Interstellar often gets tossed around when people talk about their favorite films or recall the canon of Christopher Nolan. And the score is arguably one of the most distinctive aspects of the movie. The music, colored by frequent organ instrumentation and high levels of intensity, crystallizes each scene in the movie as memorable and breathtaking. This is no surprise, given that it was composed by Hans Zimmer.
The German–born composer has become one of the great film composers since his career began in the late '80s. After beginning with Barry Levinson’s Rain Man (1988), his innovative pairing of steel drums and synthesizers earned him his first of many Academy Award nominations. It wasn’t until Zimmer scored Disney’s The Lion King (1994) that he won his first (and, so far, only) Oscar for Best Original Score. Over two decades later, he has scored dozens of films, including fan favorites such as The Last Samurai (2003) and Gladiator (2000).
Zimmer has become Christopher Nolan's trusted partner, and has scored six of his movies, including The Dark Knight trilogy, Dunkirk, and arguably his most popular project, Inception. The track “Time” from the film has garnered over 100 million views on Youtube and has become an integral part of its identity.
But what is it about Zimmer’s composing that makes him so great? One aspect to be considered is his versatility. Though he's best known for his work on intense thrillers or dramas, he has proven his talent within many genres. He's even scored superhero films like The Amazing Spider–Man 2 and animated films like Shark Tale and Madagascar.
His style also makes him memorable. For the main theme of Interstellar, he received only a simple quote from Nolan about the heart of the story—a relationship between father and daughter. From there, he crafted the score without knowledge of the science–fiction narrative that would characterize the story.
This is perhaps the main reason for Zimmer’s success. He is able to communicate the emotions of stories that might be lost within the action or expensive effects. He gives the audience a sensory experience that lingers long after the credits have rolled. This can be seen through the immediately recognizable score of The Lion King, or the track that plays during the opening scene of Dunkirk.
In fact, his work is so impactful that he's touring around the world showcasing it. “The World of Hans Zimmer” is a symphonic orchestra tour currently playing throughout Europe that's curated by the composer himself, and features performances of Zimmer’s most notable works. Shows are frequently sold out, and this shows that if a composer is talented enough, their scores won't be forgotten right after the movie comes out.
It's undeniable that Zimmer has become one of the most influential composers in Hollywood today. He has transformed the movie–watching experience for many, and has become a household name for movie–buffs and music lovers alike. Whether you're looking for some new music to make study sessions more dramatic, or for a big budget movie to get sucked into, Hans Zimmer is always a safe bet.