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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer
  • WaterTower Music / 2011 / 57:28

Guy Ritchie shocked virtually everyone in 2009 when he made Sherlock Holmes, since it was actually quite good.  It was successful, too, so a sequel was assured and it arrived in the form of A Game of Shadows, in which Holmes and Watson go on a trail around Europe in the hunt for Moriarty.  Hans Zimmer’s music for the first film didn’t seem a perfect fit, but that didn’t stop him earning an Oscar nomination for it, and the album was highly entertaining.  Along with most of the rest of the cast and crew, he has returned for the sequel, further pushing the gypsy elements of the first score, creating a sometimes-peculiar blend between that and a bit of a throwback to his action style of times gone by.  This is notable particularly in the three-part “Shadows” section of the album, which takes up 18 minutes near its start – it sounds almost like a parody at times, but is very entertaining indeed, particularly the dynamic appearance of the main theme in “Chess”.  Also notable is even more Morricone homage than was in the first score, and there’s actually a track (with a very cheap performance – can’t believe they didn’t licence the original) included from Two Mules for Sister Sara.

Aside from the “Shadows” suite, a lot of the rest of the album focuses on the gypsy music, and Zimmer actually got some Slovakian performers in to play it.  It’s all a  lot of fun, but can lack a certain cohesion at times.  There’s no notable new thematic material and this does make the whole thing sound like an extension of the first album more than anything else – I’m not sure there’s enough new material here to make the purchase seem particularly necessary, but it goes without saying that if you enjoyed the first one then you should certainly enjoy this one too.  Zimmer’s Remote Control-style  adaptation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is amusing (though I doubt the joke is good enough that anyone will listen to it more than once); the six-minute “Antonius Remix” of his themes, “Romani Holiday”, which closes the album is horrific.  That aside, there’s nothing offensive here, and clearly everyone involved had a good time putting it all together, and that does shine through for an entertaining album experience.  ***

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  1. Kalaisan. K on Friday 13 January, 2012 at 01:25

    I’m surprised you enjoyed this score…
    I thought it was terribly weak and big disappointment for me. And the mixing in this is score is downright awful. The first one is much more refreshing and fun than this.

    My own review:
    http://musicmusekk.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/sherlock-holmes-a-game-of-shadows-hans-zimmer/

    – KK