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 Posted:   Nov 13, 2018 - 8:20 PM   
 By:   Pedestrian Wolf   (Member)

On the one hand, I get why some people would be less than taken with this - there are already a number of iconic Elfman Christmas scores, and this one isn't really doing anything remarkably new that we didn't get with Edward, Nightmare, or even Family Man. That said, I think it words very-to-extraordinarily well in the film, and on the album there's a subtlety to its development that does reward multiple listens. Like a lot of post-2000s Elfman scores, there are distinct and original themes, but because Elfman keeps slipping them in and out of new variations and harmonies, they're hard to catch if you aren't actively listening for them. I really love the "Lost Lonely Boy" melody though, and it gives the film an occasional dose of early-90s lyrical Elfman melancholia that just about makes some of the biggest emotional beats land (it's about the only part of the film that isn't actively getting in its own way in that regard). I also appreciate that he actually adapted the melody from Fa-Who Foraze and consistently threaded it through the score itself.

The film itself I thought came close to working in the first act, but after establishing a tragic backstory for the Grinch in the early going, the film seems to be so afraid of things getting too dark that it stumblingly rushes through the actual story it's supposedly adapting. I know the conventional wisdom is that these films don't work because you can't turn a short picture-book into a feature-length film, but I don't even know that this is Illumination's problem. Both The Grinch and The Lorax movies have a weird structure that seems to involve adding about an hour of fluff to the film's front half, then frantically rushing through the book portion as though they're trying to compress War and Peace into an episode of Wishbone.

What really sinks this for me though is the hideous, mawkish attempt at rewriting the actual verse from the Seuss book for Pharrell Williams' narrator. Every time the film comes close to landing an emotional beat, in comes the narrator, explaining in patronizing and metrically-sloppy verse basic plot details that are already perfectly clear from the music and the animation. I mean, we're talking about a book that billions of kids have been committing to memory from age 2 for over 60 years now - who exactly are we dumbing these lines down for? A cut of this film that removed 95% of the voiceover and most of the dialogue might just about work.

 Posted:   Nov 14, 2018 - 9:02 AM   
 By:   Luc Van der Eeken   (Member)

Still no word on a CD release then...?

 Posted:   Nov 14, 2018 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   lonzoe1   (Member)

Yep nothing yet, but we probably shouldn't build our hopes up of there being a pressed CD release.

 Posted:   Nov 14, 2018 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

The score CD might come out a bit later with the DVD release.
I think with their film SING, they released the big selling song album first and then released Joby Talbot's score album on CD sometime later, so there is hope.
Plus, it's Elfman, who certainly has a big fan base.

 Posted:   Nov 14, 2018 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

It's almost ironic that both Elfman and Newton Howard wrote violin concertos recently and I like both of them a lot better than their newest blockbuster scores.

It's almost as if, when they have free reign to write personal music from the heart, the results turn out better than when they're churning out (likely temp-tracked) product for the latest big budget Hollywood property. wink

I love Patrick Doyle, but I know, if he suddenly announced a new violin concerto AND a new franchise score (even for Kenneth Branagh), which of the two I'd be more looking forward to musically. (To be completely transparent, if Branagh himself was given free reign on a new Shakespeare adaptation or something similar, I might possibly go the other way.)


 Posted:   Nov 14, 2018 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   John Mullin   (Member)

You know, I've had this score on for the last few days, and despite my initial mild reaction, I'm starting to really enjoy it.

I still think that Elfman's blockbuster fantasy style shifted a bit starting with OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL and hasn't been quite as interesting since, but there's a lot that's really lively and enjoyable here.

 Posted:   Nov 15, 2018 - 12:00 PM   
 By:   sajrocks   (Member)

…there are distinct and original themes, but because Elfman keeps slipping them in and out of new variations and harmonies, they're hard to catch if you aren't actively listening for them.

THIS. in addition to at least two main themes -- one for jolly whovian shenanigans and one for the grinch's malevolence -- and ample use of the 'welcome christmas' theme from the original film, i really enjoyed how deftly elfman wove in christmas standards such as 'o tannenbaum' and 'santa claus is coming to town', which i assume reference something in the action ('the christmas song' arrangement towards the end--not so subtle).

…there are already a number of iconic Elfman Christmas scores…

also this! now that you mention it, 'grinch' does fall pretty low on my top elfman xmas outings.

1. edward scissorhands
2. nightmare before christmas
3. scrooged
4. the grinch
5. family man
hm: batman returns

but i'm still really digging this more than many of elfman's animation efforts. :/


rating on the animation scale:

1. nightmare before christmas
2. corpse bride
3. the grinch
4. frankenweenie
5. mr. peabody & sherman
6. epic
7. meet the robinsons

hm: face like a frog, flubber (might as well have been animated as 2-dimensional as the story/performances were)

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