KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.

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More animated adventure hits the cinema screens late this summer with KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, this tale of adventure set in ancient Japan is laced with mystical and magical undertones and scored by Dario Marianelli, who has created a score that is certainly worth a listen, fully symphonic and also containing performances on ethnic Japanese instruments, I have to say I enjoyed this immensely. The movie which is produced by LAIKA STUDIOS who were responsible for THE BOXTROLLS tells the story of a young boy KUBO, who’s life has been thrown into disarray and turmoil after accidentally summoning a vengeful spirit from the past. This forces KUBO to go on the run and also join forces with MONKEY and BEETLE the trio then set out to unlock a secret legacy. Kubo armed with a magical instrument must find and do battle with the powerful MOON KING and other Gods and monsters to save his family and also to solve the mystery that lies behind the death of his Father who was the greatest Samurai warrior the world has ever seen. Marianelli’s score is filled to overflowing with sumptuous and richly thematic pieces, these range from comedic interludes, highly romantic and poignant compositions that are filled with swelling strings and lilting woodwinds to the dramatic and frantically action filled cues that are reminiscent of either gothic horror film scores or full on action movies with scores by the likes of Horner, Goldsmith and Silvestri.

The soundtrack has an air of the mystical about it also the composer employing choir to great effect at times,(again evoke the Horner sound, in movies such as WILLOW) percussion too takes a leading role and drives the score along at breakneck speed at key points within the work, strings, percussion and brass join forces in number of the cues to create a thundering and relentlessly fearsome combination in cues such as ABOVE AND BELOW which is Wagnerian in its style and sound at the off set, but after the initial opening soon takes a downward turn and becomes more mystical, this mood is short lived also, the orchestra rising and launching into a foreboding and non-stop all action pieces that is filled with powerful and rhythmic percussion that underlines and augments the composers rasping brass flourishes and driving strings. I personally adore track number, 11 MONKEYS STORY, it is so emotive and beautiful, the subtle use of strings brings out the heartfelt and highly affecting use of the KOTO and is certainly one of the highlights of the score. There are numerous exciting and adventure filled cues within this soundtrack but there are an equal number of lavish and lush sounding themes which make one’s hairs stand on end. This is a wonderfully theme laden score, that is in many ways what I call good old fashion film music, in other words one with substance and actual themes. highly recommended.

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SAUSAGE PARTY.

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Well I have to say I am not a fan of scores for animated movies, well most of them anyway, although in recent years with John Powell writing some truly great material for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and Patrick Doyle on board with his score for BRAVE there have been a few exceptions, I say a few please make note of that. When I heard about SAUSAGE PARTY I thought this is animation gone nuts, when you think of animation you automatically think it’s for the kiddiewinks, come on now you know you do. Well stop it because unless your ankle biter is 15 or above there is no way they will get to see SAUSAGE PARTY at the cinema, what you do when it comes out on DVD is entirely up to you.

The food products at Shop-Well’s Supermarket are led to believe a code that helps them live happy lives until it’s time for them to leave the comfort of their store and travel to the Great Beyond. However, after a trip to the Great Beyond goes wrong and leaves one sausage named Frank and his companion Bun stranded, Frank goes to extreme lengths to return to his packaging and make another trip to the outside. But as he makes his way from one end of the store to the other, Frank’s quest to discover the truth about his existence as a sausage turns incredibly dark and uncomfortable. Will he be able to tell his fellow foods what lies in store for them beyond the doors of the supermarket and persuade them to take action and rise up against their human masters?
The soundtrack for this somewhat unusual and bizarre animated feature is now available and contains a mix of songs and score, music is a collaboration between Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz, both of whom are well versed in how to score an animated feature. This however is a little different from your run of the mill animated capers, I think it contains more bad language than SOUTH PARK and any of the Tarantino movies put together, it’s an attempt at humour but to be honest I was not that amused. The songs on the release include items by WHAM, MEATLOAF, SPANDUA BALLET and ERIC CARMEN. But it’s the score I am concerned with so onwards and upwards, I have to say although I am not impressed with the movie I do like the original score and was amused by the various musical references from other film scores that Menken and Lennertz managed to weave into the fabric of their score. In fact, I found the score more entertaining than the movie for which was created, there is even an Italian western flavoured cue (track number 9, HE’S COMING) which contains soaring trumpet, electric guitar and a nod in the direction of Morricone’s THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY for a brief moment.

The most amusing and entertaining cue has to be track number 10 FOOD MASSACRE, which starts out as a very light and typically cartoon like piece, then suddenly bursts into psycho like strings that segue perfectly into a take on Jerry Goldsmiths satanic chorus from THE OMEN, it’s all a bit tongue in cheek but oh so effective. There are a number of these big orchestral cues within the score, brass and strings combining to create highly dramatic and fearful sounding pieces with choir and percussion in tow, THE BIG FIGHT for example is in my opinion another nod in the direction of a classic in the form of Bill Conti’s ROCKY score, striving strings, timpani, a bell and brass flourishes are in full flight and then it just stops in its tracks and slides into a Mexican mariachi type trumpet composition, but you have to see the movie to appreciate this. There is no doubt that SAUSAGE PARTY contains an entertaining score, and both the composers have delivered a work that I know as film music collectors you will just love, there are so many film music references thrown in here or at least sound-alike cues and interludes it is just a blast listening out for anything that they might want to throw in and it’s got to be a first an Alan Menken track with explicit lyrics, I kid you not. Also check out the multicultural end song THE GREAT BEYOND, AROUND THE WORLD, this is a score worth investing in. It’s great, it’s fun and you should so check it out. So what you waiting for, available on CD, Spotify and I Tunes.