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Pets United
  • Composed by David Newman
  • Milan / 62m

A stray dog teams up with a high-society cat to save their city in Pets United, from director Reinhard Klooss. His previous two movies were both scored by David Newman, who returns to provide the movie with an energetic (and loud!) score typical of his work in animation. The movie itself was released in China in late 2019 but seems to be going straight to streaming elsewhere – it’s due on Netflix shortly. The fantastic opening title music is a bit like Alexandre Desplat’s The Secret Life of Pets on steroids – big band, big tune, very high energy – very entertaining. And the score rarely lets up from that point onwards.

It’s a combination of that big band sound with more traditional orchestral underscoring – many of the cues are pretty short and there is a lot of mickey-mousing, but it’s very satisfying. We get big, bold action music (“Roger’s Flashback / Destruction of City”), sweetness (“Roger Goes Shopping”) and more colourful theatrics (“Sheriff Bill Chases Roger”) – and that’s all within the first few minutes. There are some terrific highlights: the thunderous “Bots Chase Roger” with its jazzy interludes amongst full-bodied orchestral action is really good; the quirky “The Zoo” which combines wild percussion with little jazzy effects; the absolutely lovely “Belle is Alone / Roger’s Story”; the brief but brilliant action track “They Leave the Apartment” (there are more notes in its 71 seconds than in some ten-minute cues!); and of course a big, sweeping happy ending. It’s all very enjoyable music, really – what prevents it from becoming a top-tier album is the lack of genuinely memorable thematic material. There are repeating motifs but they tend to fade from the mind quickly. Otherwise, an easy recommendation.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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