I kinda feel like one could make this argument for most composers. Not every film score can be a winner, but when they are… *chefs kiss* Especially when you’re someone like Hans Zimmer. He’s done so many movies, it’s hard to make each one a hit. But when he does, it’s amazing. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Lion King… all bangers.


1. Zimmer was pop musician first (watch him [here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8r-tXRLazs) at 2:50), soundtrack composer later. 2. Zimmer mastered the craft of "manufacturing" soundtracks. Everyone wants the "Zimmer sound", quickly and cheaply, and almost no one cares that most of his soundtracks are very similar and not even composed by him personally. Everyone gets what they want and everyone is happy (except the soundtrack collectors). I enjoy occassional Zimmer track but I consider comparing him e.g. to John Williams to be a travesty.


I don’t really agree with either side. Some of his work is very good, and some of it is underwhelming. I don’t think he’s the overrated hack some people claim he is, and I don’t think he’s the greatest film composer either. But he usually does a fine job. I will say that the music to [*Sherlock Holmes*](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3wcLh2EfnQ) is quite excellent, and one of the main reasons I first wanted to write music for film. On the other hand, I just rewatched *Hannibal*, and while there is some good string music in a few places, most of it is rather lackluster — particularly the [opening theme](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ncjf3jHQq8), which sounds like the work of a student. In his defense, however, sometimes the director asks for something really minimalist and simple, in which case he delivered.


I think this is the fairest way to look at it. He's had some brilliant scores, but there are also a ton of fine-at-best ones, and he retreads ground often. I think his skill is overstated, but I can respect that he has made some scores I do enjoy, even if the majority of his work I don't think is very great.


Yeah, of course I like him but he's definitely overrated and his fanboys acting like even the simplest ambient filler tracks he puts out are the most innovative thing they've ever heard are sooo annoying.


Honestly if you would have played me a track from Dune and said it was a demo song for one of those hybrid trailer sample libraries I would've totally believed you. The score isn't bad, but it's not as innovative as everyone says. Mixing middle eastern instruments with hybrid/sound design elements for a movie like Dune would have been the first thing almost any composer came up with.


Yeah, I really like that score but it's... pretty much exactly the sort of sound I was expecting, which doesn't exactly scream 'innovation'. And the main theme is a slightly-tweaked version of his mermaids theme from POTC 4.


Totally agree


I don’t care what he writes because Interstellar and Dune are some of the best shit I’ve ever heard.


The Dune score is incredible. I love this sort of tribal drum gimmick that’s going on again and again throughout the movie.


It definitely deserved the Oscar


I don’t think it’s that an unpopular of an opinion really. It was fashionable for a while (perhaps it still is) to trash on Hans Zimmer, his team-compositional approach, his documented toxicity, and the effect his style had on the industry. It still doesn’t stop me from stacking my personal music library full of his scores (and plenty of others) and enjoying listening to them.


>his documented toxicity Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest so I'm not questioning it (I get a bad vibe from him from interviews) but what does this refer to specifically?


Off the top of my head — [the time he mocked a fan on his FB group for looking for free samples](https://twitter.com/nadiaudio/status/1353021817104048128) (not pirated samples, mind you — just good quality free samples) and when [his fans bullied James Southall offline for a time.](https://www.reddit.com/r/soundtracks/comments/m02cyq/james_southall_of_moviewavenet_one_of_the_finest/)


I don't think he deserves hate, just that he isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread. I didn't know about the toxicity part though.


When the man is on fire, he is ON FIRE. Interstellar, Dune., Sherlock Holmes, Gladiator, Inception, Dunkirk, The Dark Knight...his list of solid gold bangers is longer than my arm. Hell, even Dark Phoenix is a bloody good album and far better than that movie deserved! But then there's the other stuff that barely sounds anything like him and is painfully forgettable. He really does run hot and cold as a composer. But when he's on it? He's one of the best around.


Now I’m wondering which of his scores you would call the forgettable ones, because honestly if I were to rank them all *Dark Phoenix* (and if I’m feeling harsh *Dunkirk*) would end up in my lower 10% as well.


Yeah, I listened to a few tracks from Dark Phoenix and I liked the first one I listened to but the others all sounded exactly the same. And Dunkirk is better but I haven't looked it up to re-listen in years and I doubt I'll ever bother downloading it unless the complete score leaks. Man of Steel and BvS are pretty overrated too, although definitely more enjoyable. IMO some of his best ones are the ones no one talks about, like Rush and The Lone Ranger. (But nothing will beat his magnum opus, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.)


But they're all so ambient, boring, and Philip Glass-like


Check out the drummer session on the Man Of Steel soundtrack--he for some reason assembled an A-list group of 10-12 set drummers to record a pretty simple tribal drum groove. It was cool seeing all those guys playing together in one room, but there was absolutely no reason for it. I can't imagine how much money was wasted on that session.


I would have disagreed with you in 2010, but with dumpster fires like Dunkirk, Blade Runner and Dune, Hans is getting pretty close to that 70% percent ratio. Still, the Pirates scores, Gladiator and King Arthur are all fire, and he’s done some overall great stuff.


He recycles some of his themes often. All composers do. But most of his scores work well with the movies. Black Rain, Lion King, Interstellar are a few good examples.


I find his writing frustrating. When he attempts a full orchestra he writes as if he’s writing for a band. There’s piano, synth, bass, guitar, singer, drums. Just translate that to orchestra and you have Zimmer writing. There’s way more to orchestral writing than just scaling it up. His music sounds hollow. It’s missing something. You can hear that he’s a keyboard composer laying down tracks. I think his music recording method (digital sequencers and MOTU digital performer) has poisoned his intellectual writing ability.


It's just simple writing. There's no complexity to his compositions, which works well in the atmospheric, ambient texture-based music he's famous for. But when he's asked to write anything more traditional, he's out of his element and it shows.


I agree his orchestral writing isn’t great. I don’t understand the praise for the Lion King score, for example. And I think he understands that. Some of his quotes about the Dune score where he’s like “you shouldn’t hear familiar instruments in sci-fi” sort of feel like jabs at Williams, but I think it’s more that he’s acknowledging his weaknesses. When an orchestra is done poorly, it sounds unnatural and phony. When Williams does it, you don’t hear individual instruments; it’s just pure nondiegetic emotion. But when Zimmer doesn’t write for full orchestra he shines. E.g. Dune and Interstellar.


One thing to note is he teams up with a different composers on alot of films. The othe composers are listed as a composer or in the music department so I am unsure how much is him. Are they just choir? Some specific task? For example Gladiator is Lisa Gerrad.


I was thinking the same thing. When you listen to one of his scores, you don't even know if he did at least something or everything was created by the other composers that usually are barely even credited.


We also have to understand that Zimmer also uses ghost writers on some of his work. It's a very normal practice on Hollywood but to my understanding, he popularized it (meaning, he will write the main theme/motif or movements, and have someone else develop in between for him). If this practice is right or wrong, that's up for debate.


I’ve heard from an industry insider that Hans uses a lot of, let’s say, (musical) assistants.


To be fair to the man, he was one of the first in Hollywood to openly admit to using additional composers, and who credited them as such. Almost all of them do it, especially these days. You just hear more about Hans because he doesn't hide the fact. (He could definitely be more transparent than he is, but there are others who are much less so.)


I didn’t know that he was transparent about it. Thanks for sharing that!


I mean...transparent-*ish*. As in, they'd be in the credits of the movie under "additional music by", and sometimes they even get cuesheet credit with ASCAP or BMI so that they get paid royalties for the cues they worked on. But he wouldn't exactly be name-dropping them during interviews. It's still a lot more than assistants got in the past (and, unfortunately all too often still, the present).


90% agreed. Recently people like his terrible scores, that are just tones and arpeggios, I don't get it. One person here in the sub compared him to maestro John Williams!! Zimmer is far far away from Williams, is like comparing a witch doctor to an actual MD!!(reminder that Zimmer uses orchestrators and arrangers, like Danny Elfman and some others, Williams and others even more educated composers do their own orchestration and arrangements, that's why those competitive usually sound better) And just like Williams and many others, his best work already happened: Driving Ms Daisy, Lion King, Prince of Egypt, and even The Holiday has more personality and good composition than the awful Interestellar score.


To be fair, I think most of the actually interesting work on Prince of Egypt was done by Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the songs. Same goes for Lion King with Elton John. Zimmer is a fantastic producer, which is why those two soundtracks sound so bombastic. With somebody more talented than him to write the melodies, his soundtracks sound *fire*.


Maybe Prince of Egypt where he reuses Schwartz tunes all around, but Lion King it does have at least nice tracks very distinct from Elton John's job, that set the tone, emotion, environment, etc: 1. [This Land](https://youtu.be/U0HSGkCa_Fo) 2. [To Die For](https://youtu.be/ZCO8l2CaZaA) And personally I don't like his production style either, the equalization is usually too bright for my taste, and even on orchestrated tracks like the ones above and Batman, he likes to turn it up for the sampled instruments. Here's how probably James Newton Howard envisioned the [Dark Knight](https://youtu.be/UQhN_Kxs3x4) score, and they probably hired Zimmer to bring the "epic" BS. Same for Gladiator, Goldsmith's version, even though he also loves samples and synths, his OST was more complex than Zimmer's, but lacked of a main tune and dark tones of Zimmer.


In my opinion most of his soundtracks are quite boring and bland. When compared to composers such as Goldsmith, Poledouris, Williams, and many others, he just doesn't measure up. Want to hear a horrible Zimmer soundtrack? Listen to Mission Impossible 2. But, beyond his horrible creations are the ones that have been recognized as exceptional works, and I really don't care for most of them either. It's nice to have variety in music styles, just as with flavors and food. So, if a person feels joy from listening to a Zimmer score, who am I to rain on their parade? Some people like flavorless and others like extra spicy.


That's 100% true, music is art and highly subjective, the best music is the one you like. My favorite worst is the latest Bond, such a disappointment. BUT for the same reason don't glorify, compare or say that one is better than other, and that's what I usually see from Zimmer fans.


He proudly proclaims he wasn't a very good musician when younger, and didn't work very hard. Honestly, it shows. If you compare it to the craft of the John Williams generation let alone Herrmann, Steiner and so on, it's demonstrably poor. His bastardising of Elgar for the climax of Dunkirk is one of the stupidest, most philistine things I've ever heard in a cinema. Of course nobody even noticed because nobody gives a shit about classical music any more, but Williams (and Spielberg for that matter) sure do, and their films are better for it.


He's done more harm than good. He has dumbed down film music and accelerated that bland, generic "epic" score sound that's everywhere now.


I hated that fad of the "epic" synthetized brass tones in the 2010s, is awful, and yes Zimmer contributed to it. Even worse the pop songs with that style, like the Greatest Showman, and others.


It's true--compare his style to that of Williams, Elfman, Giacchino, and it's obvious that his is easier to emulate and support a scene that way, so many people have done that.


But his greatest works overshadows anything bad he has made ,even anything others made. Interstellar is a stellar piece of art and imo some of the greatest tracks are in this album. TDK,tdkr,inception,dune etc are good as well. His best is the best of all time. And I don't think you keep making similar good music everyday. After all creating a completely new but equally good music is like discovering some scientific fact.


His more melodic stuff is the reason why he's my favorite film composer but he's more atmospheric/texture based/chord based stuff isn't bad either and is the reason why he's so iconic


I think his score for The Lion King is great. But he seems to be in the same camp as Michael Giaccino, in that you'll hear one or two scores by him and think, "This man's a musical genius!" And then you start noticing that every generic soundtrack to a blockbuster has his name attached. Kinda like how you can hear The Incredibles and Ratatouille and think Giaccino can do no wrong, and then see him attached to something like an MCU film or something and be like, "Really?"


Unpopular opinion: Hans Zimmer is an amazing composer and has written some amazing and beautiful music.




Ww1984 is one of the best superhero soundtracks of the modern era. He says he used Beautiful Lie cause he wrote it for that universe, anyhow. And I have no idea what you mean about using a Batman theme for WW. Do you have some comparison videos? I mean, MG definitely crips from his own movies pretty egregiously, too, like Star Trek and Dr. Strange.