Hans Zimmer The Simpsons Movie: The Music Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

You'll probably get more satisfaction from saving your money for a bag of doughnuts...

Michael Quinn 2007

To embellish The Simpsons’ leap from television to cinema screen, creators Matt Groenig and Jim Brooks have taken the surprising step of bypassing Danny Elfman, who wrote the show’s sublimely anthemic theme, and Alf Clausen, longtime composer of the show’s incidental music, to call in Hollywood royalty in the shape of Hans Zimmer.

Zimmer is as Zimmer does: a master of subtle and often deliciously sly musical references that ricochet between parody and pastiche with gleefully inventive abandon. There’s colour aplenty, certainly, but nothing to quite match the peculiarly hallucinogenic palette that Springfield is bathed in.

Elfman’s theme is heard twice here in full – in Zimmer’s souped-up orchestral version full of money-no-object bombast, and in a thumping bonus track in which it gets an acid house-crossed with-The X Files-sounding remix from Ryeland Allison. No, I don’t know either.

More than with most soundtrack albums, the suspicion that something is missing lurks here in nearly every track. Divorced from Groenig’s iconic animation and in the absence of contributions from Homer, Bart, Marge et al – a lost opportunity if ever there was one – Zimmer’s score, accomplished and polished though it is, never quite stirs the heart or quickens the pulse in quite the way you might expect it to.

Soundtrack trainspotters, however, will enjoy Zimmer’s freewheeling allusions to other films. Exhibits A, B and C (of many): where “Release the Hounds” features a twanging guitar that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tarantino flick, and “Spider Pig” is a glorious and all-too brief re-working of the Spiderman television theme, the marvellously titled “You Doomed Us All… Again” echoes early John Williams and throws in a smidgeon of Aaron Copland for good measure.

Committed Zimmerians or Simpsonites will undoubtedly snap this. The rest of us will probably get more satisfaction from saving our money for a bag of doughnuts (Mmm.… dough-nuts).

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