Latest reviews of new albums:
Dolphin Tale 2
  • Composed by Rachel Portman
  • Lakeshore Records / 2014 / 49m

A successful family drama from 2011, Dolphin Tale was, according to Wikipedia, it was “inspired by the true story of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin that was rescued in December 2005 off the Florida coast and taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium” – given that its plot concerns Winter, a bottlenose dolphin that was rescued in December 2010 off the Florida coast and taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, it would appear that the filmmakers did not take great liberties with the story.  The film was scored by the reliable Mark Isham, extraordinarily prolific around that time and the years before but very rarely heard from today, shortly afterwards.  His score was pleasant enough for the most part but surprisingly unmemorable; whether that’s why he hasn’t returned for the sequel (most of the rest of the filmmakers have) I don’t know; or perhaps he really is just taking a bit of a career break.  In any case, the score for the sequel is provided by Rachel Portman, who by contrast seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance of late.

With no disrespect intended, I can only think of one thing in the world more predictable than a Rachel Portman score for a film like this, and that’s my review of it, which is why I waffled on for the first 50% of it and am continuing to waffle now.  If you don’t know what all 49 minutes of it sound like before you even listen to it, the only possibly reason could be that you’ve never heard anything else by Portman.  It’s pleasant, there’s a flowing, flowery main theme, some twinkly piano dramatic interludes, a little light-touch “action” music.  It’s faultlessly listenable from start to finish, but doesn’t really stick in the memory or have anything to set it apart from literally 25 or more of her other scores.  Having said that – the same things that made all those others so enjoyable are there, so if you can get over the familiarity of it all then there’s absolutely nothing here to dislike.  The theme is a delight, the album breezes past in no time… if you like The Cider House Rules, Chocolat and all the rest, then of course you’ll like this too, but the only surprise would be if there’s anything in it that surprises you in any way.

Rating: *** | |

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