Updated: Nov 16
Film fans one step closer to getting first taste of Oscar-winner’s first film score for Bond series
Hans Zimmer, the German film composer – and sound of a generation, by virtue of a career whose highlights include The Dark Knight Trilogy, Gladiator, The Lion King, Inception and The Simpsons Movie – is making his mark yet again, scoring the newest entry in the longest-running film franchise of all time.
Hans Zimmer in 2016. Photo: Victor R. Ruiz via Wikimedia Commons
The 25th entry in the ongoing James Bond franchise marks a beginning and an end for the series: after making his first appearance in 2006’s Casino Royale, Daniel Craig is stepping down from the iconic role, while Zimmer picks up the baton as composer for the first time.
The Frankfurt-born composer has previously created the soundscape of many high-profile action films, with earlier credits including The Rock (1996) and Mission: Impossible II (2000), and is well regarded in Germany as the recipient of the prestigious Goldene Kamera in 1999. Other homegrown distinctions to have been awarded to Herr Zimmer include the 2006 German Film Associations Critics Awards for the adorable, yet rather odd, animated feature Der kleine Eisbär: Die geheimnisvolle Insel.
Replacing Thomas Newman, who helmed previous entries Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015) – earning an Oscar nomination for the former – Zimmer’s musical contributions can be pre-ordered from Decca Records for delivery on 2nd April 2021, according to the label’s official website. The lengthy delay between album purchase and next-year collection is fitting with the drastically postponed release date of the film in question.
Cited for an April 2020 release, this newest outing in the long-running series has since been pushed back twice: first to a November 2020 release, and more recently to its current Good Friday opening weekend. It seems that the soundtrack has also suffered setbacks of its own, with the album originally planned to hit the shelves – in CD, digital download and LP form – to meet the amended November 2020 release date.
A German promotional poster for 'No Time to Die'. Source: @bond_no_time_to_die via Instagram
Offering a detailed overview of the album as early as 2nd October of this year, Classic FM promised that Zimmer’s score could be heard from as soon as the end of this week, on 13th November.. This is of course at odds with the official date given by Decca themselves, but at least the radio station that prides itself as heralding “The World’s Greatest Music” gives us an analysis of the trailer music.
“There is a general feel of minimalism here,” we're told, with one passage of the track even being likened to a Philip Glass opera. This is sadly all we have had to tune in to right now, besides the album’s opening track, “Gunbarrel,” which Zimmer released on his official YouTube channel on October 1st.
We do have a complete tracklist though, giving some small clues as to what can be expected in the film itself. Tracks #14 and #16 – “Norway Chase” and “Poison Garden” respectively – are the two that have most piqued my curiosity for the film I have been waiting a year to watch. No amount of delays can dampen my enthusiasm to see the latest instalment in the film franchise I grew up with, and I am wildly intrigued to see what Zimmer does for the Bond soundscape, having been put off by some of his arguably more predictable action scores of the past few years.
One of the year’s most high-profile victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, the newest James Bond adventure was placed beside Christopher Nolan’s Tenet as one of the few films capable of generating any box office revenue in a year where most cinemas closed their doors. If it means we need to wait a further quarter of a year to part with my cash to see the world’s best-dressed, most environmentally-unfriendly superspy (007 wracks up a lot of air miles), then so be it.
After all, to borrow from the theme song of another Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, “We have all the time in the world.”