Music composed by Hans Zimmer
Label: New Line Records
Catalog: NLR 39175

Year: 2010

1. Discombobulate
2. Is It Poison, Nanny?
3. I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before
4. My Mind Rebels At Stagnation
5. Data, Data, Data
6. He's Killed The Dog Again
7. Marital Sabotage
8. Not In Blood, But In Bond
9. Ah, Putrefaction
10. Panic, Shear Bloody Panic
11. Psychological Recovery... 6 Months
12. Catatonictes

Total Time: 52:30

Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

Slipping in somewhat under the radar this holiday season is Guy Ritchie's, Sherlock Holmes, a film that was forced to compete with James Cameron's titanic, Avatar, but has so far held its own. This Hollywood version of Holmes required a commercial score befitting the project, thus Ritchie employed the services of Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe for the film. The soundtrack offers 12 tracks that stack up with an uneven running time. For instance, cue 11 runs for over 18 minutes, so the content doesn't play like a typical score album.

The Hans Zimmer version of Sherlock Holmes is about what one should expect from the composer (and his team). The score is a modernized, melodic take on the Holmes character and delivers a listening experience that may not sound "authentic," but it does have a charm about it. Much like the way Guy Ritchie morphed Holmes into an intellect with brawn (and mixed martial arts capabilities), the music of the Holmes era is morphed into a modern vision that references the time frame but never embeds itself completely within it. In other words, the music is not as brazen as a Pirates of the Caribbean about being dislodged from the time and place of the story, but it does hold onto its modernistic roots in the manner in which it is designed.

The score is driven by an identifiable comedic main theme that establishes itself in the opening track and is later referenced throughout the album as a calling card of sorts. It does a rather nice job in setting up the tone of the characters, and gives off a tongue-in-cheek type of vibe that is placed well within the context of this story, but I think it ultimately comes across as sounding perhaps too polished and having too much of a"studio" sound. This type of sound design is not as distracting when the featured solo instruments are heard on the score, the inclusion of which was a nice and surprising touch, but the main theme could have benefited more from a classical, unpredictable touch and less of a modern studio mix.

The manner in which the tracks are arranged on this soundtrack is a bit perplexing. For most of the soundtrack, the cues on the album have a rather brief running time until the final two tracks (11 & 12) arrive. What really stands about the 11th track in particular is that it runs for a whopping 18 minutes and change! I'm all for extended cues or suites, but having one cue run at an 18 minute clip is a bit tough to digest. Having heard the track, there were definitely areas in which the music could have been sectioned off into individual cues, but alas, a decision was made not to for some reason. Ironically, this extended piece offers some of the best music from the album, so you'll basically have to sit through the extended running time to enjoy it.

Sherlock Holmes lands on the scale as a slightly above average score but it never seemed to connect with the right type of energy for me. It all seemed a bit too measured for my tastes; a bit too precise. That said, there are some enjoyable moments to be had, so it's not a total wash, and it is certainly reasonable to download this digitally at a price of $9.99.