Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Rachel Portman
  • Disney / 55m

In what sounds like a bit of an Enchanted variant, Godmothered features a young trainee fairy godmother who travels into the real world in order to prove that people do still want wishes to come true. The trouble is, the person who sent a letter wanting a wish to be granted is no longer a ten-year-old innocent little girl, but a rather more cynical 40-year-old woman. The music comes from Rachel Portman, who gets the chance to offer her typical bouncy, tuneful music with more than a sprinkling of Disney magic added into it. Much of it sounds like it could have been written in the 1950s to be honest – it’s got that vintage sound from the animations of that time – but with Portman’s very recognisable voice shining through as well.

There are various themes, none of which really sticks in the memory like Portman’s best, and that is actually what holds the album back from being what it might have been. The ingredients are there: it’s tuneful, fairytale fantasy, big orchestral music – and that’s the kind of thing which when done well can be great – but because those tunes sort of blend into one another, it doesn’t quite reach the heights it may have done. My favourite of the themes is the Polar Express-like one featured in “House Proof” and elsewhere. Otherwise I think the score is at its best when Portman goes for sincere romance or drama rather than when she’s focusing more overtly on the magic or the frequent mickey-mousey comedy – “Mackenzie Asks Eleanor to Leave” is so very lovely, vintage Portman. The score certainly has a lot of strong moments and any Portman fan will enjoy it, it just doesn’t form into something as strong as the sum of its parts (and seems to last a lot longer than its 55-minute running time). Still – if we need anything at the end of 2020 then perhaps a musical evocation of a sweet, innocent fairytale is it.

Rating: *** | |

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