Reviews - Darkman

Review by the Groovy Yak

Tim Burton's Batman (1989) marked the rebirth of the super-hero movie. A man, with super-hero abilities or a special power would battle a colorful villain and save his girl from the villain. Sam Raimi's Darkman loosely follows that structure. So, Danny Elfman, after just winning his Grammy for Batman, scored Darkman with many of the same elements that he used in Batman. There's the hero's theme, a beautiful love theme, some wacky cues, and tons of high-intensity action cues- complete with full orchestra, a large percussion section, choir, and pipe organ. As a matter of fact, with the exception of the somber main theme, many parts of Darkman could've been used in Batman and vice versa.
But, I must contradict myself, Batman was such a fantastic work of art, what's wrong with hearing more of it in another score? In 1990, I would've been worried if this was as creative as Elfman could get, but it is at the the end of 1997, and I know that Elfman has wrote many scores since 1990 that are very different from each other and definitely don't sound anything like Batman, Darkman, and Dick Tracy. (i.e. Black Beauty, Sommersby, Mission: Impossible) So getting back to the subject, Darkman is very similar to Batman, but there are enough features of this score to make it distinguishable as Darkman and not Batman. The main title is slow, a little too sluggish for my likes. It reminds me of a funeral. In contrast to the slow main titles and second track, Darkman is a lively and intense score. I found it to be quite entertaining. The action cues, like Batman's, are exciting. Elfman throws in his ever-famous crescendoing triplet figures (da da da Da Da Da DA DA DA) (Maybe I'll put in a real audio example of what I'm talking about someday if that wasn't exactly clear as bell for you.) Track 12, (contains snippets of Batman and the yet to be written Batman Returns score) is a musical adrenaline rush! On the other side of the orchestral musical spectrum is the heart-gushingly tender love theme. (IMHO, Elfman's best love theme.) It will give you goosebumps when it appears in the carnival setting of track 9.
Speaking of carnivals, this album contains a merry-go-round-type carnival track, appropriately titled Carnival from Hell. This cue is fun, although the people around you may find it a teeny-weeny bit on the annoying side. It gradually becomes more and more sour and tense until it turns into a fast-paced action cue at the end. It's a very odd and wacky track. Speaking of odd and wacky, track 6 features sampled voices and lot of xylophone. Tres cool! Overall, this definitely stands tall with Elfman's other scores from this genre. While not the most original of Elfman's works, it's fun to listen to and is quite enjoyable.
Rating: * * *

Back to the Score Profile