NO TIME TO DIE (2021) - Discuss Hans Zimmer's Score

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  • edited March 23 Posts: 197
    Interesting thing, that unreleased Track from the recording session is at the ending (starts at 0:25) of the Podcast Bonus Video



  • edited May 9 Posts: 6,667
    I’ve been listening to Zimmer and Mazzaro’s score apart from the film for the first time lately and have some thoughts.

    In a broad way of speaking, it’s not inaccurate to say this score combines the musical voices of both Arnold and Newman in Bond mode with Zimmer’s usual sound. The gun barrel is very Newmanesque, and the music that plays over the intro to Matera (I believe) sounds just like Arnold’s luscious landscape composing. Disappointingly, there are a couple areas where Zimmer and Mazzaro quote themes from the Dark Knight films—not music in the style of (which I would be fine with) but the actual themes themselves, which just feels lazy, though I know Zimmer has reused and repurposed his own themes with minor changes throughout his career. Bane’s theme from The Dark Knight Rises surfaces during the Norway chase, though it does eventually evolve into something more Bondian and more interesting. Then you hear the heroic theme from Batman Begins' “Molossus” during the climax on the island. Again, Batman-esque music would have been fine, but to drop the themes themselves into a Bond score, well, it’s disappointing.

    There are some real highlights, however. I love the haunting instrumental takes of Eilish’s “No Time to Die,” especially with her wordless vocals used on the track. “Cuba Chase” is a true action highlight. The aggressive, growling take on the James Bond theme that pops up throughout the score is fantastic, though it does seem it would have been better for a harder edged version of Craig’s Bond, perhaps the one seen in QOS. Still, musically, it’s a great idea. The Cuban flourishes in this track make it all a lot of fun too. Also, apart from the film, the music that plays over you know what is actually really emotionally stirring, though it doesn't remotely bring to mind anything you’d expect to hear in a Bond film. To be fair, the music accompanies something you'd never expect to see in a Bond film.

    The use of music from OHMSS, both “We Have All the Time in the World” and the “Main Theme,” regrettably are truly out of place. They have no thematic resonance in this story, and reusing themes from another unrelated Bond film, except perhaps as a very brief gag, is never a good idea, even if there is a thematic connection. The producers first wanted to do this on Die Another Day when they wanted to use the theme from You Only Live Twice over the finale with James and Jinx and the diamonds. David Arnold, bless his soul, talked them down from that ledge, saying he would write them YOLT-esque music for the scene without lifting the theme itself. Alas, there was no Arnold this time around to talk them out of pilfering the gems from Barry’s OHMSS for hackneyed nostalgia. The slow notes of OHMSS that play behind Bond and M talking beside the Thames is an especially confusing moment. I have no idea why this particular scene is deserving of musical nostalgia or what the rationale was here. But I’ll stop there since I think I’ve more than belabored the point.

    All things considered, while I would have preferred to have Arnold back, this is not a bad Bond score. I know Zimmer was pressed for time with his commitments to Dune and you need only listen to his truly terrific recent score for Wonder Woman 1984 to realize this is far below his talents. But it does the job. I'd be interested to hear what Zimmer would do with Bond with the proper amount of time. But I'd just as soon welcome back Arnold or hear from a new voice.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,216
    That's a great analysis, @Some_Kind_Of_Hero. I really enjoyed reading it. I especially relate to your thoughts on the use of themes from OHMSS. 'Matera' I still quite like, and I remember feeling elated the first time I heard it. That feeling has since dissipated a little, though. That scene between Bond and M on the bridge, however, I fully agree with you on - it makes little sense.

    The biggest problem with this approach of quoting music, dialogue and/or specific moments will always be that you have to absolutely nail everything or you risk making audiences wish they were watching the film you are taking those things from.

    I quite like NTTD but when I hear the music from OHMSS, my thoughts are always "I wish I was watching OHMSS."
  • mattjoesmattjoes Mitchell
    edited May 9 Posts: 5,754
    The gun barrel is very Newmanesque
    Yeah, they just reused the musical template from the previous film. It works well and I like the addition of the guitar. On the other hand, I long for a fresh sound. Something really distinctive, like LALD, MR or LTK. The latest gunbarrels have had a very "classic" sound. Time for a change.

    and the music that plays over the intro to Matera (I believe) sounds just like Arnold’s luscious landscape composing.
    That's a really beautiful segment.

    Disappointingly, there are a couple areas where Zimmer and Mazzaro quote themes from the Dark Knight films—not music in the style of (which I would be fine with) but the actual themes themselves, which just feels lazy, though I know Zimmer has reused and repurposed his own themes with minor changes throughout his career. Bane’s theme from The Dark Knight Rises surfaces during the Norway chase, though it does eventually evolve into something more Bondian and more interesting. Then you hear the heroic theme from Batman Begins' “Molossus” during the climax on the island. Again, Batman-esque music would have been fine, but to drop the themes themselves into a Bond score, well, it’s disappointing.
    I don't have anything specific to say here, except that it's interesting to think of this repurposing of themes in the context of the fact Zimmer works with a team of composers who provide him with musical material. (And not just him, going by this article). So when we think of "music by Hans Zimmer", it's more like "music by Hans Zimmer Studios."

    This wasn't as prevalent in previous times, it seems. Incidentally, John Barry did use a secondary composer on a couple of occasions. Peter Buffett composed some terrific electronic music for Dances with Wolves and The Scarlet Letter, and I think he went uncredited.

    There are some real highlights, however. I love the haunting instrumental takes of Eilish’s “No Time to Die,” especially with her wordless vocals used on the track.
    I do prefer the voiceless version of the track Home, as heard in the film. But it's very pleasant to hear how the song was integrated into the score to a substantial degree.

    Zimmer and female vocals go way back. I recall Gladiator, and this track from MI2, one of my favorites from him.

    “Cuba Chase” is a true action highlight. The aggressive, growling take on the James Bond theme that pops up throughout the score is fantastic, though it does seem it would have been better for a harder edged version of Craig’s Bond, perhaps the one seen in QOS. Still, musically, it’s a great idea. The Cuban flourishes in this track make it all a lot of fun too.
    This is one the best tracks in the soundtrack album. I love this. Later on, the combination of horns, trumpets and guitar is perfect. Very flamboyant.

    Off the top of my head I don't recall hearing such a high trumpet note as this one, or perhaps not so clearly as here. The range of the instrument can't be much higher than that.

    In recent concerts, Zimmer has been playing a suite that includes plenty of music from Cuba Chase. He moves that music down a semitone, though, presumably to fit with the key of the Bond theme intro. I now tend to listen to Cuba Chase the same way. I just play it a semitone lower than recorded. It sounds very cool. I wonder how common is for people to do such playback adjustments.

    The use of music from OHMSS, both “We Have All the Time in the World” and the “Main Theme,” regrettably are truly out of place. They have no thematic resonance in this story
    I think there is thematic resonance for "We Have All the Time", in the sense that the story of NTTD deals with similar things to OHMSS, namely Bond's work interfering with his relationship with a woman he was prepared to leave the secret service for. Of course, this was also the subject of CR. Not so much QoS, Sf or Sp.

    I agree about the OHMSS main theme. I don't find there is a strong thematic justification for its reuse. But I think it's meant to be more of an easter egg than "We Have All the Time", which is played very prominently.

    and reusing themes from another unrelated Bond film, except perhaps as a very brief gag, is never a good idea, even if there is a thematic connection.
    Agreed. It just gets the cables crossed. That song is from one film, and it's now getting contaminated with another film. Even if there is thematic resonance, it's not worth it. I don't care about thinking of OHMSS while watching NTTD, and vice versa. Takes me out of the film I'm watching, especially considering we're talking about different narrative continuities.

    At least the quotation of the OHMSS main theme is subtle enough, though the risk remains of these films getting into a bad habit of unnecessary musical references, that could make future films feel less fresh and distinctive.

    The producers first wanted to do this on Die Another Day when they wanted to use the theme from You Only Live Twice over the finale with James and Jinx and the diamonds. David Arnold, bless his soul, talked them down from that ledge, saying he would write them YOLT-esque music for the scene without lifting the theme itself.
    I had no idea about this. Was it mentioned in an interview, audio commentary...? Anyway, it was the right decision not to reuse the theme. And it made room for another lovely piece, a piece composed in the style of YOLT, but not mere repetition.
  • Posts: 6,667
    That's a great analysis, @Some_Kind_Of_Hero. I really enjoyed reading it. I especially relate to your thoughts on the use of themes from OHMSS. 'Matera' I still quite like, and I remember feeling elated the first time I heard it. That feeling has since dissipated a little, though. That scene between Bond and M on the bridge, however, I fully agree with you on - it makes little sense.

    The biggest problem with this approach of quoting music, dialogue and/or specific moments will always be that you have to absolutely nail everything or you risk making audiences wish they were watching the film you are taking those things from.

    I quite like NTTD but when I hear the music from OHMSS, my thoughts are always "I wish I was watching OHMSS."

    Thanks, @CraigMooreOHMSS! I agree, nostalgic callbacks can be a tricky thing to wield. Sometimes it works great. Other times it just draws unfavorable comparisons. Every Bond film (even the two most directly linked ones, CR and QOS) has its own unique identity, and the music plays a key part in establishing that identity. The James Bond theme characterizes James Bond, but the main theme of each film characterizes that film alone. I think that's primarily why the prevalent and unironic use of OHMSS's themes in an unrelated Bond film feels so wrong to me. Had these themes returned in a version of Diamonds Are Forever where Lazenby's Bond goes after Savalas's Blofeld that would have made sense...but No Time to Die?
    mattjoes wrote: »
    There are some real highlights, however. I love the haunting instrumental takes of Eilish’s “No Time to Die,” especially with her wordless vocals used on the track.
    I do prefer the voiceless version of the track Home, as heard in the film. But it's very pleasant to hear how the song was integrated into the score to a substantial degree.

    Zimmer and female vocals go way back. I recall Gladiator, and this track from MI2, one of my favorites from him.

    I do really like all versions of "No Time to Die" in the score. "Home" is a gorgeous cue. And I love that track “Injection” from M:I-2 too. I played it all the time when I first got that soundtrack. It has such a cool sound. Zimmer really went all out with M:I-2.
    mattjoes wrote: »
    The use of music from OHMSS, both “We Have All the Time in the World” and the “Main Theme,” regrettably are truly out of place. They have no thematic resonance in this story
    I think there is thematic resonance for "We Have All the Time", in the sense that the story of NTTD deals with similar things to OHMSS, namely Bond's work interfering with his relationship with a woman he was prepared to leave the secret service for. Of course, this was also the subject of CR. Not so much QoS, Sf or Sp.

    I agree about the OHMSS main theme. I don't find there is a strong thematic justification for its reuse. But I think it's meant to be more of an easter egg than "We Have All the Time", which is played very prominently.

    and reusing themes from another unrelated Bond film, except perhaps as a very brief gag, is never a good idea, even if there is a thematic connection.
    Agreed. It just gets the cables crossed. That song is from one film, and it's now getting contaminated with another film. Even if there is thematic resonance, it's not worth it. I don't care about thinking of OHMSS while watching NTTD, and vice versa. Takes me out of the film I'm watching, especially considering we're talking about different narrative continuities.

    At least the quotation of the OHMSS main theme is subtle enough, though the risk remains of these films getting into a bad habit of unnecessary musical references, that could make future films feel less fresh and distinctive.

    There are some parallels between the two films, but I still don't think they're strong enough to justify reuse of OHMSS's themes. It's a little too on the nose for the music to be telling the viewer this new film is a modern OHMSS in that they're both about tragic romance and the possibility of Bond having a family, especially when WHATTITW has for 50+ years stood for the tragic romance between Lazenby's Bond and Tracy, a pretty significant character who has been referred back to multiple times over the years. It almost feels like the movie is asking Barry's themes to do the heavy lifting in getting us to equate the love of Craig's Bond for Madeleine with the love of Lazenby's Bond for Tracy. If over the course of two films the scripts and performances haven't done that work already, then it ain't happening! :))

    When it comes down to it, having WHATTITW represent Bond and Madeleine's tragic love feels as wrong to me as if it had been used for Bond and Vesper in CR rather than Arnold's "Vesper" theme. A little wink at the audience...maybe. But I'm not down with having another Bond's and another story's music do heavy-duty emotional work for the story and characters. Your point about the films feeling less distinctive is another thing that worries me about borrowing too much for the sake of nostalgia. Every time OHMSS was used in NTTD, the film sacrificed an opportunity for its own themes or a new love theme of Zimmer's to shine. You go too far down that road and 50 years from now when future Bond films want to call back to the nostalgic era of the 2020s, it will all be a copy of a copy.
    mattjoes wrote: »
    The producers first wanted to do this on Die Another Day when they wanted to use the theme from You Only Live Twice over the finale with James and Jinx and the diamonds. David Arnold, bless his soul, talked them down from that ledge, saying he would write them YOLT-esque music for the scene without lifting the theme itself.
    I had no idea about this. Was it mentioned in an interview, audio commentary...? Anyway, it was the right decision not to reuse the theme. And it made room for another lovely piece, a piece composed in the style of YOLT, but not mere repetition.

    Turns out, I’ve retold it slightly differently from the way it happened. It was sometime ago when I came across the info.

    On the DVD commentary, Tamahori says he scored that part of Die Another Day with the theme from YOLT for the test audience. He says, “I beat David up over this. I handed him an impossible task…I always wanted David to rescore it.” When he says “rescore” it, it doesn’t sound like he means rescore the cue Arnold had written but to re-score the YOLT theme, as in: to write a new version of that theme. The verbiage is kind of ambiguous here, but that’s certainly what it sounds like he’s saying. You could give it a listen and decide for yourself. So it was Tamahori who wanted Arnold to use the theme, not necessarily the producers, but Michael G. Wilson chimes in on the commentary with the first mention of You Only Live Twice, so he obviously remembered the discussions. There may be another source that goes more into detail on it.
  • morcarvicmorcarvic france
    Posts: 6
    isnt this essentially tamahori temp tracking to express the feel he wanted from arnold for the scene maybe?
  • Posts: 6,667
    Yes, but it sounds like Tamahori really wanted Arnold to use the theme itself or something essentially indistinguishable from it. That's part of the problem of temp-tracking and I believe the reason Tamahori says he handed Arnold an impossible task.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,545
    Thanks @Some_Kind_Of_Hero I didn't know about the reuse of YOLT in Die Another Day. I remember that track Arnold created for the end of the film, its gorgeous without being a rip off
  • Posts: 3,976
    Tracklisting updated for NTTD over on Hans Zimmer's website.

    https://hans-zimmer.com/discography/181/project/3496
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,216
    I wonder if the recording sessions are for imminent leaking to the web, then.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,703
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    Thanks @Some_Kind_Of_Hero I didn't know about the reuse of YOLT in Die Another Day. I remember that track Arnold created for the end of the film, its gorgeous without being a rip off

    I always thought that track was a slightly redone version of that beautiful theme when Bond and Elektra first go skiing in TWINE.
  • Posts: 6,667
    vzok wrote: »
    Tracklisting updated for NTTD over on Hans Zimmer's website.

    https://hans-zimmer.com/discography/181/project/3496

    "Explosition" perfectly describes Bond and Madeleine talking during the opening car chase and just might be my new favorite word.
  • GadgetManGadgetMan Lagos, Nigeria
    edited May 10 Posts: 4,247
    vzok wrote: »
    Tracklisting updated for NTTD over on Hans Zimmer's website.

    https://hans-zimmer.com/discography/181/project/3496

    "Explosition" perfectly describes Bond and Madeleine talking during the opening car chase and just might be my new favorite word.

    Yeah. It's very Michael Giacchino, though.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,545
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    Thanks @Some_Kind_Of_Hero I didn't know about the reuse of YOLT in Die Another Day. I remember that track Arnold created for the end of the film, its gorgeous without being a rip off

    I always thought that track was a slightly redone version of that beautiful theme when Bond and Elektra first go skiing in TWINE.

    Now you mention it, I can hear it. I'd never thought of that before, great ear mate
  • Posts: 6,667
    GadgetMan wrote: »
    vzok wrote: »
    Tracklisting updated for NTTD over on Hans Zimmer's website.

    https://hans-zimmer.com/discography/181/project/3496

    "Explosition" perfectly describes Bond and Madeleine talking during the opening car chase and just might be my new favorite word.

    Yeah. It's very Michael Giacchino, though.

    It is, though Barry, Arnold, and others have had their share of Giacchino-esque track titles over the years.
  • EmilioLargoEmilioLargo Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 14
    I’ve been listening to Zimmer and Mazzaro’s score apart from the film for the first time lately and have some thoughts.

    In a broad way of speaking, it’s not inaccurate to say this score combines the musical voices of both Arnold and Newman in Bond mode with Zimmer’s usual sound. The gun barrel is very Newmanesque, and the music that plays over the intro to Matera (I believe) sounds just like Arnold’s luscious landscape composing. Disappointingly, there are a couple areas where Zimmer and Mazzaro quote themes from the Dark Knight films—not music in the style of (which I would be fine with) but the actual themes themselves, which just feels lazy, though I know Zimmer has reused and repurposed his own themes with minor changes throughout his career. Bane’s theme from The Dark Knight Rises surfaces during the Norway chase, though it does eventually evolve into something more Bondian and more interesting. Then you hear the heroic theme from Batman Begins' “Molossus” during the climax on the island. Again, Batman-esque music would have been fine, but to drop the themes themselves into a Bond score, well, it’s disappointing.

    There are some real highlights, however. I love the haunting instrumental takes of Eilish’s “No Time to Die,” especially with her wordless vocals used on the track. “Cuba Chase” is a true action highlight. The aggressive, growling take on the James Bond theme that pops up throughout the score is fantastic, though it does seem it would have been better for a harder edged version of Craig’s Bond, perhaps the one seen in QOS. Still, musically, it’s a great idea. The Cuban flourishes in this track make it all a lot of fun too. Also, apart from the film, the music that plays over you know what is actually really emotionally stirring, though it doesn't remotely bring to mind anything you’d expect to hear in a Bond film. To be fair, the music accompanies something you'd never expect to see in a Bond film.

    The use of music from OHMSS, both “We Have All the Time in the World” and the “Main Theme,” regrettably are truly out of place. They have no thematic resonance in this story, and reusing themes from another unrelated Bond film, except perhaps as a very brief gag, is never a good idea, even if there is a thematic connection. The producers first wanted to do this on Die Another Day when they wanted to use the theme from You Only Live Twice over the finale with James and Jinx and the diamonds. David Arnold, bless his soul, talked them down from that ledge, saying he would write them YOLT-esque music for the scene without lifting the theme itself. Alas, there was no Arnold this time around to talk them out of pilfering the gems from Barry’s OHMSS for hackneyed nostalgia. The slow notes of OHMSS that play behind Bond and M talking beside the Thames is an especially confusing moment. I have no idea why this particular scene is deserving of musical nostalgia or what the rationale was here. But I’ll stop there since I think I’ve more than belabored the point.

    All things considered, while I would have preferred to have Arnold back, this is not a bad Bond score. I know Zimmer was pressed for time with his commitments to Dune and you need only listen to his truly terrific recent score for Wonder Woman 1984 to realize this is far below his talents. But it does the job. I'd be interested to hear what Zimmer would do with Bond with the proper amount of time. But I'd just as soon welcome back Arnold or hear from a new voice.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. It didn't need "We have all the time in the world". I think that has done a disservice to OHMSS rather than being a nostalgic nod. I had hoped for better things when I heard "Matera" but I realize now it was just nostalgia for the Casino Royale score. The aggressive use of chords from "Chateau Fight" were good but overall I found the score a bit disappointing as I was so enthusiastic to hear what Zimmer would bring to the table. There is so much good in "No Time To Die" but I think it was executed badly.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Mitchell
    edited August 11 Posts: 5,754
    I wish they would release the music of the Cuba party scene in NTTD. It's "Donde estabas tú" performed by Jennifer Almeida (Jenn All). A very catchy song.

    Here's another version, sung by Omara Portuondo.

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