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FLY ME TO THE MOON
Enjoyable animated adventure score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 nWave Pictures; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall.
A 3-D animated adventure about some flies who get on-board the Apollo 11 mission, Fly Me to the Moon is believed to be the first-ever animated film specifically created for 3-D. I'm not sure I fully understand the resurgence of interest in 3-D, and perhaps audiences haven't either, since the film's grossed under $2m so far despite the usual assortment of famous names providing the voices (including, here, Buzz Aldrin!) The music is from Ramin Djawadi, who provided one of the year's best-reviewed films, Iron Man, with the worst mainstream Hollywood score I can remember; fortunately he has fared far better this time around.
While it goes without saying that there is nothing fresh here, this is very charming, warm-hearted music and these days you can't expect any more than that for this sort of film. The couple of cues which open the album are arguably the best - "Cape Canaveral" and "Junkyard Dreams" have a beautiful, wistful quality about them which promises much. The rest of the first half of the album is mostly action music which is OK, but sadly has the hideous Media Ventures brass sound which was pretty cheap when first employed 20 years ago and is downright laughable today. Such a shame that otherwise-decent music is spoiled by the most asinine, banal brass arrangements (with the brass section of course "augmented" - aka "ruined" - by the sort of synthesised brass sounds you could make on those digital watches you used to be able to buy in 1982).
Then things get rescued considerably. First is "Lift Off" - so brief you almost don't have time to notice what a blatant rip-off of Apollo 13 it is - and then after an excerpt from the Blue Danube come the magical "Waltz in Space" and "I Did It Grandpa", and amusing little Russian ditty "From Russia With Love" which all goes a bit Pirates of the Caribbean (the Zimmer factory motto "what works in a film about swashbuckling on the high seas will also work in a film about ants stowing away on a manned trip to the Moon" has clearly been employed) but is pretty nice. As usual, the action music which is lighthearted is much more enjoyable than that which takes itself seriously - ironically there are few things in film music funnier than the Media Ventures sound being employed in a way which is meant to be anything other than a lighthearted way - and "Saving the Mission" seems to take a self-depracating tone, almost revelling in its silliness and being none the worse for that. Djawadi almost pulls it off later in "Manual Landing" - but that brass...
All of this is probably a bit negative because this is music with its heart in the right place and is undoubtedly entertaining and a fun listen. You know you're not going to get anything especially creative from a certain group of composers, so scores like this live or die pretty much based on how entertaining they can be - and even at virtually an hour, this album sustains its enjoyable, easy-listening qualities well. It's a shame the bar has been lowered so far down, but at the moment we must accept that it has, and take what we can get; and listening to this is a perfectly pleasant way of spending an hour.