Inception – Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer has written many outstanding film scores in his career, but in my opinion, Inception is his finest: a vivid, imaginative, and throughly entrancing musical soundscape that is every bit as brilliant as the movie it accompanies. Even more amazing is the fact that Zimmer crafted the entire thing without seeing one single frame of the film. He just read the script.
– Dream Is Collapsing
The Bourne Supremacy – John Powell
One of the best soundtracks the espionage genre has ever produced. Marked by Powell’s signature fusion of electronics and traditional orchestra, this one has it all: intelligence, emotion, creativity, and adrenaline-soaked action. It’s awesomeness in MP3 format.
– Bim Bam Smash
Gladiator – Hans Zimmer
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius…” *cough* Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s only one of the greatest movie lines ever – but I digress. Not only does this score create an enduring backdrop for director Ridley Scott’s Roman epic, it also lends itself extremely well to independent listening. From its glorious battle music to its more poignant moments, this one is a winner all the way.
– The Battle
– Honor Him
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Complete Recordings) – Howard Shore
I’ve had this score for over four years now, and I’ve never yet grown tired of it. Middle-Earth is actually in the music – you can hear it, you can feel it, you can even see it with your mind’s eye. That’s what I call evocative. And rich. And magnificent. That’s what I call a must-have for Tolkien enthusiasts and soundtrack aficianados alike.
– The Battle of Pelenor Fields
– The Eagles
How To Train Your Dragon – John Powell
How do I love this score? Let me count the ways: 1) for its memorable themes, 2) for its beauty and energetic fun, and 3) for the fact that John Powell composed it. It also has a Cletic flair to it, and for me, that’s always a plus.
– This Is Berk
– Forbidden Friendship
The Dark Knight – Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard
Elfman’s gothic grandeur worked well for Tim Burton, but it’s not exactly suited to Christopher Nolan’s gritty re-imagining of the Caped Crusader. Enter Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, two of the finest composers working today. Their score is grim, complex, and forceful, just like the film. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but I’ll be the first to call it bona fide brilliance.
– Harvey Two-Face
– Like a Dog Chasing Cars
Sherlock Holmes/Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Hans Zimmer
I’m including these together as one, since they compliment each other flawlessly. They’re inventive, mysterious, exciting; heck, they’re even comedic, at times (which shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve seen the films). But best of all, they’ve retained their freshness with each listen – and that, my friends, is the mark of great music.
I Am Legend – James Newton Howard
This one packs a bigger punch if you’ve seen the (equally excellent) film, but even non-viewers can appreciate it. Howard captures the tragedy and danger of the movie’s desolated post-apocalyptic world, imbuing the music with a sense of grief and longing and peril. Yet there’s also a determined tone to it – one which beautifully reflects the main character’s unwillingness to give up, even when everything around him is falling apart.
– My Name is Robert Neville
– Darkseeker Dogs
The Last of the Mohicans – Trevor Jones/Randy Edelman
“Epic” is a sorely overused word these days, especially when it comes to things which are (in all honesty) less than epic. Fortunately, the use of that description is completely warranted for this soundtrack. Actually, it’s somewhat of an understatement, but still…
– Main Title
– Fort Battle
Saving Private Ryan – John Williams
The score for Steven Spielberg’s WWII film is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, the magnum opus of John Williams’ entire musical career: it is truly nothing short of a masterpiece. Interestingly enough, rather than mirror the onscreen carnage, Williams opts for a more restrained approach. A wise choice – the result is one of the most haunting, reflective, and heroic scores you’re ever likely to hear.
– Hymn to the Fallen
– Approaching the Enemy
I know, I know – I’m a geek (even though I’m pretty sure I’m not alone). If you’re a geek, too, share your thoughts down in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions!