Batman Returns by Danny Elfman

Out of season range but close enough to summer blockbusters Batman Returns evokes a time and an epoch were summer blockbusters were straightforward, CGI was just in diapers so movie directors focused on stories, sets and costumes before even thinking about explosions. As for the music Danny Elfman back in 1992 had made a splash with his scores for Batman and Beetlejuice gaining respect and a solid fan base within the soundtrack community. Back in the day his score for Batman Returns was one of the most awaited scores and without internet the way it is now there was a lot of expectation (me included). As most of the reviewers agree on this one, Batman Returns is a mixed bag that contains less of the elements that made the Batman score back in 1989 such a success but it takes forward the Batman mythos and expands upon it. Laced and composed around 3 themes the score interwoven the 3 main characters and motifs along with the movie progression showing us Elfman’s talent and wit to make the themes work well one with the other. Set in Christmas season the score begins with Birth of a Penguin which begins with an ominous organ and the brass registers the Batman notes in. Then the La la chorus that has been the staple for Elfman during his first years comes forward, the music is tragic and as intricate as it might sounds here is were the Penguin tragic theme comes to life. The second half of the track brings something more familiar, build upon strings and chorus the brass starts to make its apparition rendering some Batman notes, the theme takes a more martial tone with the percussion coming forth, it is here when the gong pauses everything and Elfman kicks in the Batman theme, with the orchestra playing it at a slower tempo but the moment in the movie theater that the main credits come forward it is something very epic (and I watched this one back in 1992.) Definitively the first highlight of the score bringing forward everything we loved about the main theme back in 1989, sadly full renditions like this within the score are very much restrained and the theme would make 3 more apparitions (counting the End Credits). Something quite sad considering how cool and powerful the theme is. Instead Elfman gives us little snippets here and there whenever Batman is on screen.

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Orlando Gonzalez

A project manager in the making with a delight and taste for orchestral music, whether is fast-paced action or is slow gorgeous compositions I like them all. I have an extense soundtrack collection which I like to call the soundtrack of my life. From time to time I write music reviews and currently working on an independent blog where I discuss on my other passion -toy cars. Follow me at

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