Dark Knight Rises App Is a Musical Tour of Gotham City

Composer Hans Zimmer puts customized Batman sounds on your iPhone

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To get the full Dark Knight Rises musical experience, you need plenty more than the 52-minute soundtrack. You need mobile interaction, or so says the movie’s composer, Hans Zimmer.

With such a lengthy film comes a hefty musical companion, but Zimmer told the Los Angeles Times that he wanted an “exciting CD,” forcing him to chop down what was available on the official score to roughly a third of the film’s audio, including cutting out four of his original compositions.

But there’s a way to capture the entire musical experience: Warner Bros. imprint WaterTower Music hopes the rabid following that consumes everything Batman-related carries over to music too, with a new iOS mobile app — The Dark Knight Rises Z+ — that contains all the music from the film, and plenty of behind-the-scenes tidbits too.

(MORE: Is The Dark Knight Rises the Greatest Blockbuster Ever?)

Though the app starts out free, there are three levels of in-app purchases that require a bit of cash. For the simple music lover in you, $3.99 opens up the door to 21 of Zimmer’s tracks, the differing “suites” designed for Bane and Catwoman. The chronology of the movie is mimicked with the order of songs, a follow-along flow for devout fans. Along with the audio tracks, expect plenty of commentary from Zimmer and director Christopher Nolan, discussing how the music — with its ever changing moods — ties into Nolan’s direction.

To further enhance the mood — of your iPhone, that is — opt for the $5.99 “Gotham City by Night” add-on that puts the app in control of selecting the right mood-setting sounds based on the time of day and location of the user. Nothing says The Dark Knight Rises geek like having the eerie sounds of Gotham playing while you walk the streets (or the halls of your office).

Toss in an extra 99 cents and you can have the full array of sound effects from the movie to impress your other Batman-loving friends.

Zimmer tells the Times that he really aims to get his music in front of a new audience, one that goes far beyond film music buffs. And with only five soundtracks in the top 200 albums, that may prove quite the challenge. That’s why Zimmer opted for something different from a straight download and augmented the basic album with the customization. “I think it’s nice that in this day and age, where everything is mass produced, here is something that adjusts to your situation,” he says. “This customizes the experience a little bit.”

This is a model Nolan and Zimmer followed after Inception in 2010. But now with the Batman trilogy all wrapped up, Zimmer is also exploring ways to bring the full musical experience of all the films to users in one collection. “I wanted to avoid the cliché…but I can’t,” Zimmer told the Times. “The idea is that it becomes a soundtrack to your life, and I want to find ways to get this kind of music out there in different ways. I want to do something more than a straight download or a CD.”

MORE: TIME’s Review of The Dark Knight Rises

3 comments
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Dominic Fuller
Dominic Fuller

oh,,,thats nice...only for iphone / ipads,,cause no one uses Android i guess?

f_galton
f_galton

My one complaint about TIME magazine is that it does not have enough articles about or relating to The Dark Knight.

Classical Music Headphones
Classical Music Headphones

You can get the 21 song album inside the app for $3.99, which is less than half the price of the CD. Not a bad deal...I guess you can't listen to the soundtrack outside of the app, however. I wrote a review of the various TDKR soundtracks here, if you're interested: 

http://www.squidoo.com/the-dar...