Tag Archives: film

Soundtrack Review: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

POKÉMON Detective Pikachu stars Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, the iconic face of the global Pokémon phenomenon—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and one of the most successful media franchises of all time.  Also starring are Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, and Rita Ora, with Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy.  Fans everywhere can now experience a Pokémon on the big screen as never before, as Detective Pikachu, a Pokémon like no other.  The film also showcases a wide array of beloved Pokémon, each with its own unique traits and personality.

The score for Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was composed by Henry Jackman, whose scoring credits include Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: First Class, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Kong: Skull Island among others. The score, which released on Friday, May 3rd, is absolutely beautiful. Jackman employs a variety of strings and other instruments throughout the score. However, what really puts this score over the top is Jackman’s decision to mix in synthesizer music with the orchestral score. And by synthesizer, I mean think of the music you heard in the original Pokémon games, that synthesized “doop-doop” that is instantly recognizable. A number of the tracks slide in and out of this synthesized music, and it helps bring the Pokémon world to life.

Regarding the soundtrack, Jackman had this to say:

Writing the music for POKÉMON Detective Pikachu was immense fun.  The movie itself was a unique invitation to create a new musical world representing all the wonderful and colorful characters of the Pokémon  universe.  I really enjoyed using many different sonic colors so, if you listen carefully, you can hear everything from the full symphony orchestra to analog vintage synths.  I was also very happy to be working again with Rob Letterman, who even tried to get his beloved 808 Drum Machine into the score, until we found it was fatally damaged.  To have been selected to write music for such a well-loved and precious franchise is a great honor, and I greatly hope my best efforts contribute positively to the Pokémon experience.

If the film is as great as Jackman’s score, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu could easily be one of the best films of the first half of 2019. Even without seeing the film, the music is a joy to listen to. Jackman covers an entire emotional range, from light and humorous to dark and melodramatic. If the film has any failings, it will not come from the music.

As the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu soundtrack is available now, listen to it when you get the chance and let me know what you think about it in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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My (spoiler-free) Thoughts on: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Wow.

Wow, wow, wow, and once again, wow.

That was BEAUTIFUL.

Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of a story that began all the way back in 2008 with the first Iron Man. The MCU has since grown to consist of 22 films (including Endgame) and has redefined how comic books can be brought to life. While covering the rise of various heroes (and villains), the MCU had also told, piece by piece, the story of Thanos the Mad Titan. Endgame is the final result of EVERYTHING that has happened in the MCU, even more than Infinity War. There were so many plot threads that went into making this story that it could have easily become overwhelming or confusing.

But it didn’t.

Endgame does an admirable job of setting up the stakes for this final battle. It is made clear what needs to be done and WHY it needs to be done. There is some beautiful cinematography along the way, I would even dare to say that some of my favorite shots in the entire MCU belong to this film. The last act alone is a dream come true. If the film has one flaw, it’s that you need to have seen most of the MCU prior to seeing Endgame, or certain little moments in the film aren’t going to make sense.

Musically, Alan Silvestri knocks it out of the park once again. If you listen carefully, you can hear musical callbacks to multiple past MCU films, reprises of certain themes, all building to the perfect climax in the last act. Just like Infinity War, the music of Endgame takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride, but in a good way.

I said at the beginning that Endgame is a culmination of everything that’s come before, which also means it’s, in many ways, an ending. The film does an excellent job of resolving all of those plot threads. And yet, at the same time, the door is left slightly open for several stories to continue. The MCU will definitely continue (it makes way too much money to end now) but it will never be like it was before. That story has come to an end.

But what a story it was. I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like it again.

And that’s my spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you had just as much fun watching the film as I did. Let me know your spoiler-free thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Avengers: Infinity War-Review (no spoilers)

My thoughts on: Black Panther (2018)

Film/TV Reviews

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Robin Hood “Love” (1973)

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There are few love stories I enjoy more than the one between Robin Hood and Maid Marian, no matter which iteration of the story I’m watching. The Disney version is no different, with Marian revealing that she and Robin were childhood sweethearts. Both initially believe that a relationship is impossible, since they haven’t seen each other in years (not to mention the slightly important detail that Robin is an outlaw). However, despite their denials, the moment they see each other at the archery tournament, all their feelings come rushing back and Robin ends up proposing marriage (which Marian happily accepts).

 

After the chaos following the tournament, Robin and Marian wander the woods together, and this is the setting for “Love.” Unlike some Disney love songs, neither character actually sings. Rather, like “So This is Love” from Cinderella, the song is taking place inside the character’s thoughts (presumably Maid Marian’s since it’s a female singer).

Love
It seems like only yesterday
You were just a child at play
Now you’re all grown up inside of me
Oh, how fast those moments flee

Once we watched a lazy world go by
Now the days seem to fly
Life is brief, but when it’s gone
Love goes on and on

Love will live
Love will last
Love goes on and on and on

Once we watched a lazy world go by
Now the days seem to fly
Life is brief, but when it’s gone
Love goes on and on

It almost feels like an unusual sentiment for a love song. Instead of talking about how Robin and Marian are going to run away together, or how happy they’ll be together, “Love” talks about how love will remain even after people are gone. It’s a beautiful song, and one I like to sing to myself sometimes. It’s also a nice change after the madness of the archery tournament. This song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (though it didn’t win). One detail I really like about this scene are the glowing fireflies that flit around in the background (though I’d never heard of fireflies being pink before, but this is Disney we’re talking about). I hope you enjoyed learning a little about “Love.”

Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Robin Hood “Oo-De-Lally” (1973)

Robin Hood “The Phony King of England” (1973)

Robin Hood “Not in Nottingham” (1973)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Robin Hood “Oo-De-Lally” (1973)

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If you haven’t seen Disney’s 1973 take on the legend of Robin Hood then you are missing out. In a world where Robin is a cunning fox and Prince John is a sniveling lion, this story is full of comedy, drama, and it’s fair share of good songs. Robin Hood is partially narrated by a rooster minstrel named Alan-a-Dale (Roger Miller). After the opening credits, Alan-a-Dale begins the story by introducing us to Robin Hood (a fox) and Little John (a bear) as they’re walking through Sherwood Forest, unwittingly being tracked by the Sheriff of Nottingham (a wolf) and his henchmen. “Oo-De-Lally” is a ballad that narrates the action (the characters don’t begin talking until it’s over).

Robin Hood and Little John
Walking through the forest
Laughing back and forth
At what the other one has to say

Reminiscing this and that
And having such a good time
Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally
Golly, what a day

Never ever thinking there was danger in the water
They were drinking, they just guzzled it down
Never dreaming that a scheming Sheriff and his posse
Was a-watching them and gathering around

Robin Hood and Little John
Running through the forest
Jumping fences, dodging trees
And trying to get away

Contemplating nothing
But escape and finally making it
Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally
Golly, what a day

This song quickly establishes that Robin and Little John can easily outsmart their enemies, both finding it fun to give them the slip. We’re also given a classic Robin Hood moment…sort of. In the old Robin Hood stories, most will include an account of how Robin and Little John first met while each was trying to cross a log bridge from their respective side. During “Oo-De-Lally,” the pair try to cross a similar bridge only to accidentally knock one another into the water (in the original story they have a fight first).

“Oo-De-Lally” is a fun introduction to Robin Hood and just the first of many great songs in this underrated Disney film. Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Robin Hood “Love” (1973)

Robin Hood “The Phony King of England” (1973)

Robin Hood “Not in Nottingham” (1973)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Peter Pan “You Can Fly!” (1953)

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One of my favorite moments in Peter Pan is when Peter teaches the Darling children how to fly and they set off for Neverland. As a little kid, I loved the idea of just being able to launch into the air and fly like a bird (imagine my disappointment when all the happy thoughts in the world couldn’t get me off the ground). “You Can Fly” serves as a transition from the ordinary world of London to the extraordinary world of Neverland. This song is different from other Disney songs in that, apart from some half-sung verses at the very beginning, Peter and the Darling children don’t sing at all. Instead their journey to Neverland is narrated by a chorus.

Each of the children has a slightly different style of flying. Wendy is the most graceful, John uses his umbrella to turn corners, and Michael (being the youngest) has an almost clambering style (think of how little kids kick in a swimming pool). Naturally none of them are as good as Peter, who can do all kinds of tricks while he flies.

Think of a wonderful thought,
Any merry little thought,
Think of Christmas, think of snow, think of sleigh bells,
Off you go, like reindeer in the sky!
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!!!

Think of the happiest things,
It’s the same as having wings,
Take a path that moonbeams make,
If the moon is still awake,
You’ll see him wink his eye (ohh…)
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!!!

I absolutely love the moment when Michael stops and notices Nana trying to fly after her charges. It gets even funnier when he grabs Tinker Bell and sprinkles some fairy dust on the confused canine, sending her soaring into the air bottom first. The only reason Nana can’t follow is because she’s tied by her leash, so she can only float awkwardly in the air as the children fly away. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Nana had been able to fly with them (probably she would have kept trying to take the children home).

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Off you go with a Hi and Ho
With the stars beyond the blue
There’s a Never Land waiting for you
Where all your happy dreams come true
Every dream that you dream will come true

When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

Tinker Bell, being the jealous type, is not thrilled that Wendy is coming along. She’s already trying to sabotage the trip by messing up her reflection in the water but it quickly comes back to haunt the fairy as she’s nearly snapped up by several hungry fish. This won’t stop Tinker Bell though, as she’ll try again once they reach Neverland.

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When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

The song fades away with Peter and the children well on their way to Neverland, “second star to the right and straight on till morning.” I can’t overstate how much I love listening to this song, it’s a perfect Disney tune. It’s full of joy, innocence, and a rising sense of adventure as they fly onward to Neverland.

What do you think about “You Can Fly!”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Peter Pan “Following the Leader” (1953)

Peter Pan “What Made the Red Man red?” (1953)

Peter Pan “The Elegant Captain Hook” (1953)

My Thoughts on: Peter Pan (1953)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame “God Help the Outcasts” (1996)

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After successfully evading Frollo’s soldiers, Esmeralda unexpectedly finds herself a veritable prisoner inside Notre Dame. While Frollo concedes that he can’t arrest the gypsy inside the cathedral, the moment she steps outside his men will be waiting. Esmeralda is rightfully frustrated, but the Archdeacon points out that maybe Someone in the cathedral can help her (hinting that she should turn to prayer). Esmeralda does indeed begin to pray, and the result is “God Help the Outcasts,” one of the best songs to come out of this film. It actually replaced another song named “Someday” (which you can hear over the end credits) when the directors wanted a quieter song for the scene.

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For the song, Esmeralda is voiced by Heidi Mollenhauer (Demi Moore provides her speaking voice). The song is quiet and somber, as Esmeralda reflects on the plight of outcasts like herself, asking for God to help them since nobody else will.

I don’t know if You can hear me
Or if You’re even there
I don’t know if You would listen
To a gypsy’s prayer
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to You
Still, I see Your face and wonder
Were You once an outcast, too?

God help the outcasts
Hungry from birth
Show them the mercy
They don’t find on earth
God help my people
We look to You, still
God help the outcasts
Or nobody will

Esmeralda’s prayer for the outcasts is in stark contrast to the rest of the people praying in the cathedral. While Esmeralda prays for others, the wealthy parishioners pray for themselves, asking for wealth and glory. These scenes are intercut with some gorgeous animated shots of the interior of the cathedral and its stained glass windows (the animators spent a lot of time studying the real Notre Dame to make it as accurate as possible).

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I ask for wealth
I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can possess
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

Undeterred, Esmeralda insists that she herself wants nothing. Meanwhile, as this is going on, Quasimodo is slowly making his way down from the bell tower, lured by Esmeralda’s song. In all his life, I don’t think he’s ever heard a prayer like this before. The notion that someone would want to pray for people like him, I think this is the moment when Quasimodo really starts to fall in love with her.

I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and downtrod
I thought we all were
The children of God
God help the outcasts
Children of God

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One of my favorite details in this song is that Esmeralda finishes while standing beneath one of the famed Rose Windows. Given the intricacies of the stained glass, it’s replicated in stunning detail, including its colorful shadow cast on the cathedral floor. I’m hoping that someday I can go to Paris and see these beautiful windows for myself.

“God Help the Outcasts” is one of those songs that almost always has me crying by the end, because it’s such a beautiful moment. What do you think of this song? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Bells of Notre Dame” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Out There” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Topsy Turvy” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Heaven’s Light/Hellfire” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Court of Miracles” (1996)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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The Fox and the Hound “A Hunting Man” (1981)

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“A Hunting Man” might be one of the shortest Disney songs I’ve ever heard. It comes in the second half of the movie when the hunter Amos Slade (Jack Albertson) is returning from a long hunt with his two dogs Chief (Pat Buttram) and a now-grown up Copper (Kurt Russell). As he drives home, Amos is happily singing about his life as a hunting man.

I ain’t got no job, I’m a hunting man.

And I’d rather have a dog than a dollar.

So let’s go banjo ring-a-ling-a-ling, ho!

Give a little hoot and a holler!

This “song” is barely long enough to be a verse in a regular Disney song, but it does give an idea about the kind of man Amos Slade is. While the hunter is presented as the story’s villain more often than not, this song shows that he really isn’t a “bad” man. Hunting, for all its cruelties, is how Amos earns his living, and it truly makes him happy because he gets to spend time with his beloved dogs. The only reason he gets mean is when someone (like a certain fox) gets in the way of his hunting.

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And that’s about it for “A Hunting Man.” Like I said, it’s one of the shortest Disney songs I’ve ever heard, but it does give some insight into the character of Amos Slade. Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Fox and the Hound “Lack of Education” (1981)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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