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Monte Carlo
  • Composed by Michael Giacchino
  • Varese Sarabande / 2011 / 48:11

Three young women vacationing in Paris find themselves whisked away to Monte Carlo after one of the girls is mistaken for a British heiress.  So goes the official plot summary of Monte Carlo.  If you are of a certain demographic (for instance, you are my wife or are someone who has little choice but to go to the cinema with my wife), you will no doubt already have your tickets booked to see this.  If you are of a certain other demographic (one which has heard a lot of film music over the years – and a subset of this demographic is married to my wife – I will draw a Venn diagram* later to illustrate all these complexities) then you probably already know what the score sounds like – it hardly matters who wrote it.

In fact, the guy who wrote it is one of the finest film composers around today, Michael Giacchino.  I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that his more popular music falls outside the romantic comedy genre (indeed, his work in that genre doesn’t extend far beyond The Family Stone – directed by the same guy as this).  His ability to conjure up a pretty tune is well-used here – there are at least a couple of them, heard multiple times each – and it’s all very pleasant, in that predictably fluffy way, not without a certain Manciniesque charm.  But let’s not kid anyone – other than that man Mancini (and Barry and Delerue), few scores for films of this type leave much of a lasting impression, and this certainly doesn’t.  There’s nothing wrong with any of the music and I’m sure it does the job it was written to do (i.e. support the film) perfectly well.  The problem with the album can be summed up in four words – 48 minutes, 40 tracks.  Only five tracks are longer than two minutes long and many of them are incredibly similar to each other.  This is not a score which was really designed to be heard on an album – the (slightly) longer pieces are certainly worth hearing, but the 35 short ones which surround them add little.  **

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*Important notice: this is probably the first soundtrack review to reference a Venn diagram.  I am astonished that neither I nor anyone else has thought to do this before and I fully intend to do it more regularly from now on.

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  1. PT (Reply) on Wednesday 6 July, 2011 at 20:53

    the complexity of a Venn diagram is directly related to the number of pints you’ve had

  2. MIles (Reply) on Saturday 29 October, 2011 at 06:21

    While we’re on Giacchino’s 2011 output, I don’t suppose you’ll be reviewing Super 8 anytime soon?

  3. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 31 October, 2011 at 19:24

    I will indeed. In fact I’ve already written it and the review will appear tomorrow.