It’s that time of year again! If you’re seeking fresh ideas or hoping for inspiration – or even tantalising recommendations then… welcome! Scroll down to dive into this review, and if you want further gift ideas, just click here for the full range from my Critical Popcorn Christmas Gift Guide 2021!
There’s nothing quite as special as a superb film score from a talent film composer, and while we’ve got a plethora of top talents working across the Globe right now, including the likes of Michael Giacchino, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Alexandre Desplat and Benjamin Wallfisch, there’s one artist who’s at the top of his game right now: Hans Zimmer. With an already remarkable filmography to his name, with scores for Dune, The Dark Knight trilogy, Gladiator, and Interstellar to name a selection, he certainly doesn’t appear to be dropping any standards – and I’m focusing on two huge ones today!
Under the blanket of our Christmas Gift Ideas, I’m featuring two of his brand-new film scores, and they’re world class, in the vinyl shape of WW84 from Mondo Records, and No Time to Die from Decca Records, both out now to purchase from selected wonderful record stores.
First up, we head to this delicious release from Mondo Records as Zimmer takes on the world of Diana Prince, in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984, that stars a perfectly cast Gal Gadot as the Amazonian woman of strength, truth, and justice to everyone, everywhere for nearly 80 years. WW84 introduced us to Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and Pedro Pascal’s Max Lord, in a throwback adventure romp. While the film itself didn’t quite hit the heights of 2017’s outstanding Wonder Woman, we received one of the finest superhero movie scores, right across Marvel and DC.
Han Zimmer’s score is iconic, full of scope and vision, and eager to dive right into the heart of trouble – in the greatest possible way. Whatever you thought of WW84 itself, it doesn’t mean we’d disregard this incredibly special release from Mondo that comes with 3LPs, that are 180-gram coloured vinyl, complete with genuinely outstanding art from the mighty La Boca, trust me, this is an exceptional team-up.
We’re instantly pulled into Diana’s world from the opening arrangement, and although the soundtrack itself didn’t contain as much retro 80s as I would have expected, it really doesn’t matter when Zimmer is in this kind of form, just imagine it all with a live orchestra, utterly compelling. Kicking off with Themyscira, the name of their home city, it’s a string-fuelled power anthem with that enduring WW motif lingering around the exciting construction of the composition. It’s legendary and inspired, all in one.
Then its that wonderful Games moment, with young Diana taking part in the heart of their challenges. You can sense the moment itself and while we know that she cheats, and obviously isn’t the winner she thinks she has become, the music is as loud and intense as the sequence itself. It’s then not long before we’re in 1984 itself, feeling the chase, can you imagine being in the room at AIR Studios and Abbey Road during the recording? Both iconic studios in their own right.
Black Gold is atmospheric beyond belief, truly bleeding the scenes into memory (one of my favourites), followed by the emotive Wish We Had More Time, that initial mystery and time-chimes of The Stone, and then Cheetah with her dark, prowling motifs and individual pulsing ambiance. From there, you’re onto your second LP, Fireworks is that scene you know – plus a little clip in the trailer – and then on! The interesting thing about Zimmer’s WW84 original score is how optimistic is it, if you flip it through the darkness of his Dark Knight work (which I also adore), this takes the character of Wonder Woman and continues to lift her up, even in the most desperate of times. It’s a smart encapsulation that’s levelled with urgency and importance.
It’s also important to mention the wealth of talent involved behind-the-scenes to bring you the music to a level that’s as real and authentic as possible. I never tire of recommending the unique world of a live orchestra, if you get the chance, please do it! This record features hundreds of musicians, engineers, editors and beyond. Everything from the string sections with violin and cello galore, plus the double bass, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, French horns, trumpets, trombones and even a Harp – and that’s before we’ve even gone through the choir vocalists and soloists. So much work and dedication, and it’s worth it.
Inside the record, you’ve got an epic fold-out central solar system-like journey, with the inscription ‘Anulo imposito magnum desideri es um invoca’ at its centre, which is connected to the ring Diana uses to wish Trevor back into reality. It’s an awe-inspiring triple-centrefold, with the art seemingly representing something akin to a solar system, which is the planets and the universe her love revolves around. The sleeve notes feature Patty Jenkins, with her comments on the making of the score and how each track and theme for the characters was approached, and how genuinely timeless Zimmer has created it, almost effortlessly but equally brilliant.
La Boca’s art is exemplary, sharp and precise, iconic and vivid – the striking front sleeve artwork is unmissable, take a look at this even closer below, as having another striking creation from them, with Princess Diana of Themyscira in silver and black, is worth being on your wall. In truth, you feel like you’re getting a unique vinyl here, not just with the art but coupled with one of Zimmer’s truly iconic works. My word, it’s powerful and beautiful, and both can mutually coexist.
From DC, Watertower Music and Mondo, WW84 is available to order now direct from Mondo right here!
Want more Hans in your life? Come on over to Page 2 and our No Time to Die vinyl review….