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  • monsters_aliensComposed by Henry Jackman
  • Lakeshore Records LKS34069  / 2009 / 65:46

Dreamworks Animation’s first 3D movie seemed to engage the kids earlier in 2009, doing decent box office and attracting reasonably favourable notices.  Musically, Dreamworks Animation means one thing – Hans Zimmer.These days he doesn’t often take top billing himself, and for Monsters vs Aliens the main credit goes to Henry Jackman (the first major film for which he has received main composer credit).  Frankly, whoever gets their name on the cover, these scores usually follow the same model – fun, largely-orchestral music which is completely undemanding and at the same time most enjoyable.  This, I’m pleased to say, follow suit.  Of all the types of film for which the Zimmer style is routinely applied, I’d say these animations are where it routinely works best.  While it would be nice if each film could get a more distinctive sound (compare this with the better Pixar scores, for instance) – the sound they do get, while generic, does produce entertaining results.

This album provides a generous amount of score (over 45 minutes) mixed in with a few songs, and it’s all well-composed, easy-listening stuff.  It goes in one ear and out of the other – there’s nothing here to stick around in the memory – but sometimes that’s what you want from an album.  It’s hard to say that the musical style has progressed in any way since Antz, the first CGI animated film from the studio, and I can’t imagine it will stick around forever, but for fans of this style, of course that’s no problem.  This very pleasant album comes recommended – there’s no creativity here, but there is certainly fun to be had.  ***

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  1. mastadge (Reply) on Thursday 15 October, 2009 at 20:17

    This was, for me, a very disappointing score. I kept hearing how fun it was, but when I finally listened to it — it wasn’t. It had a few fun moments, but nowhere near the energy and momentum of, for instance, AntZ (which I enjoy tremendously) (or, for that matter, the apparently Jackman-composed “Up Is Down” from the third Pirates film). Then again, I thought the movie was overrated too, bland and dishonest even for a commercial animated comedy. I’m curious to see what Jackman does for the live-action Gulliver’s Travels.

  2. JNH (Reply) on Friday 16 October, 2009 at 10:00

    Are you seriously giving this score the same rate as Up?

  3. James Southall (Reply) on Friday 16 October, 2009 at 17:45

    JNH – the perils of star ratings. I don’t think it’s nearly as good as Up, but can’t think of better ratings for either.