Reviews - Meet The Robinsons

Review by Bluntinstrument

One of the most rewarding features of following the career of a composer like Danny Elfman is not knowing exactly how he will approach each project. There are distinct styles he feels comfortable with but these represent a pretty wide variety. Take his scores for Charlotte's Web and Meet The Robinsons. Where Charlotte's Web is gentle, idyllic, understated and felt overlong and featureless on disc (although it gave the film a beautiful warm and charming glow), Meet The Robinsons is brash, animated, dramatic and leaps onto disc in a pleasingly compact 25 minutes. Granted Meet The Robinsons is a very different film: it has pacing, colour and dramatic variety, but a decent accompanying score is only half a film composer's true calling. To pick up a CD and be instantly swept away back into that world with the aid of enoyable themes and an all-round flow to the music that enables it to live on its own is a virtue that turns an accomplished score into a brilliant one. On the down side there is the lack of the Elfman equivalent of the Independence Day White House money shot - the cue that blows you away - and much of what is here is echoed in previous scores such as Flubber, MiiB (esp track 13), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; but the old charm never misses a beat, and there is a such a good balance and fluid exchange of the bittersweet 3/4 and merry 2/4 that this score makes a lively addition to the filmography, marking also Danny Elfman's first animated feature. Note that the composer was working against a bevy of songs by other artists, plus one with his own themes, and is not given an opportunity to give a rousing main title cue (only a touching prologue) or closing credits roundoff, which effects the strength of his score on CD.
Verdict: thanks to an inspiring film, the Elfman magic shines bright again, but this is merely a very good Elfman score and not quite a classic contender.
Score rating: * * *
CD release rating: * * * (feeling generous after not being drowned in 40 minutes of 1 minute cues)
P.S. Keep your ears glued to 'Doris has her day' for the brief Matrix sentinel nudge. And what nutty professor decided Rufus Wainwright would be just perfect for kiddy animation?! I thought I'd tuned into Magic Roundabout territory...

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