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Topic: Gladiator theme reused?

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  1. #1

    Gladiator theme reused?

    Maybe I'm going crazy, but I'm pretty sure that the theme from Gladiator is being used in a lot of other movies...
    I could swear that I heard it in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
    I've also heard it other places, but I don't remember where.
    It could be possible since Hans Zimmer composed the score for both movies... and countless others.

    So, am I going crazy?

  2. #2

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    Recycling things in the movie industry is quite common. If you listen closely to Gladiator, for example, you'll hear Gustav Holst's Mars in most of the battle scenes. To produce an effect, composers will take a piece they know produces that effect and tweak it. In a sense, it's what all of us composers do, absorbing and reinterpreting the work and ideas that have been done before us. With the rediculously tight deadlines surrounding movie scoring (like, days) often times ideas have to be reused. This issue is obviously very sensitive when copyrighted music is involved.

    What you're hearing involving themes that overlap is probably correct. To my knowledge, Hans Zimmer is the director of a company called Remote Control (formerly Media Ventures) and he has about a dozen composers working under him to score multi-million dollar budget movies. (Klaus Badelt is one of them--the original Pirates was credited to him; Zimmer was credited as having "Overproduced" the score. Badelt's name is missing from Pirates 2 even though the themes are, presumably, his....) Themes with slight variants are very common: composers have certain chords/motifs/orchestrations they like and are working under short deadlines. I bet "Remote Control" staff members will lend a hand to each other's films when it comes to crunch time: thus, over time there is an agreed-upon style of movie writing. (Just the other day I heard someone had tried to achieve a "Media Ventures-type Sound").

    I saw Pirates 2 and recognized the score as almost identical to the first (especially in the credits!) Personally, continuity in sequels in the music is very important. If had scored a movie but were unable to score the sequel due to previous commitments (likely the case with Badelt), in the interest of the film, I would definately consider allowing the guy the production company got to use my themes, with a few conditions, of course.

  3. #3

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    I noticed the similarity in the themes too, in the first Pirates of the Carribean. I haven't seen Pirates 2, but from the soundtrack it sounds like a variation from the theme from the first movie, which of course sounds very similar to Gladiator. Although Hans Zimmer did not get top credit for the score for Pirates 1, I'm quite sure he wrote some of the themes, most likely the one that sounds like Gladiator. He is mentioned on the director commentary on the Pirates 1 DVD and he does appear somewhere in the credits. Of course Klaus Badelt didn't do all the work...

    I found this website a while ago that lists even more musical connections between Mr. Zimmer's scores, though it may be a bit too old to mention Pirates: http://www.lionking.org/~zimmer/connections.html
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  4. #4
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    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    I could hear some the music Hans Zimmer wrote for The Ring reused in The Da Vinci Code.

  5. #5

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    The problem lies also with the inherent primitive-ness and simplicity of the music coming from Mr. Zimmer and his henchmen. You can do only so much variations of the same 4-bar segments that mostly end on V7-I.... Since most of these composer don't even have classical training (and you'd think they could afford a few lessons from time to time with all the money they earn) they usually have huge problems coming up with variations at all.

    You might also notice that even though the melodies change, you can hear nearly exactely the SAME simple syncopated rythm in 99% of all Mediaventures scores once there is some action on screen.

    In order to avoid the upcoming flamewar I shall mention the IMHO last great example of Mr. Zimmers scoring: "The Peacemaker". This score had it all: Drama, emotion AND quite a few musically interesting passages. He also did some nice variations on his themes and generally worked with the material. I still enjoy listening to that score!

    Unfortunately due to the changes in the production process there nowadays is no time for that. It is mostly "CTRL-C ... CTRL-V"-composing.
    Greetings from Vienna!
    Peter
    My website: Above the staff.net

  6. #6

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    Quote Originally Posted by musicpete
    The problem lies also with the inherent primitive-ness and simplicity of the music coming from Mr. Zimmer and his henchmen. You can do only so much variations of the same 4-bar segments that mostly end on V7-I.... Since most of these composer don't even have classical training (and you'd think they could afford a few lessons from time to time with all the money they earn) they usually have huge problems coming up with variations at all.

    You might also notice that even though the melodies change, you can hear nearly exactely the SAME simple syncopated rythm in 99% of all Mediaventures scores once there is some action on screen.

    In order to avoid the upcoming flamewar I shall mention the IMHO last great example of Mr. Zimmers scoring: "The Peacemaker". This score had it all: Drama, emotion AND quite a few musically interesting passages. He also did some nice variations on his themes and generally worked with the material. I still enjoy listening to that score!

    Unfortunately due to the changes in the production process there nowadays is no time for that. It is mostly "CTRL-C ... CTRL-V"-composing.
    You wrote in a far more understated way than i felt like doing.
    Suffice to say, all of this smacks of the inability to develop new ideas, instead reducing the potential impact of a film to one of a conveyor belt.
    And no doubt the 'accolytes' will don their amulets and togas and come out steaming with flame war helmets in place, proclaiming this is wonderful, or that is completely different to the other, or the usual excuses for what is simplistic, naive, orchestration and a mercenary approach to film scoring. And some will say, that's business.
    It is, and a very poor reflection of what used to be a high standard in film scoring 'business', i.e. most of the work from Hermann or Rozca.

    At least they could actually write music.


  7. #7

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    Quote Originally Posted by keldf
    So, am I going crazy?
    LOL - someone should put together a double-blind test using snippets of music from "Days of Thunder", "The Rock", "Crimson Tide", "Broken Arrow", "Pearl Harbor", "Blackhawk Down", "Gladiator", and the "Pirates" movies to see if anyone can tell them apart... I'd imagine that, if the right excerpts are used, that even the most die-hard fan would not be able to pick one from another.

    I bet that Hans wouldn't be able to distinguish them.

    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  8. #8

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    Regardless of the amount of time they have for putting a score together, after 20 years you think these guys would have composed some new material in their off time which they could later integrate into a score where they only have a few weeks to slap it together. The reality is that Hans Zimmer and his crew have become an assembly line mechanism to crank out music that sounds pretty good, works well enough, does it for a decent budget, puts Hans Zimmer's name on the score and makes high profit margin for Hans also. Most movie goers won't have a problem with it. Sad but true. But they are doing a lot of damage to the film scoring community by putting out such garbage when they have the power and talent to do better than that.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  9. #9

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitage59
    You wrote in a far more understated way than i felt like doing.
    Well, I am trying to avoid yet another holy flamewar... There is absolutely no point in those.

    I agree with you guys. Never understood why someone that earns thousand (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars on a project can't afford a few lessons from any music teacher he desires. If I could afford it and had the time, I certainly would do it.

    On the other hand, there ARE some examples of composers that kept improving. For example Mr. Elfman and Mr. Newton Howard. Both came from a pop background and their first scores showed extreme lack of techqniue. Both kept improving ever since. I swear they took some lessons. And it shows! Compare "Batman" with "Sleepy Hollow" or "Flatliners" with "Sixth sense" or "Signs". Amazing, how far a little education can go in improving a talented composer's music.
    Greetings from Vienna!
    Peter
    My website: Above the staff.net

  10. #10

    Re: Gladiator theme reused?

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    LOL - someone should put together a double-blind test using snippets of music from "Days of Thunder", "The Rock", "Crimson Tide", "Broken Arrow", "Pearl Harbor", "Blackhawk Down", "Gladiator", and the "Pirates" movies to see if anyone can tell them apart... I'd imagine that, if the right excerpts are used, that even the most die-hard fan would not be able to pick one from another.

    I bet that Hans wouldn't be able to distinguish them.

    LOL... gosh, I'm glad somebody brought this up. I thought
    it was confusion on my part. Naturally, I tend to pay a
    good deal of attention to the scores of movies (often moreso
    than the movies themselves). And I was really beginning to
    wonder if my musical memory was going south.

    Considering movies are one of the few really wide-audience
    opportunities for creativity for composers, it's rather sad
    they choose, instead, to resort to what amounts to musical
    wallpaper.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

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