Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Friday, February 26, 2010


Alice in Wonderland
Music by Danny Elfman
Walt Disney Records 628 5442 (EU)
24 Tracks 51:09 mins

Tim Burton's take on the classic Lewis Carroll fantasy Alice in Wonderland received its London premiere tonight and will be released nationwide from 5th March, in 3D where available. Can't wait to see what Burton has done with it but, in the meantime, I'll turn my attention to the soundtrack album, which is released on 8th March and of course features an orchestral/choral score by Burton's regular collaborator Danny Elfman.
The album opens with "Alice's Theme," a delightfully flighty, but also quite powerful choral theme, in typical Elfman fashion, though with lyrics, also by the composer. This theme is reprised in brief snatches a further five times throughout the album and, I imagine, acts as a kind of transitional piece between Alice's adventures in the film. Whatever, it's a great piece of music, which is sure to have you thoroughly hooked by the end of the disc.
Track 2 on the album, "Little Alice" is a suitably delicate little piece and is followed by the almost classically-styled "Proposal," which gives way to an adventurous variation on the main theme, which turns quite menacing and desperate in "Down the Hole." The following tracks flow continuously, starting with "Doors" and "Drink Me" which are quite subdued and mysterious, though the latter does end quite darkly, with "Into the Garden" continuing the air of mystery.
After the first reprise of the main theme, comes "Bandersnatched," which is largely big and menacing, with some quite exciting action writing, and a big choral ending. A mysterious wordless choral propels "Finding Absolem," which grows ever darker as it continues, with "The Cheshire Cat" represented by some sinister, slinky string writing; ending in another brief reprise of the main theme. The lengthy "Alice and Bayard's Journey" follows, and features more powerful action writing, whilst ending on a gentler note.
"The White Queen" is quite serene and almost ethereal, the peaceful feel continuing into "Only a Dream;" but the mood soon changes to mystery for "The Dungeon." A lightly propulsive variation on the main theme introduces "Alice Decides," the track quickly turning dark and menacing, before the theme restates itself in more powerful fashion. The dark forces do battle with "Alice's Theme" again in "Going To Battle" and "The Final Confrontation," with "Blood of the Jabberwocky" bringing calm after the storm, before concluding quite mystically.
The penultimate track, "Alice Returns" finds her theme gently re-introduced, before flowing sumptuously to an ethereal conclusion that leads into the final cue and a reprise of the theme in all its choral glory.
With this entertainingand well-crafted score and the composer's suitably Gothic-styled The Wolfman, Elfman has made a strong start to 2010 and shows he's still one of the leading film composers around.


Post a Comment

<< Home