November 7, 2017


Directed by Tim Van Someren. (2017, 138 min).

To this writer's humble ears, Hans Zimmer is currently our greatest living film composer. He has his own identifiable style, yet all his individual scores are unique and diverse. Best of all, not only do they brilliantly do the job they were composed for, most of them are also great stand-alone pieces of music.

And as it turns out, Mr. Zimmer can be quite the showman...maybe even a bit of a rock star.

Hans Zimmer: Live in Prague is a stunning concert film featuring some of the best-known music of his career (leaning more heavily toward the epics). He's backed by a huge band of orchestral, classical and rock musicians & vocalists...only fitting, since Zimmer has always incorporated those elements in his music. Zimmer himself plays a variety of instruments: piano, synths, guitar, even the banjo during a piece from Sherlock Holmes.

"Ladies and's been suggested that you stay away from the brown acid."
Many of the pieces have been given new arrangements more conducive to a live setting, while music from some of his biggest films (such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator and Christopher Nolan's films) are presented as epic medleys. My personal favorite of Zimmer's scores has always been Crimson Tide, part of which is wonderfully rendered here with added guitar flourishes. Ironically, the music from his most iconic score, The Lion King, is the least compelling, though it does get the most enthusiastic response from the audience. It's impeccably performed, but perhaps its over-familiarity works against it (kinda like hearing Stairway to Heaven yet again).

Banjos are chick magnets.
The whole program is performed before a huge crowd with the visual spectacle of a rock show. Aside from introducing his players or providing stories behind some of the films, Zimmer himself is content to take his place as just another member of the band. It's an extraordinary crew of musicians, most of whom are provided individual moments in the spotlight. Perhaps rising to the occasion, they provide quite a bit of showmanship themselves.

I suppose it goes without saying this disc (also available as a CD) is a must own for movie fans. But Hans Zimmer: Live in Prague is also terrific entertainment simply as a concert film, whether one is familiar with the music or not.

SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET - Includes photos, an essay by Jeremy Thomas and technical credits.

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