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  • Composed by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe
  • Lakeshore Records LKS 341992 / 2010 / 48:10

Dreamworks Animation have decided to take a completely new tack with Megamind, an animation with a cynical mind and which is full of pop culture references which will render the thing unwatchable before long.  Oh, wait, that’s just like almost all their other films.  Also like all their other films, Hans Zimmer is on-board for the score, sharing the credit with Lorne Balfe.  The last new score from Zimmer was probably the year’s best so far (Inception); one suspects he had rather less direct involvement this time.  Indeed, it seems entirely possible that his most strenuous activity relating to this film was cashing the cheque.  The bulk of the work was surely by Balfe.  His career to date includes some spectacularly unlikely credits (including The Jeremy Kyle Show, a programme which will be unfamiliar to many readers of this page – it’s a kind of UK equivalent of Jerry Springer, featuring and watched exclusively by people whose IQ is less than their shoe size).

Oh yes, the score.  The music from these Dreamworks animations has almost always been very enjoyable.  Like the films, the scores tend to aim quite low – while the films aim low and sometimes miss anyway, with the exception of the truly execrable Madagascar and its sequel, the scores have managed to do well.  Like the others, there isn’t much personality here – it’s rather generic orchestral action/adventure music – but there’s a genuine sense of fun and this is the sort of music which will leave a smile on many film music fans’ faces, which sometimes is just what the doctor ordered.  Some vaguely Elfman-ish sci-fi parts are the score’s distinguishing feature, but they are by no means prominent; rather, it’s mostly very tuneful, pleasant, well-written and well-performed but entirely forgettable music.  Taking the four songs out of the equation, there’s barely half an hour’s score here and it passes the time very nicely – but if anyone can remember a note of it once it’s over, I’d be surprised.  There’s no denying it, though – this score has a big heart and while it’s far from being as distinguished as the scores for recent Disney and Pixar animations (or indeed those scored by John Powell), it is still highly enjoyable.  Fans of Bee Movie, Over the Hedge etc will love it.  ***

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  1. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Friday 29 October, 2010 at 20:56

    So if Inception was the year’s best so far, where’s it’s review?

    Oh, and, once again I don’t agree with you: Inception is, to me, one of the most disappointing major Zimmer blockbuster scores in years ^^ I even preferred his work on the Batman franchise.

    This one’s loads of fun though. Like you said, I’d chalk it down more to Lorne Balfe than Hans Zimmer, to be honest.

  2. Michael (Reply) on Saturday 30 October, 2010 at 08:32

    Yeah I would love to see an inception review James. If you have the time that is. I had no idea you liked it that much.

  3. Juanki (Reply) on Saturday 30 October, 2010 at 12:35

    Actually I think as well “Inception” is best score of the year so far (beating “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Last Airbender” and the extremely overrated “How to Train a Dragon”). I expect a James’ review as soon as he can do it. Looks like he is waiting to rewatch movie again before publishing.

  4. A. Rubinstein (Reply) on Sunday 31 October, 2010 at 14:05

    Assuming that you weren’t cynical about the Inception remark, I have to say that I’m surprised. After reading virtually every single review you wrote here for the last 13 years or so, I thought I had a pretty good notion of your musical taste. But apparently I was wrong, and now I have no idea what to expect from Megamind, because I found Inception to be a daft and shallow score which really represented Zimmer at his worst.

    • James Southall (Reply) on Monday 1 November, 2010 at 07:53

      No, I was being serious about Inception. It’s the third Zimmer score which I like unreservedly. I was all set for it being as disappointing as his other two Nolan scores but I thought it was imaginative and compelling throughout. The reason I didn’t review it was I was waiting to see the film, but a host of factors conspired against that and it didn’t happen. I’ll do it during a catch-up at the end of the year.

  5. Michael (Reply) on Monday 1 November, 2010 at 08:25

    This is fantastic news. I also think Inception is one of the year’s best (one of, not THE best for me). It can be a bit hard to admit that when everyone takes the Filmtracks review as gospel, but that was a horribly amateurish review (and I wouldn’t normally accuse Clemmensen of that). It is probably the only truly negative review I’ve seen of Zimmer’s score. Once again I enjoy your reviews for the fact that they are at the very least unpredictable, and stem from tastes very different to MMUK and Filmtracks. I look forward to the review.

  6. LP (Reply) on Friday 5 November, 2010 at 07:42

    Like Bee Movie, there are some good stuff in here. The themes grows on you with its many variations. It feels more like a romantic comedy score with action elements, mostly due to the overt inspirations from Zimmer’s comedy genre scores. I enjoyed this one a lot more than I had expected it be.