Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about Hans Zimmer’s score for Dune.
In addition to setting a film’s tone and conveying a sense of realism, a film’s score and sound design are a big part of what makes a movie feel theatrical. Which is to say: immense in scale, overflowing with texture, and engrossing in the proper sense of the word.
Dune, the most recent cinematic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel of the same name, is arguably one of the most theatrical-feeling films in recent memory. And a big part of why that is (in addition to director Denis Villeneuve‘s characteristic grasp on unwieldy narratives), is Hans Zimmer‘s score. If you had the luxury of seeing Dune in IMAX, I’m preaching the choir. It’s the kind of score that rattles your bones in the best way possible; a bombastic wall of sound that is truly mesmerizing.
Also relevant — I have seen a number of folks critique Zimmer’s score as being orientalist, which it absolutely is. If you’d like to read more about the Islamic influences of Herbert’s text and how the film navigates them, I recommend this Washington Post article by Haris A. Durrani.
The video essay below does a great job at breaking down Zimmer’s score, which is more abstract and impressionistic than melodic, and therefore much harder to parse. And yet, by being less tied to restrictive musical motifs, Zimmer is able to make narrative connections that hint at Herbert’s bigger picture: an interconnected world, where everyone’s fingers are in everyone else’s proverbial pies.
Watch “Why is Dune’s Score Like That?”:
Who made this?
This video essay on Hans Zimmer’s Dune score is by Virginia-based filmmaker and video editor Thomas Flight. He runs a YouTube channel under the same name. You can follow Thomas Flight and check out his back catalog of video essays on YouTube here. You can follow him on Twitter here.
More videos like this
- Want to see more of Thomas Flight’s work? Here’s a look at the social media-specific format and structure of Bo Burnham’s comedy special Inside.
- And here’s Flight on the brilliant (and essential) sound design of Sound of Metal, a film that is, at its core, about the intricacies of affected hearing.
- More from Flight: an explanation of why the personified camera from HBO’s Succession wants a seat at the table.
- Finally, here’s a video essay from Flight on the themes of faith, forgiveness, sin, and sanctity in the films of Martin Scorsese. Ever thought to yourself, “Huh, a lot of Scorsese films are about terrible men doing terrible things?” Well, the director’s history as a lapsed Catholic might shed some light on that trend.