COMPOSED BY: Hans Zimmer
CD Tracks: 16
Digital Edition Tracks: 24
CD LTD Edition Tracks: 29
May Contain Spoilers!
Anyone who knows me knows that I am an unapologetic Hans Zimmer fan. I’ve been so since I first heard the Backdraft score back in 1991 and this relationship was sealed with Crimson Tide in 1995. I have written and open letter and posted it here as well as complained to the BBC for his omission in a top ten soundtrack rundown a few years ago.
So, last November, Zimmer’s score for Interstellar was released. It was pre-ordered long before hand but I saw the film projected on IMAX before I sat down and listened to the CD. The IMAX mix at my cinema was poor, with the deep base, which I believe to be a correlation with the black hole “interference”, shall we say, was unbearable. I have since heard others make the same complains from around the world so it was clearly and error by Nolan, who is also one of my favorite directors by the way, and not necessarily my local Odeon for a change.
I am puzzled as to why this score has been so widely acclaimed and it does pain me to say this. I like the ideas behind it. The father/daughter melody is touching, the organ imply’s the vastness of space and the greater depth of the universe but it is also jarring. The track “STAY” in which Matthew McConaughey is abandoning his daughter, and my unhappiness with this plot machination might be a small factor here, begins well, with the deep base which works well to evoke the temporal “interference”, whilst not interfering with core melody or tone, the emotional scene in which a young girl is losing her father. But it devolves into chaos and without any really order. I would classify this a noise.
The use of the tick, tock motif in the track “Mountains” to symbolise the time displacement is very good, as are the tracks involving the disintegrating of the mission, but overall, it seems to me that Hans Zimmer has pushed the envelope too far and has lost all discipline in the process. This might as well be a jamming session with a church organ dominating the mix. Zimmer has been re-designing and re-defining music for over 20 years and never was there a better example of this than in 2008’s The Dark Knight with the one note Joker themes or 2010’s Inception with the deep base tones of the slowed down Édith Piaf classic, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, to represent time. Both of which were also Christopher Nolan projects.
Interstellar is a flawed film and its soundtrack equally so. Don’t get me wrong, neither are bad and are in fact both good with many laudable attributes but at the same time both suffer by pursuing the goal of re-definition too far and lose focus on the way. Maybe it is just me. Points for effort but I am personally disappointed by two of my favorite artists, Zimmer and Nolan. But they can’t get it right all the time and I certainly hope that they both continue to push that envelope and explore their respective crafts.