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Batman

Track List:
  1. The Batman Theme
  2. Roof Fight
  3. First Confrontation
  4. Kitchen, Surgery, Face-off
  5. Flowers
  6. Clown Attack
  7. Batman to the Rescue
  8. Roasted Dude
  9. Photos/Beautiful Dreamer
  10. Descent Into Mystery
  11. The Bat Cave
  12. The Joker's Poem
  13. Childhood Remembered
  14. Love Theme
  15. Charge of the Batmobile
  16. Attack of the Batwing
  17. Up the Cathedral
  18. Waltz to the Death
  19. The Final Confrontation
  20. Finale
  21. Batman Theme Reprise

Total Time: (54:45)

Composition: Danny Elfman

Orchestration: Steve Bartek

Conductor: Shirley Walker

Performance: Sinfonia of London

Many people will not agree with me and they don't have to, but I've never really been impressed with Danny Elfman as a composer. I'm not exactly sure why, but his style has never done much to excite me. He has had a few scores that I have enjoyed a lot, but nothing that truly speaks to me personally, save this particular score of course. In fact, this particular score is one of my very favorites. Full of gothic adventure and drama, not to mention some great action pieces. Batman, though, for all of it's glory is tied together by a *fabulous* main theme, which Elfman has admitted to thinking up on an airplane, where he went into the bathroom to hum his melody into his tape recorder. From it's apparently humble beginnings, the theme has become one of the most famous in the world since it's origin in 1989. But the score's greatness is not limited just to the main theme. Other themes and tracks contained on the CD make for fascinating listening, particularly the demented waltzes written for Jack Nicholson's character, the Joker.

Batman is, for the most part, a dark comedy, quite typical of Tim Burton movies and what is generally typical of Elfman's composition. The score functions well as an almost grotesquely silly backdrop to the film. It is not purely wonderful, Elfman would have done better to write his own love theme for the film rather than use the melody from Prince's "Scandalous" from the useless song compilation, though Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer" works very well as a darkly comedic love theme for the Joker, and Elfman makes keen utilization of it.

Each track functions quite well for all intents and purposes, though a few such as "Childhood Remembered" and "Roasted Dude" don't have quite the same effect on CD as they do in the film. Many people have been obliged to claim "Descent into Mystery" as their favorite track, and I must admit that that goes for me to. This incredibly rousing variation on the main theme is inspired by Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana and is probably the best single track that Elfman has ever composed, though "The Grand Finale" from Edward Scissorhands comes pretty close.

Batman is a fine example of film scoring, and I believe that just about any fan of film music will like it, even if that fan doesn't care much for Elfman's music like me. This was an introduction into film music for a lot of people and it spawned a sequel score that has had many mixed opinions. I have not heard the sequel score though, and therefore cannon make any judgements on it at this time. Fans of Elfman, the Batman character, or film music in general had best pick up this album right away.


Batman is copyright 1989 Warner Bros. Records. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.