The Curse of the Black Pearl (by Klaus Badelt, in collaboration with Hans Zimmer) was fun, Dead Man’s Chest (by Hans Zimmer) was silly, and now with World’s End, Zimmer rounds off his Pirates‘ bounty of soundscapes with a mega flourish-not always gripping, but mostly flourishy, silly and yes, with the swashbuckling swagger so important in a Jack Sparrow film. If ye liked the old themes from the Pirates movies, be warned, there aren’t many reprises of those. Heck, even the Jack Sparrow theme from Dead Man’s Chest makes just fleeting appearances in its original form. Forget about the Klaus Badelt themes, you really need to be alert to pick them up in I Don’t Think Now Is The Best Time and Drink Up Me Hearties. But having said that, these reprises are quite pleasing. Surprisingly, the Tia Dalma theme from Dead Man’s Chest gets more time than Jack Sparrow.
Moving on to original music written for this movie, Zimmer basically wrote two extremely lengthy themes-the Pirates Theme (based on the song Hoist the Colours) and the Love Theme. These, he broke up and wove them really well into the almost every cue. Personally, I found the Love Theme to be more heroic and flourishy than the Pirates Theme. Funny, considering that this was a Pirates movie, not a romantic caper. But, this theme lent the flick a certain grandeur and scale, missing from the first two movies. But then again, maybe this film is really about the love between Will and Elizabeth. Certainly fits in with the surprise ending, that you can see coming just before the climax.
The album starts with Hoist the Colours, which I think is a traditional pirate/seaman’s song (but since I was too lazy to actually check this up, I might well be wrong…), and seeing its use in the film, I get goosebumps each time I listen to it. This gets reprised a number of times, without the vocals. We then move on to Singapore, a pretty decent track which incorporates the East India Company/Beckett theme from Dead Man’s Chest with the theme for the new pirate character, Sao Feng. Multiple Jacks and the Brethren Court are equally silly tracks, having an “off”, out of tune rendition of Jack Sparrow. Seeing that they are for an extremely silly, self centred and moronic bunch of pirates, they actually do make sense in the movie and, on the soundtrack, they can be used to irritate someone, much like the Willy Wonka track from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I Don’t Think Now Is The Best Time is the big action piece of the movie. Big, in terms of orchestration and length. At 10:46, it’s a wee bit too long. But then, it has good reprises of many of major and minor themes from the previous two movies and, woven exquisitely in to all this is the grand Love Theme. In the movie, it plays out during the climactic fight sequence (which, by the way, is very funny), it is quite brisk. Playing for most of its 10 minute running time, underneath the main orchestra, is a moving line, much in the style of Zimmer’s Da Vinci Code. It certainly adds a bit of extra motion to the whole track.
Drink Up Me Hearties rounds off the album with re-orchestrated He’s A Pirate theme from Curse of the Black Pearl (which, Dead Man’s Chest so sorely lacked). This blossoms into a beautiful rendition of the Love Theme, performed strongly in an epic manner. It comes to a close with final orchestral swell, and the album comes to an end.
Problems with the score: the lack of the reprises, and its slow/choiry tracks (the ones where the Tia Dalma theme gets inordinately long reprises). But mostly, one track: Parlay. WHAT THE HECK IS AN ELECTRIC GUITAR DOING IN A PIRATE MOVIE!?!!! And that too, in such a thinly veiled manner. It’s a western influenced track, an ode to Ennio Morricone, but still, you can’t just so blatantly have an electric guitar in a movie set so clearly in the pre electricity era. Dead Man’s Chest also had something like this-what everyone mistook to be electric guitars in the Kracken theme. Instead, it turned out to be a regular orchestra pumped out through a guitar amp. Besides the point. What I really mean is that that track used the electric amp effect so well. While in this, when I first heard it, I thought that something was wrong with PVR’s audio system, that music from some other movie was being played. And then, the dialogues begun, and horror, horror, I realized that that trashy piece of populist writing was indeed Zimmer’s, and that too, for this movie only.
Well, mostly the soundtrack was a pleasant listening experience, Parlay notwithstanding. Certainly not the best Zimmer effort, but quite good. It brought the swashbuckling pirates element (which really was missing in the first two soundtracks) into this franchise, and for that I’d recommend this soundtrack. That, and the amazing Love Theme….