Once upon a time, Danny Elfman was one of the most revered film composers in Hollywood. Armed with an instantly identifiable sound and a gift for picking projects (and directors) who suited his talents perfectly, Elfman was essentially movie music royalty. Then, something happened – Elfman continued to find high profile work, but the quality of the soundtracks seemed to taper off. We’re at a point now where many would be hard pressed to recall the last truly memorable Elfman score. Hollywood’s a place where you can fail upward, though – and everyone loves rooting for famous folks to return to their former glory, so news that Elfman has several new projects in the works is at least somewhat exciting.
The musician has already signed on to score Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful – which is an unexpected surprise since the duo had a well-publicized falling out during the filming of Spider-Man 2. Things were reportedly so bad during the shooting of that film that Elfman said he’d go back to waiting tables rather than go through the process again.
Apparently, the duo have buried the hatchet – which is good news, because Raimi’s Oz is a project that seems perfectly suited for Elfman’s light and bouncy style. If ever there were a project where the composer could recapture the magic of the past, it would seem to be this one.
That’s hardly the only film on his plate, however. Elfman has already signed on for Real Steel, Frankenweenie, and Dark Shadows (the last two reuniting him with frequent collaborator Tim Burton) and is in negotiations to provide the score for next year’s The Hunger Games.
While that deal hasn’t been finalized, Elfman seems excited by the prospect of working on the hotly anticipated film. He tells Buzzine “That deal’s not even closed, it may not even happen, but we’re well along with that.” Personally, we’re less excited by the prospect of the former Oingo Boingo member scoring that movie than we are about his work on Oz, but maybe a change of pace will be good for him. [Update: We've been told exclusively that Elfman is definitely scoring The Hunger Games with T. Bone Burnett, who recently won an Oscar for his work on Crazy Heart]
While news of Elfman providing music for a film isn’t quite the event it used to be, we’re hoping that he gets his groove back on at least one of these projects – because the movie world is a better place when Danny Elfman is on top of his game than when he’s just going through the motions.
What do you think? Is lesser Danny Elfman music still better than most of the scores out there? What’s your favorite piece of Elfman film music? Opine in the comment section below.