Composer: Hans Zimmer
I’m sure you all already know this man’s work. Gladiator, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, The Holiday, King Arthur, The Da Vinci Code… and many many more that might surprise you. Mr Zimmer has been making music for movies for ages. If you watch movies at all, you’ve probably seen a movie where the soundtrack was composed by him. His sound is epic: big drums, vivid violins, the use of electronic equipment when needed all add layers to the depth of his sound. I love the themes he chooses for each film, from the rollicking Sherlock Holmes theme, to the moving Inception theme, each is memorable because it evokes the essence of the film. I enjoy listening to soundtracks instead of rock and pop music from time to time. It is the “classical” music of our time, complicated to make us think and emotional to make us feel.
[warning: the rest of the post contains some spoilers. Mostly just where I talk about the ending of Inception, so don’t read that part if you haven’t seen it yet!]
Film: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Well. I love the new Sherlock Holmes films, so I’m strongly biased in my reviews of them! The first was fun. Cleverly done, and entertaining to the last. The exact same can be said about the second. I must confess that I have not seen any of Guy Ritchie’s other films, so I cannot comment on how this film compares to the others. But I appreciate various devices he uses throughout the film. I’m not normally a fan of slow motion, but love how it’s used here. In the first Sherlock film the slow motion break-down allowed the audience to appreciate the action scenes more. In the second, he takes it a step further: the fight is broken down, but then when the action is initiated in real-time, suddenly an external force interrupts, giving an unexpected twist to the fight. The audience had been expecting to follow blow-by-blow what had just been explained, but the fight is ended by a third-party knife to the chest! Also, I love the framing of the shots, the composure of the actors: the teacup isn’t just in her hand, it is held at the perfect angle to be framed against the colour of her dress.
The story is engaging, to say the least. My only critique would be that at times it felt like the cast was reading the script of a movie about fighting modern day terrorists in Afghanistan, not one set in Victorian Europe. But when all’s told, Moriarti was a sufficiently psychotic baddy, and the ending was downright excellent. Now, everybody go watch it!
I know, I know, I should have seen this ages ago. But now I finally have, so back off guys! In my opinion, it was pretty much what everyone said it was going to be. I really liked it, but I must say I did not love it.
- Perfect balance of explaining stuff and not explaining stuff. Science fiction can trap itself if it tries to explain “how things work” overly much. We don’t need to know how everything works for it to be a good movie.
- Dreams within dreams, stories within stories. This film was well thought out, well planned, well crafted.
- Pretty sweet special effects.
- Music by Hans Zimmer.
- Ellen Page.
- The ending. Sure, it left you thinking: was it a dream wasn’t it a dream? It was wonderfully ambiguous, and I loved that. But what it also left me thinking was: did the rest of the characters really not matter at all? With that ending, there is no follow-up to see how everyone fared, what their outcome was. Even if he was stuck in a dream, the rest were still on the plane. Or if that was a dream too, does that mean the whole film was really just about Leonardo DiCaprio? Hmph.
- Leonardo Dicaprio. Yeah he’s good looking, yeah he’s a good actor… But there’s something about his baby face and clear voice that did not quite suit the darkness of this role. I think any number of other “good actors” could have filled this spot to the same level of success.
Other than those little pet-peeves, I did like the film. A new classic, I’d say, like this decade’s Matrix, but better.
Any recommendations you’d like me to check out? Let me know!