Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 Score Review

Title: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1

Composer: Christopher Drake

Length: 58 Minutes

Track Count: 22 Tracks

Year Of Release: 2013


Hello! One of my most anticipated scores of the year was released on Spotify a couple of days ago, so I thought it 100% necessary to check it out! The Dark Knight Returns is an animated DC Batman film, based upon the comic book of the same name, and it has been split into 2 parts. Christopher Drake is the man assigned to put music to film for both installments, to my pure delight! He's the man behind the Arkham Origins score, Injustice: Gods Among Us and Under The Red Hood scores, all wonderful. He knows how to make a very themed score, as well as create grand, awe-filled music, which is perfect for this type of film. I noticed within the film how well the music was working, and how distinguishable his style is, which is awesome! So, without further ado, let's mark this one!

Gotham City, 1986 is our starting piece. Drake pumps some heavy music here, but it certainly isn't irritable. It's not the best piece, as there isn't really much of value here. As we move on, synth becomes a much bigger part of the music. Drake fortunately knows how to work it to his advantage, so it's in good taste. Skipping over a piece, we arrive at Both Sides Match. This piece immediately reminds me of The Dark Knight score, a few cues within. It's short, but bold and very good. Mark Of Zorro/Time Has Come is one of the strangest pieces I think I've ever heard! It's got an assortment of strange, foreign sounds, and some big jumps in pace and volume. The tone consistently switches around, before settling within the final minute. 

The Dark Knight Returns is the piece at which everything comes together. It's full of booming, awesome action sets. Unfortunately, they're riddled with some dull synth here and there. It's a big mixed bag, to be honest. We also have some nice funky rhythms lying within, and they're pretty cool. The ending shows off the theme properly for the first time, for small period. The theme is given a bit longer to sit within These Men Are Mine, even if it's only for a short time. The rest of the piece is quite lackluster, boring and repetitive, so I wouldn't look at it again. Sightings is more orchestral based, if only a little more, as is The Signal. The Signal has a darker tone to it, that I really enjoyed. 

Harvey is one of the pieces that really sums up Christopher Drake's style, all in one. It has it's fair assortment of foreign sounds, it's loud and powerful brass, along with some pretty awesome, fast paced synth. There's some intense, key moments here towards the end, which really steal the show for me. For an action cue, it's on par with some of the best of the year. It's pretty much a 6:14 minute suite of brilliant music!  Drake turns down into some dark alleys for his next few pieces, most with I Believe You/Robin's Run, which is stacked with some heavy, powerful music for the first half of it's running time. It goes a little softer as it nears it's ending. 

Mutants... Surrender Now, Or Be Destroyed is the longest piece on the score, sitting at 7:42 minutes. It's got some really intoxicating, funky, awesome beats, which I'm sure I won't be able to get out of my head any time soon! The theme also makes a stand here, the first proper showcase, and it's absolutely glorious! One of the better Christopher Drake themes I've heard, in recent time! Carrie Kelly... Robin is one of the more touching pieces of the score. It's quiet to begin with, but it slowly builds to a nice finish, which I enjoy. Nearing the end of the score, the scale of the pieces, the atmosphere, is more grand and dark. It's nice to see, honestly. Mayor For Dinner, on the other hand, overloads on these points a little too much. It's repetitive, dull and uninteresting, unfortunately. 

I'm Counting On You Jim... One Last Time is a good all rounded piece. We have some pretty awesome percussion towards the beginning, and some well used synth, lying all round. It does drag on a little towards the end, to my dismay. Drake has been getting the longer pieces so right, that this is a bit of a disappointment. It's An Operating Table. And I'm The Surgeon is a big improvement to the last piece, with some catchier rhythms, and heavier percussion sets. It's pretty awesome! Our final piece, The Dark Knight Triumphant/End Titles has both some heart, and some real power woven in. It feels like another showcase suite, and I'm very ok with that! The whole score has delivered some fine moments, and a lot of them are revisited here. 

Conclusion:
This is certainly one of Drake's best scores in a while. Taking a lot of cues from Arkham Origins, he creates something expected, but still damn awesome! This is a mixed bag here. Some of the pieces are quite low in quality, and others really steal the show. It must be commented on how he can keep an audiences interest, even within a huge 7 minute piece. He's one of the best in the business at that, alongside Hans Zimmer and James Horner, both wonderful at creating long, yet complex and beautiful pieces. This score is certainly one I can see myself coming back to in the near future, which is obviously a good sign! Impressive by Drake, to say the least. 

Individual Piece Scores:
Gotham City, 1986-78
Slice And Dice/Never Again-70
Both Sides Match-92
Mark Of Zorro/Time Has Come-84
The Dark Knight Returns-75
These Men Are Mine-58
Sightings-86
The Signal-100
Harvey-100*
Liquor Store Shootout-54
I Believe You/Robin's Run-80
I'm Your Worst Nightmare-50
Eyes Slideways!-91
The General-70
Mutants... Surrender Now, Or Be Destroyed-100*
Carrie Kelly... Robin-95
You're Never Finished With Me-87
Robin's Legacy-80
Mayor For Dinner-54
I'm Counting On You Jim... One Last Time-73
It's An Operating Table. And I'm The Surgeon-100
The Dark Knight Triumphant/End Titles-100*

Junkie Score: 80.77

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