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Puss in Boots
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Sony Classical / 2011 / 65:51

A spinoff from the Shrek franchise, Puss In Boots gives a starring role to the Zorroish cat voiced by Antonio Banderas.  Director Chris Miller (who was also in charge of the third film in the main series) enlisted composer Henry Jackman, now a reasonably well-known “primary composer” in the Hans Zimmer crew, having toiled away on “additional composer” duties for many years.  The score has two primary influences – James Horner’s Zorro scores and Ennio Morricone’s westerns.  In the case of the former, there is frequent, largely-undisguised use of music which is extremely similar to Horner’s – not just the melodies, but the very distinctive foot-tapping arrangements.  This is a little unfortunate – Horner’s music (unlike the Morricone music also referenced) is surely not famous enough that this could be considered a parody or pastiche, so essentially it’s just plain stealing.

Get over that, and there’s an extremely enjoyable album here (and I’m the first to note that Horner’s main Zorro theme – which isn’t here – was not the most original of compositions itself).  The bulk of it is actually in the traditional Dreamworks Animation music style (Gregson-Williams, Powell et al) but with a Latin twist, thanks to all the guitars and trumpets.  It’s absolutely chock-full of terrific action music, which is riotously good fun and enhanced no end by Rodrigo and Gabriela’s guitar performances (there are also a couple of tracks from one of their earlier albums on the album).  There are a few themes here – not especially memorable, but this is designed to be fairly disposable popcorn fun and it’s that to the nth degree.  This is one of the most unoriginal scores of the year – but one of the most enjoyable score albums and unquestionably Jackman’s most impressive to date.  ****

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  1. spielboy (Reply) on Wednesday 30 November, 2011 at 01:04

    someone reuses/quotes/inspired by music of James Horner and it’s called stealing. Now that’s ironic! :))