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Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides by Hans Zimmer (Review)

posted May 16, 2011, 6:51 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated May 23, 2011, 7:46 PM ]

Well, here we are once again with another Pirates Of The Caribbean film. When it comes to awesome swashbuckling fun there isn't better entertainment. The biggest draws of these films are 1. Johnny Depp and 2. Hans Zimmer's scores. So what does the maestro have in store for us this time? Well Hans is always one for changing things up. While his style is undeniable he doesn't like rehashing his past works. So how was he to make Pirates Of The Caribbean fresh after three films? Bring in Rodrigo y Gabriela that's how! I first saw Rodrigo y Gabriela perform on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno back in 2006. I was blown away to say the least. I became in instant fan and they are by far two of the best guitarists I've ever heard. When I first heard them in 2006 I said "I wish I could introduce them to John Powell because they would be a match made in heaven." This is truth; not trying to pat myself on the back or anything. Last year Powell used Rodrigo y Gabriela as featured guitarists on his score for Knight & Day. A few months ago it was announced Hans would be featuring them here on this score. Boy, was I a happy camper.

So what do they add to the music? Well a latin flair of course. It's pretty simple when you think about it. Penelope Cruz's character Angelica is from Spain so the guitar based cues add that hispanic flavor. Boom, you have your fresh character based ingredient to the soundscape. As for the score it has a very different feel than the past three. Do not expect a grand sweeping score steeped in romanticism. The last Pirates film was extremely epic and over the top so the music had to match. And at the time Hans thought he was wrapping up a trilogy so he made sure he went out with a bang. So for anyone who says this film just reuses old themes then you are correct, and that's not a bad thing. It's a Pirates Of The Caribbean movie and we want those themes we love so Hans gives them to us. To hear Rodrigo y Gabriela play some of those themes were extremely fun. We do get some new motifs for Blackbeard and of course the mermaids (which is just a theme variation). Is it the next Davy Jones motif? Hardly as the two characters are so utterly different. As the short album closes out we are hit with "On Stranger Tides" which brings us an awesome new motif for the film. The vocal work is very reminiscent of Angels & Demons and I loved it. We then close with the expected "End Credits" with Spanish flair of course. For some reason there is a bulk of terrible remixes. I really don't know if Hans keeps suggesting them or if someone at Disney is responsible, but everyone hated the ones done for the first two. So I don't know why they went with it again and this time put so much. I'm sure we're missing a ton of great score because these remixes took up so much space on the album. Well, what can you do?

Overall this is a fun revisit back to the Pirates Of The Caribbean universe. It doesn't hold the emotional weight of the third one but it's a hell of a lot of fun. Hearing Rodrigo y Gabriela play on a Hans Zimmer score is definitely amazing since I've been a huge fan for so long. Their style is perfect for film scores and I wouldn't be surprised to see them helm a score one day. So go out and enjoy this little treat. It feels old fashioned and much smaller then the first three, and I'm pretty sure that was the aim of the movie as well.
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