A MONSTER CALLS is not released officially until the new year (2017) and by all accounts this is a real tear jerker of a movie that is beautifully filmed and superbly acted by all concerned. Based on the novel by Patrick Ness. This is movie that teaches us that we must face up to our problems in life and be honest about what problems we do have. The story focuses upon an 11-year-old boy, Connor, who is being bullied at school and has an even greater worry on his mind, because his Mother has cancer and he is in constant fear that should could die at any time. The Monster that calls is an old and very wise tree monster voiced wonderfully by Liam Neeson. At first the Monster is fearsome and aggressive but as things progress the boy and the monster become friends. The music for the movie is by Spanish born composer, Fernando Velazquez, and once again he has produced a score that brims with melody and attractive themes which support and underline the at times fast paced storyline and compliment and augment the more emotive and poignant scenarios within the film. The composers delicate and affecting touch adds another dimension to the actual story that is unfolding on screen, plus the composers musical score ingratiates all that it meets. The opening track on the compact disc, is a perfect opener to the work, CONOR WAKES UP/MAIN TITLE is an entertaining and totally absorbing cue, the composer utilising a light and fragile sounding piano for most, the composition, which is mirrored by a childlike sounding chime that is almost lullaby like, but within the cue there is also a slightly more sinister or darker side, when choir is added momentarily to give the piece a fearsome or foreboding sound. Track number two, DRAWING, is a slightly more apprehensive and dissonant sounding piece, with strings and choir introducing the cue, these however soon melt away and give way to the lighter sounding style that was present within the MAIN TITLE. Track three is a lot more dissonant and fearsome, THE MONSTER WAKES UP is a collaboration of percussive elements, brass flourishes. choir and threatening and stressful strings which evokes certain sections of the composers score for DEVIL, low strings that are underlined by a deliberate and threatening percussive beat and swirling strings and voices works both with and away from the screen action. Jumping forward to track number six, THE FIRST TALE which is I have to say my favourite cue, this I think is like a mini overture for the score, it contains many of the themes that are included within the soundtrack and the composer weaves these together cleverly to create a piece works wonderfully to film, but is also a rich and rewarding listen, it is filled with powerful and at times abrasive interludes, which are complimented and interspersed with some beautiful tone poems performed by woods and strings, which are brought to life and given a magical persona by the use of delicate piano and shimmering chiming effects.
But the cue alters from being a subdued and lilting composition to an action led and commanding force approximately midway through with the brass and strings taking the lead backed up by percussion, the taught and somewhat aggressive musical persona forging ahead as if it is an unstoppable force, this then melts away and we are returned to the poignant and emotive side of the work, with piano once again being in the forefront underlined by strings. I like the way the composer utilises organ within the score, it brings to the work a sinister but at the same time safe and warm feeling, it is an instrument I suppose that is associated with both good and evil. The cue I WISH I HAD A MILLION YEARS is one that will leave listeners mesmerised, a heavenly sounding choir and strings combine with piano to create a melancholy and absorbing mood, as does the rich and romantic sound achieved with the films END CREDITS. The emotion and the sadness of the films storyline is brought to the forefront in the final cue on the compact disc and digital download. MONTAGE, includes dialogue from the movie being underscored by the composers highly affecting music, this is certainly a tearjerker of a film, but I have a feeling that the musical score might have a lot to do with creating this also. In my opinion this is another triumph for Velazquez, and one of the film score highlights of 2016 and I for one look forward to more from this highly talented and ever original Maestro.