Reviewing soundtracks can be a difficult thing because music is so subjective. Also, many times I can’t figure out exactly why I liked or didn’t like something. It’s not an exact science but I’ve narrowed it down to a few points of interest to help explain myself, why and to what extent I enjoyed soundtrack from LAIKA’s new film, The Boxtrolls.
Who likes to listen to the same things over and over again? Nobody. It’s very difficult to get anything out of a generic score, but Dario Marianelli keeps things fresh. There are some songs that feel like heavy and full of suspense but then next it comes in with, what can only be described as a light polka, only to be followed by an Italian opera. If ever I lost interest, it wasn’t for long before I was engaged again.
All of the songs can be described in one word: quirky. Someone might not be drawn to the style, but there is no mistaking, LAIKA really knows who they are. I do wish however there were a few more melodies that repeated to tie the whole score together. I did notice a repeat once or twice and appreciated those, but it wasn’t enough for me to really hold on to or create a mental picture of, which leads me to my next topic.
There were a few songs that if you played them for me later, I could call out “Oh, that’s from The Boxtrolls!” That’s a huge accomplishment! I don’t want to take anything away from those but, as memorable as those were and as interesting as the variety of songs was, I don’t think I’m gong to be humming any of them in my day to day.
Bonus Points: Instrumentation
I already thought the sound was pretty distinct but the instrumentation was fabulous. That was something that really held my attentions throughout, but towards the end my world stopped as I heard the song “Little Boxes”. I tried to brush it off and say I was hearing something else, but there was no mistaking it. The sound I was hearing was a musical saw. Yup. It’s actually been a goal of mine to record a song with someone playing the musical saw. If you want to know why, just watch the YouTube review below.
Overall Enjoyment ✮✮✮ 1/2 Stars
Though this is not going to make my list of top animated soundtracks, it’s not a bad score! I enjoyed the soundtrack from The Boxtrolls, but it’s one that you really have to be in the mood and invested to get the full enjoyment.
Is the Physical Copy Worth Buying?
Yes, I wouldn’t buy the whole album any other way. LAIKA fans will especially love the casing for it’s art. The soundtrack fan will love seeing production credits and the fact that there is someone who can play a musical saw. Watch the video below to see an unboxing of the CD and a few more thoughts.
If you are only looking for a few songs to download and add to your “quirky and fun” playlist, my top 5 would be: “Eggs Music Box”, “Quattro Sabatino”, “Cheesebridge Funfair”, “Little Boxes”, and “Whole World” (honorable mention: “Slap Waltz”). These would also be the songs I would choose to feature if we ever review this film on the Animation Addicts Podcast.
The Boxtrolls Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Amazon | iTunes