I like James Bond. I really do. I don’t, however, cotton to this trend in modern cinema in which Very Serious Directors reboot classic movie franchises, strip away everything that makes then fun and endearing (read: the silliness and the camp and the sex), and then make them long, boring epics with Very Important Actors and scores usually provided by Hans Zimmer and a slew of vuvuzelas. Christopher Nolan made me excited for the prospect that there might never be another Batman movie, and that new Superman movie for which the trailer was too long and only featured Clark Kent, like, driving around a field? (Yeah, that seems FUN.) So I don’t really care that the guy who directed American Beauty (which, in retrospect, everyone should know is a piece of shit) is in charge of this new one.
But apparently people are enjoying it! All of my friends are tweeting stuff like, "I don’t even like James Bond but I liked Skyfall." Which, you know, is a pretty good indication that I will not like it. Why make a genre film for people who are not fans of the genre? Because doesn’t that make it not a genre film, and just an action movie with a character whose name recognition can carry a lot of advertisers and convince people that making more bloggy lists called "The Best Bond Theme Songs" and "The Ugliest James Bond Girls" is a really good idea? Can’t we, like, either do something NEW or just make it the same as it was before? Is that too hard to ask?
Because, look. Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig’s James Bond is a dour figured compared the groovy (and, let’s face it, funny and personable) guy that Roger Moore and Sean Connery portrayed. Even Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was someone you’d want to hang out with! But nooo, we’ve got to go with the dark and gritty and, honestly? The boring. I can nap at home for free with Adele’s theme song playing on a loop on iTunes. That’s, I must admit, seems a lot more exciting to me.
Having already scored both Batman films for Chris Nolan, it isn’t too surprising that Hans Zimmer also composed the score for Inception. What is surprising is that Zimmer, in turn, hired legendary The Smiths axe-man Johnny Marr to contribute to the project. Although Marr didn’t write any of the material he performs, Zimmer told the L.A. Times‘s Todd Martens that Marr’s style was critical to the composition. “Instrumentalists aren’t interchangeable,” he said. “I’m thinking about Jacqueline du Pre playing Elgar Celleo Concerto. There are many great performances, but her performance is that performance. I said to Chris, ‘What about Johnny Marr?’ I was going to ditch it if it wasn’t going to be Johnny.”
As luck would have it, Marr was available, and spent four long days in the studio with Zimmer, experimenting with various somber, twelve-string guitar effects that ultimately became a motif for DiCaprio’s Cobb character. It’s some heavy stuff indeed, but Zimmer objects to the allegation that the score is, as if mimicking Nolan’s complex story, some kind of mind-twist. “I’m nearly resentful of the way people are describing this music as being smart and intellectual,” he said. “What I was writing was nostalgia and sadness. This character carries this sadness all the time that he cannot express. He’s been telling us about it all along, but no one knows how to listen. I think the job that Johnny and I had to do was write the heart of this thing.”
You’re invited to decide for yourself. Here’s footage of Zimmer and Marr playing live at the Inception premiere:
This obit comes straight from composer Hans Zimmer who scored the previous Nolan-directed iterations of the Batman saga. It should be noted that by “the Batman franchise being dead,” the only death here is of the series as conceived and executed by Chris Nolan. Which is still a big blow to Batman‘s legacy, as he was able to restore the Caped Crusader’s good name after Joel Schumacher and a host of others did their best to sully it. Zimmer tells IGN, “I don’t know if there’s a Batman 3 or not. I really don’t.” That should inspire confidence!
(‘’) Zimmer, however, is only privy to what Nolan tells him in order to get him going creatively. “When Chris tells me a paragraph of a story,” Zimmer says, “at that moment the synapses will start firing. It’s as simple as that.” However, the lack of a third Batman isn’t keeping the duo from collaborating as Zimmer is hard at work scoring Nolan’s Inception, which has such an awesome cast that at this point we need to ask if we really even need a proper third Batman flick if Nolan’s going to oversee eerie sci-fi thrillers with stars like Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and one-time Growing Pains star Leonardo DiCaprio.