ARTHUR CHRISTMAS - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2011)
If you had watched the yuletide offering produced by Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures animation, and had seen the film version of Justin Bieber’s music video “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, we are hoping that you are not a big fan of the song – because it is not included on this soundtrack album.
It is a good thing the radio friendly tune isn’t part of this soundtrack though, because it would have kind of spoilt the overall rating of this recommended collection of music composed by the prolific British composer Harry Gregson-Williams. The 47 minute disc contains 17 score tracks and a lovely old school tune “Make Someone Happy” performed by Bill Nighy, The acclaimed English actor, who voices Grand Santa in the movie, is unlike tha 136 year old cranky father who hates the modern world he plays on this joyful song.
Of course, the attention is really on the Golden Globe nominated composer, known for his work on adventure films like The Chronicle of Narnia series, as well as his music on animated movies like the Shrek series. Here, his talent on these two genres is very evident. Instead of the usual feel good wholesome Christmas music you’d expect on a holiday movie, you get an energetic and adventurous score that engages you every single second of the album.
The opening track “Trelew, Cornwall, England” begins on a wondrous note, before the mission centric “Operation Christmas” kicks in. While these are two very different sounding cues, one can imagine them to play out perfectly against the Sarah Smith directed animation film. The adventure continues with “Waker” and “Mission Control”, and you begin to wonder whether there is any Christmas element in the CD at all.
Before bringing on the jingle bells, Gregson-Williams continues conjuring an imaginative universe of elves and magic in tracks like “Dash Away”, “Paris Zoo” and “Race to Gwen’s House”. There is peril and excitement, which will please fans of enjoy adventure scores.
Where are the heartwarming bits of the soundtrack? They are heard in “One Missed Child”, “Arthur’s Sadness” and “Goodbye Evie”, where softer and more sentimental moments slow down the pace of things. For those who are still wondering where the Christmas tunes are, they can briefly heard in “Christmas Morning” and “We Wish You A…”
So who needs Justin Bieber when you have music like this?
Recommended Track: (15) Goodbye Evie
Review by John Li