    Surprisingly, this is not really an over-simplification. This is Hans Zimmer. This is what he does. Really well.

    So, good for him. He’s making a fortune pumping out this horrid formulaic crap again and again and laughing all the way to the bank. The only way he would even think of changing this rather awesome situation in which he finds himself is if it was not accepted by the movie going public at large. Unfortunately, as George Carlin noted: “Think of how stupid the average person is. Now realize that half of them are stupider than that guy.” No, unfortunately the lemmings will continue to ensure that the above formula is all that is required and demanded of Hans Zimmer.

    And to all the lemmings out there who claim “It’s subjective! If I like it, then it’s good!” I can only agree with you that you are entitled to like whatever you want. That does not, however, make it “good”. If you think McDonald’s is fine dining, you are mistaken. Note that I am not challenging the fact that YOU think it’s fine dining. Your opinion is your own and you are entitled to it. You think McDonald’s is fine dining? Check, correct, yes, you do! However, you would be wrong. And, you’re free to be wrong! But I can explain why you’re wrong. Same with Zimmer’s music. Subjective = opinion. And you know what they say about opinions.

    Zimmer’s music is not awesome. It’s boring. Repetitive, boring, formulaic drivel. And you drones are free to continue to love it and cherish it and hug it and squeeze it as hard as you want. Doesn’t change a thing either way. You will still love it. And it will still suck.

    • NotYourBusiness
      April 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      This is the ONLY intelligent response in this entire thread. My thoughts exactly. What is so awesome about relentless percussion, 4 note (or less) so-called “themes” and LOUD soft MAJOR minor predictable formulaic crap? John Wiliams is the superior film scorer by far. Hell, I’d even take Howard Shore over Zimmer. He (Williams) captures exactly the essence of what is going on in the film. He never relies on saucing up the score with endless diatribes of drums, loud brass and predictably (read: repetitive) anemic “themes”. Zimmer is the Burger King of musical ability.

      John Williams is to Hans Zimmer as Tchaikowsky is to an infant banging on pots and pans.

  47. July 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Nice I was just complaining about not being able to hear what was happening in TDKR when I found this page.

  48. Sophitia
    August 12, 2013 at 2:51 am

    We should remember that for someone without training in advanced musical practises and theory, he has done a good job. His music is rather good. I do find that trained composers such as James Newton Howard and John Williams create more advanced work that has more interesting harmonies and themes in the writing.

    But you can sit around and complain all day… while Hans Zimmer creates music for tons of films yearly… Clearly he is in demand. Please post something written by yourself. Complain about someone else’s work when you have proven that you’re better

  49. Scott Gordon
    August 21, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I googled “Hans Zimmer sucks” after listening to a few minutes of his latest sonic wallpaper for Man of Steel and found this thread. I’ll just add that whenever I see his name on a film’s poster, my interest in ever seeing the thing drops pretty much to zero. I figure if whoever made the movie doesn’t care about maximizing its effectiveness with high quality scoring, I won’t waste my time and attention.

    • JayZ
      September 6, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Couldn’t agree with you more. The mere existence of a Hans Zimmer score signifies a lazy / careless film production.

      • Scott Gordon
        September 7, 2013 at 4:29 am

        I think musically aware/astute directors and producers are as rare as truly gifted composers seem to be now. But it’s still strange that someone like Ridley Scott (who might still be a capable craftsman – in spite of Prometheus) can be satisfied with what Zimmer and his disciples do after, for instance, Jerry Goldsmith’s contribution to Alien.

    • Jim
      November 17, 2013 at 2:30 am

      Me too. I still haven’t seen Inception, and Zimmer kept me from seeing Dark Knight Rises in theatre. It’s like they hired a band, like when Queen did songs for Flash Gordon, but instead of being awesome, like Queen, the band was awful and generic. It’s not frame by frame scoring, which is what really creates synergy. In fact, the Flash Gordon example has more synchronicity with the film than a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

      • Scott Gordon
        November 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

        I saw Inception before swearing off Zimmer altogether, and for me the density of the concept had a numbing effect, so the added numbing from the score didn’t much matter (visuals were interesting in an abstract way). Your FlashGordon example is great: live-action cartoon with the right stuff from Queen. Generally a score by Zim feels like watching a movie with the radio on and maybe sometimes it syncs up, but even then it’s only passable.

  50. Jake
    September 13, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Take me back to prison and gag me a fresh load with remakes, prequels, sequels, and spin offs with middle school jokes and air port noise that is composed by Hans Zimmer.

    Hans Zimmer is not the only composer in the entire world. And lately, his scores have been shitting in my ears for way too long.

    When I listened to the Dark Knight, I was wondering why he was using air port sounds instead of music. Then I looked at his other tracks, and realized that this guy’s melody wasn’t even his. He worked with James Newton Howard on allot of scores, and those scores were the one’s I like the most.

    Hans Zimmer has a fleet of composers making music for him, and it makes me wonder if he really composed the Pirates theme.

    If he did, I still would say that Pirates of the Caribbean is when Hans Zimmer had his moment of fame. The Lion King was superb as well, and Gladiator was really good. The only reason I knew about Hans Zimmer is because of Pirates. Then I looked at his track record and realized, this guy is really good. And alas, everybody started to think that Hans Zimmer was God. Can I hear an amen?

    I don’t think Hans Zimmer is terrible. I just think that his latest music has been rushed. Everybody wants to use him, and he is going from one big budget film to the next, and he’s shitting in my ears every time he does it. But he doesn’t give a shit. It’s a living, and business is good.

    Hans Zimmer’s music for The Dark Knight, Inception, Man of Steel, The Lone Ranger…. all of these scores just got worse and worse and worse. And now people think that just because Hans Zimmer is composing for The Amazing Spiderman 2 (an unnecessary sequel to an unnecessary reboot), that we are going to shit rainbows and fart butterflies.

    First of all, I’m sick of Spiderman. I have Hollywood to thank for that. And second of all, I’m sick of big budget Hollywood remakes, prequels, sequels, and spin offs. Thirdly, I am sick of this Hans Zimmer fetish that hollywood has been using to gape my ass hole just a little bit wider with their big budget dicks.

    Take me back to prison and gag me a fresh load with remakes, prequels, sequels, and spin offs with middle school jokes and air port noise that is composed by Hans Zimmer.

    • Siana
      November 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Pirates? The first movie’s score was written by Klaus Badelt, under Zimmer’s production.

      Yeah Zimmer has big production chops and he has a number of talents, and he has some notable composers working with him. Does this make him the best movie composer out there, like many appear to believe? I don’t think so. My personal choice would be Elfman. Elfman is not on everyone’s radar because he has done a dozen movies, not two hundred like Zimmer. But can you give ANY movie to Elfman to score? I have slight doubts, although the talents of this guy are really vast and varied. Can you give any movie to Zimmer? Probably, he might have just the right guys in his team to make anything work.

      I’d like to see more creative exploration though. Air has made a wonderful soundtrack for The Virgin Suicides, deep, dark, chilling to the bone, dissonant and yet melodic, with that unique analogue synthesizer and FX chain mastery and unheard yet unobtrusive noises. Is one of the sounds made by striking the springs of a tremolo unit at the back of a Stratocaster, and then processed into a smooth pattern? The decision to have Daft Punk write Tron music was a curious and good one, IMO, even though i can think of better candidates still. I’d like to see more Electronica, Techno and House artists involved in movie production. Somebody hire Dosem and Garraud! Heck, maybe even deadmau5, now that he’s on his “fuck EDM” exploration trip.

  51. Roger Adams
    September 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Strictly speaking, it’s a long time since I had any authority to comment on Hans’s music as we haven’t worked together or even seen each other since about 1978/9, when we rehearsed for hours on end our set of self-written funky prog rock songs, did a short residency at a club in Majorca and then toured the UK and tried to get a record deal as a band. During that period of time he proved categorically to me that he was supremely gifted.

    He was also one of the real pioneers of sequencing and the polyphonic synthesizer. I was not at all surprised to find him (after quickly helping to dash off one of the catchiest hit singles in the history of pop music) establishing himself within a few months of leaving the band as a successful provider of music for television and movies. I seriously doubt that Hans could be accurately described as the sort of composer who hums something and gets someone else to write it down. He was always far too hands-on, tech-savvy and downright musical to merit that description of his highly complex methods (suggested by some numbskull or other in the mess of words above, which I’m really not inclined to sift through again in order to find the quote.)

    Since (probably before) the time we all sat in a cold, empty North of England cinema on an afternoon off from our somewhat erratic touring schedule and enjoyed the fright fest that was Argento’s “Suspiria” (with quadrophonic electronic sound track by “The Goblins”) the career of composing music for the cinema was always going to be his.

    When he used to pat my wife’s pregnancy bump (now my 35 year old son) with an avuncular smile and say “how’s little Cecil B behaving today?” it became even more obvious where his true inspiration and his future lay. His leaving our band was a body blow from which it sadly failed to recover, yet after learning to accept that his decision to depart was irrevocable we have never held it against him – in fact we have all been rather proud of the mighty achievements of “our” Hans.

    I would strongly suggest all you naysayers grow some ears and a couple of brain cells and perhaps target someone deserving of all the complete bollocks I read above. Hans is a lovely geezer who loves music, loves movies and completely deserves all the success he has. I hope perhaps we’ll meet again some day and compare memories!

  52. Brianna
    September 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Interesting debate we have going on here–five years or so’s worth? *cracks fingers*

    For my part, I don’t know the Zimmer-Man myself, but I will defend the soundtrack-score (?) to Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron tooth and…hoof, I guess?

    Undoubtedly, Bryan Adams picked up a lot of the slack when the character music had to kick through (the shredding and the screaming are vital narrative building-blocks, quite obviously), but Han, for his part, painted textured, haunting orchestrals around those mustang, man. The tracks Homeland and Run Free deserve figure-skating routines set to them..and if you didn’t cry at Sound The Bugle? I have no hope for you.

    I haven’t responded emotionally to any other Zimmer, since I don’t connect with the material he chooses /the movies he scores for suck to begin with (it must be hard to ruin an entire film through score alone).

    Nonetheless, I think Spirit is the exception in his catalogue to date–a beautiful movie with beautiful music, and the soundtrack-score (seriously, what is it) warrants a second-listen no matter what you think about the dude with the lap-ful of synths that got paid to put it on CD.

    But, as you were, gentlemen. 😀

  53. Jason Ng
    November 29, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Actually, I can hum Cobb’s theme just fine, which for me is Time. For me those 8 chords represent him and Mal’s relationship, Cobb’s journey back from his guilt, everything. If fact, if you out that to any scene in, say, the Dark Knight, it would NOT work, ESPECIALLY not when the electric guitar comes in, it would just not match Batman, but it does Cobb.

  54. Phillip
    December 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Hans Zimmer composes very generic sounding music, and then sprinkles tunes of other well known songs into the mix. Sometimes the themes that he “borrows” form the entire basis for his scores. It’s becoming more and more noticeable as he runs out of ideas (if he ever had any). I admit he does what he does well, but he’s definitely sliding on the originality scale (Lone Range, blech).

  55. kimquando
    December 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I just stumbled upon this blog, and I’m kind of baffled by the amount of hate you have for Hans. The way I see it, If you’re going to trash somebodies work, you better be able to prove that you can do a better job.

  56. fawwx
    February 4, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Whatever.

  57. Giovanni Perini
    March 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    NO,,,,he’s totally right, Zimmer S.U.C.K.S. and he doesnt deserve to be in the place he’s been for years, he can only play 3 chords and the same banal sequences of notes over and over again for ,,,10000000 movies,,,, sign of the times we are living, unfortunately

  58. Giovanni Perini
    March 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Tim :
    Hey Joe,
    I completely 100% agree with everything you said so perfectly well in this blog. Let me add some thoughts as I have been arguing/discussing the MoS soundtrack with Zimmer fanboys lately.
    Zimmer has made a nice little discovery. He has learned that no matter how bad the underlying dish is, if you cover it up with enough sauce the vast majority of the movie going public will eat it up and beg for more. He has absolutely no need to come up with anything of substance when he can resort to this formula time and again and get paid millions for doing so.
    For anyone out there who cares to give it a try yourself, here is Hans Zimmer’s musical recipe. You almost don’t need to be a musician to be able to to this:
    – Select appropriate musical mode. Scary/dark = minor (TDK). Triumphant/majestic = major (MoS).
    – choose rhythmic feel – either 16th notes or triplets. Doesn’t really matter which.
    – 1 x measure of miscellaneous loud drums – toms, tablas, taikos etc. – pounding away constantly and relentlessly at triple forte, playing either an accented 16th note or triplet based rhythm, repeated as long as required, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over….
    – 1 x gigantic and extremely low pitched bass drum on the down beat every first and/or third measure.
    – 1 x repeated string ostinato pattern played at fff, in 16ths or triplets to match the drums.
    – 6 x French Horns also at fff playing long swells consisting of tones from the currently played chord.
    – Low brass section playing loud chords.
    – a dash of electronic sound effects.
    All that’s required to actually come up with is:
    – 2 or 4 measure chord progression containing at least one flat 2nd, 3rd or 6th chord.
    Luckily, there are handy tools for that. Chord progression charts/wheels. Use one. Pick chords. Again, ensure there is one flat 2nd, 3rd or 6th.
    Mix well and roll out into as long a loaf as required, repeating ingredients as needed. Especially the loud drums. Those are the spices that will mask the rest of the blandness. Slap on well marketed label and serve.
    Surprisingly, this is not really an over-simplification. This is Hans Zimmer. This is what he does. Really well.
    So, good for him. He’s making a fortune pumping out this horrid formulaic crap again and again and laughing all the way to the bank. The only way he would even think of changing this rather awesome situation in which he finds himself is if it was not accepted by the movie going public at large. Unfortunately, as George Carlin noted: “Think of how stupid the average person is. Now realize that half of them are stupider than that guy.” No, unfortunately the lemmings will continue to ensure that the above formula is all that is required and demanded of Hans Zimmer.
    And to all the lemmings out there who claim “It’s subjective! If I like it, then it’s good!” I can only agree with you that you are entitled to like whatever you want. That does not, however, make it “good”. If you think McDonald’s is fine dining, you are mistaken. Note that I am not challenging the fact that YOU think it’s fine dining. Your opinion is your own and you are entitled to it. You think McDonald’s is fine dining? Check, correct, yes, you do! However, you would be wrong. And, you’re free to be wrong! But I can explain why you’re wrong. Same with Zimmer’s music. Subjective = opinion. And you know what they say about opinions.
    Zimmer’s music is not awesome. It’s boring. Repetitive, boring, formulaic drivel. And you drones are free to continue to love it and cherish it and hug it and squeeze it as hard as you want. Doesn’t change a thing either way. You will still love it. And it will still suck.

    WELL SAID

  59. Mugatu
    March 11, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Jeez, comparing Inception’s ‘In Time’ and 12 Years a Slave’s ‘Solomon’s Theme’…this is all I could think of.

  60. bea
    April 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Completely agree! Where are our Hermanns, Morricones and Mancinis?

  61. FeslenR
    April 16, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Thank you for writing this comment, and those who agree with my views on “Why all the fuss about Zimmer?” I’ve heard much of his music, and I can’t remember any of it, not a single one stands out in my mind. Maybe I suck, I don’t know, and I’d be glad to admit it, but all his recent films sound exactly the same.

    Zimmer is no Morricone, Williams, Elfman etc…I wish they’d stop hiring him for comic book movies and adventure films in general.

    • David
      May 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Yes!! A lot of new composers are now falling into this category..listen to the new jurassic park. It’s just a copy of nearly every other new soundtrack currently out there. Listen to the soundtrack for hugo and machinarium and lotr though and you have magic:)

  62. Steven Wright
    May 20, 2014 at 7:44 am

    the person who wrote this article is writer, as a professional musician I can confirm that Zimmer is a hack and gives composer a bad name, he honestly doesn’t even know how to play the piano.

    • David
      May 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

      I have studied music for eleven years and completely agree.

  63. August 23, 2014 at 8:35 am

    bunch of loser material – both author and commenters…) get a life, guys. Try to do better or fuck off…

  64. August 26, 2014 at 1:42 am

    I wouldn’t want to let an entire year go by without a new post to Google’s #1 return for “Hans Zimmer sucks”.

    Nobody’s talked about speaker technology. How would a Zimmer score sound a set of speakers from 1995? I’m guessing it would sound muddy and indistinct.

    What if the popularity of the bass soundscape is completely due to the new capabilities of theater speakers? It is a powerful, visceral experience to be hit with that wall of sound. I just saw a trailer for Interstellar (Zimmer) in a THX theater and the sound was exhilirating. Do I want to hear a picolo on those speakers? Hell, no!

    Maybe the new speaker capacities are something composers are going to learn to use responsibly and with delicacy; just how color, after being introduced to film, took a while to resolve to a reasonable pallete. But until audiences get tired of their testicles vibrating at 20Hz, we’re going to have to tolerate the sonorous monotony of oppressive soundtracks.

  65. Fred
    September 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I totally agree with this article. It’s exactly what I think! Thanks for this elaborate explanation.
    For the people who are saying Hans Zimmer is great I have one thing to say.
    Billions of flies are not wrong! We know what they eat!

  66. November 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    While quite enjoying Hans Zimmer’s music, I respect your opinion that Hans Zimmer sucks and your right to talk about it publicly. I see where you’re coming from with a lot of your arguments. But while he takes a less personal approach to composing music for film, the music that he writes is still excellent.

  67. DrJekyll
    November 10, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I sincere hope some of Zimmer’s money from Interstellar is sent to Mahler’s estate and family.

  68. the italian guy
    November 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Please somebody says something about Interstellar … I feel like I’m the only asshole on the planet who thinks that it’s a terrible score. During the whole movie I had deja-vus of Philip Glass’ music (which I don’t like either, but I still respect him more than HZ), the track “Requiem” from Akira and generic trailer music.
    I honestly think that Zimmer is a clever impostor, a charming orator who always goes for the easy and predictable solution: 3 chords (LITERALLY!!!), tons of synthesizers and super loud mixes. He gives people McDonald’s and they think it’s Joël Robuchon.
    I feel lonely every time I hear someone talking about HZ … and not just casual listeners, even so-called composers. I believe that this has to do with the power of images. For example, there has been used 3 tracks for the Interstellar trailers and teasers:
    – Thomas Bergersen’s “Final Frontier”
    – Dario Marianelli’s “Evey Reborn” from V for Vendetta
    – A Hans Zimmer’s track that turned out to be the main theme for Interstellar
    Well, I remember perfectly that everybody was sharing and talking about Marianelli’s and Bergersen’s music thinking that it was Zimmer’s, while the actual theme was almost being ignored. But of course, after the movie came out, people was so dazzled by it that everyone automatically thought that the music was astonishing as well. But it’s not, it’s only mass persuasion, a psychological issue lead by euphoria and ignorance.
    There’s something else. I often been told that Zimmer has a simple and minimalistic approach to music in order to get to the core of the movie, because the simpler the better. I think there’s a HUGE difference between simplicity and banality and to me he clearly belongs to the latter category. Let’s be honest, he doesn’t know **** about music theory, he does the same stuff all over again because HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO! He doesn’t have any interesting musical ideas and when he does they’re always stolen from other composers.
    What he does very well though is producing big epic sound (because in 2014 BIG and EPIC are the keywords for success), gathering a team of knowledgeable people to do the hard work for him and of course, talking a lot during the interviews.

  69. BlueTooth
    December 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I agree – to a point:
    Hans Zimmer has been INVOLVED in some great movie scores.
    The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean or Batman Begins (though not so much the sequels) spring to mind.
    But then he did always work with other fantastic composers on these films: Elton John (come on!) for Lion King, Klaus Badelt (and a whole bunch of other minor and major composers) and James Newton Howard on Batman.
    So why is the music for these films fantastic, and the music for films he scores on his own so horribly average? Hmm, I wonder……
    You do have to acknowledge he’s one hell of a music producer though. The production value of his soundtracks is almost unequalled.
    But he’s so overrated as a composer nowadays…

  70. Dream Music
    February 12, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I’m not really a “fan” of Hans Zimmer’s music but I can respect his abilities and what he’s accomplished even though his music can be considered overrated. The value that Hans brings to the table in a production environment is the real reason why he is so sought after. This is the point you guys are missing. I am a composer and a creative director so I can see the value in both end of the spectrum. First of all coming up with great music is not as simple as you think. Especially when you’ve been in the business for decades. It’s not that easy to constantly reinvent your music so that they don’t all sound the same and overlap. Show respect and don’t downplay or insult the creative process that goes into it. It’s not as simple and easy as you tried to insinuate. Your argument of trying to paint Hans Zimmer as incompetent because he doesn’t follow a structured routine in scoring is flawed on so many levels.
    Here’s the real value Hans bring. Before that I like to point out that you focus too much and tunnel vision on the music itself without understanding that the music can breathe life to the scenes before the scenes are made. What Hans bring is that he can stimulate and bring value to the production process through his music and that creative energy can stimulate the director into portraying the scenes in a way that is not possible if he were to do it all afterwards. Sometimes directors know exactly what they want for each and every scenes and even so they’re still open to alternative ideas which they may have in the back of their mind. And that idea itself need something like what Hans can bring in order to manifest. There’s also plenty of moments which a director may become drained due to the stress accumulated from production and is lacking compelling vision for a specific moment in the movie. That is where Hans can greatly help out and making the refueling the much needed creative energy in the creative process of the production.
    From a creative director point of view, often times I get inspired to come up with new ideas just from seeing the art of a character. It’s not like I come up with the characters first in the back of my mind and then write out a full description of the characters. I do it this way for some characters while other times visual or “mind-eye” stimulation can lead to creative breakthrough. At the end of the day true creativity comes from creative freedom and therefore there is no specific workflow and gates that hinders the way we approach creation. You should be open minded in this regard and respect various method of creation.

  71. Bob
    March 2, 2015 at 11:21 am

    You are the biggest moron ever

  72. David
    May 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Wow! So so true! I’ve always though zimmer was rubbish. He has one sound and uses it for everything.

  73. Cheng Yu
    September 6, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross can defecate on Hans Zimmerman’s trash all day, everyday.

  74. imjjwill@gmail.com
    October 6, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Obviously written before Interstellar came out.

  75. Haha
    December 21, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Zimmer fucking sucks, PERIOD!!!

  76. SR
    March 26, 2016 at 5:57 am

    Zimmer is a lazy ass “musician”. He recycles scores and is all cocky about it. Wish I’d seen your article years ago.

  77. Rodrigo Castillo
    March 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Can you remember any good track from any Hans Zimmer score? Because I can’t. All that comes to my mind is the sound of electronic drums, marching in the search of a melody that never arrives…

  78. johnnyboy williamson
    November 23, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    I wound up here after googling ‘Hans Zimmer is a fucking hack” for shits and giggles – lo and behold, what held 6 years ago is now even more true. My own fury at that talentless waste of notes was caused by watching The Crown, hearing the opening theme and thinking “Oh look, Michael Nyman is still working”, then seeing that the music was credited to Zimmer. His theme is lifted note for note from Nyman’s Memorial. Yeah I know I know, Nyman took it from a bit of Purcell, but Nyman actually wrote an entire piece of music based on that musical phrase. Zimmer just does a quick 30 second cut-and-paste and gets his credit, without even a nod to Nyman or Purcell. What a fucking plagiarizing tool.

  79. johnnyboy williamson
    November 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I wound up here after googling ‘Hans Zimmer is a f****g hack” for sh1ts and giggles – lo and behold, what held 6 years ago is now even more true. My own fury at that talentless waste of notes was caused by watching The Crown, hearing the opening theme and thinking “Oh look, Michael Nyman is still working”, then seeing that the music was credited to Zimmer. His theme is lifted note for note from Nyman’s Memorial. Yeah I know I know, Nyman took it from a bit of Purcell, but Nyman actually wrote an entire piece of music based on that musical phrase. Zimmer just does a quick 30 second cut-and-paste and gets his credit, without even a nod to Nyman or Purcell. What a plagiarizing tool.

  1. November 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

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