Geoff Zanelli, is a composer who works steadily in Hollywood, and has scored a number of sequels for box office hits, these include THE SCORPION KING 4, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN-DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES etc, and here he is again following in the footsteps of composer James Newton Howard with his latest score for MELEFICENT-MISTRESS OF EVIL. To be fair I think collectors go into listening to a sequel score which is not by the original composer, in this case JNH with a very negative attitude, firstly they are a bit miffed its not the original composer and secondly because they are at times just in a mood. I know I am guilty of it, but I came to this score with an open mind and listened to it through three times before reaching any kind of conclusion about if I liked it or indeed if it was any good or not. Ok, well it’s not James Newton Howard, but, it is in fact pretty good, Zanelli has created a whole new set of themes, which are pleasing and very interesting, plus he does incorporate fragments of the original JNH theme, which is nice to hear too. It is a fusion of symphonic and choral with a little support from the synthetic department. On listening to it I did feel it evoked some of those early Disney movies such as BAMBI and ALICE IN WONDERLAND etc, ( well as its a Disney production I suppose that is ok really) it has a sparkly and magical style and sound to it that is heart-warming and tear jerking . Of course, because this is a dark and at times evil fairy tale, there are a fair amount of the more shadowy and fearful sounding musical passages, where the composer brings into play ominous sounding brass and percussion with at times male choral work. I have to admit to being surprised at how good this is, I was expecting something of a repeat of his Pirates of the Caribbean effort, which I did not rate at all, but this score has an abundance of rich themes which he develops and builds upon as the score progresses and grows. Worth a listen.





It’s amazing that the Pirates of the Caribbean series began back in 2003, and is still by reactions from fans of the series on the latest addition to its cycle, going strong. The musical scores have played a big part in the popularity of the movies and have also become something of a standard on the radio and in concert performances of film music. The first movie in the series had a score credited to composer Klaus Badelt who in my opinion did a great job of enhancing and underlining the action and very tongue in cheek and over the top antics of Captain Jack Sparrow masterfully portrayed by the highly talented Johnny Depp, and this is where I get confused Badlet scored the first movie, yes? So Badlet also created the now familiar PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN theme Yes? Or maybe no? because the next instalment, DEAD MANS CHEST also contains the very same theme but the credit this time goes to Hans Zimmer, confused yes, I am a little me hearties. Then came AT WORLDS END which followed on very quickly behind DEAD MANS CHEST in fact it was in cinemas less than a year after DEAD MANS CHEST, again music credited to Hans Zimmer, so at this point are we thinking who is Klaus Badlet? Up next we have in 2011 ON STRANGER SHORES, again its Mr Zimmer, but is the theme still present yes me hearties it be there arrrr, oops sorry was slipping into character whilst splicing the main brace and standing on the poop deck. So, I am still confused, Badlet or Zimmer, or did Zimmer have a hand in the original? when the films were not popular or an unknown quantity, then when the films began to gain a large audience Zimmer decided ummm now hang on a sec, maybe I should have agreed to have my name on the first movies credits for that theme. There is certainly no doubt that the theme is filled with everything that is love him or hate him Hans Zimmer, it evokes BACKDRAFT for example and brings into play the grandeur and the dramatic power of GLADIATOR, so maybe Zimmer did write it, and very graciously gave the credit to Badlet, not sure, so I won’t pursue this any further because I am becoming as befuddled as Captain Jack. The scores for the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series are probably some of the best and arguably the worst of the 21st century thus far, they are filled with the correct amount of yo ho ho and are also bulging with numerous bottles of rum, copious amounts of skulls and cross bones etc, and if anyone says any different I will keel haul you and make you walk the plank. So, to the latest offering PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN-DEAD MAN TELL NO TALES, OR SALAZARS REVENGE, see the motley crew in search of the Trident of Poseidon, the tale is filled with action and mystical goings on. The movie has been met with mixed reviews and I must say by looking I have found most of the critic’s reviews to be a little negative, it is sad at times when a franchise or series of movies out stays its welcome, and maybe just maybe Pirates has done this and really should now be heading towards Davy Jones locker to rest forever.


The score for DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is credited to Geoff Zanelli, who although at times does burst into the Badlet, sorry Zimmer Pirates theme at times, has for the most part as far as I can hear written an entirely original sounding work for the movie, which is something of a breath of fresh air these days in film. However, there are as I say certain points win his score where the influence of the past Pirates scores seep through, but this is certainly not a negative. Zanelli’s score for me is more developed or has more substance than the past two works in the series, but also it does somehow lack any real punch or power as I was waiting each time it seemed to get underway for it to build and become even more of a commanding powerhouse of a score, but instead each time it just held back. Please do not take this the wrong way, as the music is for the most part good, but it is a basic action score in the end with no real surprises and nothing that kind of stands out or comes along and hits you in between the eyes and wows you. There is no doubt it is a serviceable score within the movie, but away from it as a listening experience I was not bowled over, three exceptions are the tracks entitled KILL THE FILTHY PIRATE, I,LL WAIT, I,VE COME WTH THE BUTCHERS BILL and TREASURE which are in parts interesting because the composer manages to sustain a decent pace and momentum throughout both, with that Badlet, No sorry, Zimmer theme weaving in and out. Zanelli is a fine composer and I have for many a year admired his scores, but this PIRATES episode I think is maybe PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN-ON TEPID MUSICAL WATERS.