Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows Soundtrack Review

Hans Zimmer has been one of Hollywood’s most prolific film scorers for the last 20 years, but it has been in the last 5 that he has taken a huge bite out of the Hollywood output. In recent years he has provided us with music to such huge hitters as The Pirates of the Caribbean movies; Transformers; Chris Nolan’s Batman Franchise and also here with Sherlock Holmes.

But while he has built on themes and introduced new ones in franchises such as the batman films, he has also retreaded old material to an almost lazy extent with others. Whether this is due to time constraints (Which considering how many projects he works on in a given year is possible) or just down to artistic merits is up for debate. Here he has the chance to prove that while he returns to familiar themes from the first (Award nominated) film’s score, he can also introduce new thematic as well as emotional cues.

The opening track itself is a much darker return to the first films opening – it isn’t as joyfully energetic. It is much more dark and with a sinister, lurking edge to it. Clearly this paves the way for all things “Moriarty” to come.

Some of the new music here is clearly to back up some of the more tense on screen antics. With spiralling chords and high and low orchestral waves that rise and fall through out (see “Tick Tock”) it is clear that Zimmer is fully intent on delivering something a little more serious and less playful this time round. But of course being a franchise that is also heavily known for its comedic element, you can also expect more cheery music such as in “It’s so overt, it’s covert”.

The Slovakian influence is still heavily prominent throughout. The more light hearted music comes off like Benny Hill meets the Gogol Bordello. And then there is always room for a bit of opera as well!

Zimmer has become quite adept at using music as physical language. When something goes up so does the music, when something goes down; it plays along with the movement. It’s a key practice to have your music match the emotional and physical impact of anything onscreen whether we are meant to notice it or barely register it is there and Zimmer is working at the height of that practice.

Steven Hurst

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