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The Lego Batman Movie
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • WaterTower Music / 2017 / 94m (score 54m)

The Lego Movie was so successful back in 2014 that further instalments were inevitable.  Batman appeared briefly in it and now gets his own spinoff, featuring all the characters you’d expect, lots of wit and frenetic energy and pop culture references galore.  The same is very much true of Lorne Balfe’s score, which gets through an awful lot of ground in its 54 minutes (the soundtrack album also features a song album on another disc).  With references to the music from the Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan Batman movies plus the 1960s tv series, along with a decent core of fresh thematic material, the score does a lot of work and you can tell how carefully Balfe has put it together – a real labour of love, by the sound of things.

The lengthy opening cue “Black” starts with a Danny Elfman reference, gets to Hans Zimmer before long, has a little bit of Elliot Goldenthal in there, and also introduces the amusing theme for Batman himself.  Then in “Your Greatest Enemy” comes the theme for the Joker, which is a full-on parody of the Hans Zimmer theme.  The pick of the bunch is Robin’s theme, first heard in “The Arrival of Robin” but more expansively later in “No Seat Belts Required”, a fantastic cue also featuring the Neal Hefti theme.  The choir chanting “The Phantom Zone” during the cue called “The Phantom Zone” is very funny; the manic action of “Chaos in Gotham” is a joy to behold; and “For Your Own Good” is really lovely.  There’s a lot here to admire – comedy scores like this are pretty hard to get right, and Balfe nails it – but as a listening experience on album it’s less successful than it is as a film score.  Its sheer energy as it carries you along is enough to keep the entertainment coming, but there is almost too much packed in, the changes in style sometimes so frequent, the pace so unwaveringly swift, you’re left building up a real sweat just listening to it.  Still – it’s a lot of fun, it brings a frequent smile to the face, and sometimes you can’t ask for more than that.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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  1. Jules (Reply) on Tuesday 28 February, 2017 at 04:28

    I completely missed the depth in this on my brief listen. Heard a couple of tracks and then dismissed it as noisy electronica. It may have something to do with listening to John Wick Chapter 2 just beforehand, and being sick of that sound. Thanks a lot for your review James.

  2. Daniel Henderson (Reply) on Thursday 2 March, 2017 at 19:48

    You left out the best part of the album: Who’s the (Bat)Man! Best track on the entire album by far…