Dark Knight – Great Movie, Bad Soundtrack?
There are many reasons I want to go see The Dark Knight, the latest installment in the Batman franchise. Christian Bale resurrected the character in Batman Begins and I am very curious to see how he follows through. Plus I am intrigued by the lack of green screen for some of the major scenes – particularly because Christopher Nolan shot the movie in IMAX – making the visual experience potentially much richer.
Even though I am addicted to movie soundtracks, I don’t think the tunes are what’s going to stand out for this movie. True, James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer deliver an admirable score. But there are only two songs in the movie: “Scatterin’ Monkey” and “4 a Moment of Silence,” both by the Boom Boom Satellites.
While the old school Batman movies were not as good as Batman Begins (and likely Dark Knight will be), I am probably one of the few people who actually really liked the soundtrack to the first Batman movie by Prince. Maybe the camp factor worked in that way, before it got stale and ridiculous.
Perhaps Batgirl and Robin was just a step too far, but the soundtrack to Batman & Robin was actually quite good. Smashing Pumpkins, R. Kelly, Goo Goo Dolls, REM, Soul Coughing and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is quite a crossroads for a movie soundtrack.
Perhaps the high point from a commercial standpoint was the Batman Forever soundtrack featuring U2’s Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me as well as Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, and track from Offspring, Flaming Lips and Brandy, as well as Massive Attack, Nick Cave, Sunny Day Real Estate, Method Man and even P.J. Harvey. That’s quite a collection. And even though the soundtrack to Batman Returns was slim – featuring only two songs – the fact that Souxsie & the Banshees’s Face to Face was in the movie (and on the album) says something.
In short, I am glad that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are better movies, but couldn’t Christopher Nolan or James Newton Howard find a happy medium and give music fans an opportunity to enjoy the movie in their own way too? Maybe that’s too much to ask…When I have my own studio, or Kathy Nelson’s job…watch out.
Just curious, if you were to add your own songs to the Dark Knight soundtrack, what would you suggest? Open call in the comments section. I’ll post a supplemental soundtrack of the top 18 songs on ReelSoundtrack.
Here’s one my favorite Batman movie songs, The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game, by Massive Attack, from Batman Forever: