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Dolphin Tale 2 by Rachel Portman (Review)

posted Oct 3, 2014, 11:15 AM by Michael Hollands
Movies like Dolphin Tale, which was released back in 2011, provide stellar family entertainment. Personally, I have always enjoyed films that deal with human emotion and friendship. Many people can relate to such films and to me it is easy to see why. They succeed in delivering a heartwarming story that makes the audience forget about everyday life. From a compositional standpoint, this is a huge opportunity to write wonderful melodies and themes to perfectly enhance the director's vision and in 2011 that composer was Mark Isham, providing the right material for the film.

Three years later, Charles Martin Smith is back in the director's chair, this time with composer Rachel Portman. She is known for her orchestral writing, which I think is the right approach for this particular film. Don't get me wrong, I love synth sounds and electronics in general, but in this case the orchestral style might be the better one to underscore the emotion and the situations the characters go through and Rachel Portman succeeded by doing just that.

The album opens with the “Reconciliation Ballet”, a wonderful three minute cue, that presents one of the film's themes with great fashion. It has a playful tone and represents a really good opening of the score. The music's character is further established in the piece “Mandy's Release”, which has a nice build-up that lasts about a minute and a half, subsequently reaching another great moment of orchestral writing. The music isn't strictly emotional, it also displays a rather playful and lighthearted feeling, sometimes an even more suspenseful one. Several cues on this album are somewhat short, not reaching the two minute mark, yet this should not distract you as an audience. However, not all cues are kept short, there are also four and five minute tracks that deliver the goods.

Some fans might argue that they are not listening to anything groundbreaking or highly inventive. In my opinion, it is not always the composer's job to constantly reinvent themselves, let alone to reinvent the wheel, but rather to find something that is appropriate for the film. This score may not be groundbreaking and of course Rachel Portman has scored movies with a quite similar sound and style but in the end, this is absolutely enjoyable and lovely film music, which is likely to please both, fans of the composer and of orchestral writing. This album does indeed contain several highlights.