Ever since the blockbuster movie Guardians of the Galaxy came on the big screen in 2014, its iconic playlist “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” filled the ears of hundreds of thousands with classics ranging from “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The 1980s classic, “The Karate Kid,” also encompassed songs we still love today such as “You’re the Best” by Joe Esposito. The point is, sometimes a movie or series doesn’t necessarily become famous solely for their plot, characters or visuals. Some reach the level of “a classic” – or higher than 90% on rotten tomatoes – through a less visual and more auditory sensation: music.
According to Business Insider, we’ve had dozens of modern American classics,including Super Size Me, Inception and even Wall-E. One of these modern classics has something the others do not – a glorious soundtrack. Inception (2011), a captivating cinematic masterpiece starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page, prizes itself through dramatic storyline, intense plot twists and, especially, the man behind the music: Hans Zimmer.
Hans Zimmer, a German film score composer and record producer since the 1950s, charms many of his viewers through his addition of beautiful instrumentals. Recent movie soundtracks he’s also worked on include “Interstellar,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Lion King.”
Music has not only changed the movie industry, but its impact changed our perspective on movies. Music and theatre always intertwine between themselves. Whether it’s on broadway or in the movie theater across the street, music has always been seen as the supplemental factor towards entertainment. However, after multiple Hans Zimmer movies and Studio Ghibli classics, – a Japanese animation film studio famous for movies such as Spirited Away and Totoro – screenwriters and viewers alike concluded that “music is in essence fundamental, equivalent to both visuals and storyline” in a 2017 report by Multihead Productions. Hans Zimmer, one of the most respected composers of our 21st century time, has orchestrated numerous masterpieces in cinema. Personally, one of the best examples derive from his most recent movies: Interstellar and Inception.Although there are hundreds of composers who craft movie soundtracks, Zimmer is one of the first to set the table with jaw-dropping art pieces through his compositions. Due to new music expectations in cinema, the movie and music industry collaborated even further than before in the past twenty years. Premium Beat explains that, “of all the artistic tools at a filmmaker’s disposal, it can be argued that music is among the most vital — and certainly one of the most powerful in the movie industry.”
Both viewers and critics love watching a good movie. However, society expects an ultimate cinematic experience through not only the movie itself. We’ve set an expectation in our mentality that in order for a movie to be good, you also need accompanying quality music for it. Hans Zimmer’s work helps viewers associate his music with movie quality; changing our perspectives and expectations in what we want in movies. If anything, with his orchestrated composition, his band and haunting choir line, 60-year-old Zimmer oozes energy from every position he takes onstage, oscillating between instruments with shocking seamlessness, never glancing at a single sheet of music and betraying himself as a kinetic and passionate musician with a knack for storytelling.
Hans Zimmer may as well be considered a god onstage and in movies creating both a new expectation for movies and a legacy of orchestra music.