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Finding Dory by Thomas Newman (Review)

posted Aug 8, 2016, 9:19 PM by Leo Mayr

Somehow we keep getting really, really late sequels to the point where it can feel a little weird. It took 13 (thirteen!) years for Finding Dory to follow Pixar's highly successful Finding Nemo, but with director Andrew Stanton returning, the film has potential after all. Also returning is Pixar veteran Thomas Newman who previously composed the music for Finding Nemo.

Right away, you'll notice the score is very remniscient of Newman's Finding Nemo, utilizing similar sounds and instruments for that same "underwarer-y" feeling throughout. The emphasis lies heavily on emotional moments with beautiful piano motifs over more subtle orchestral melodies (see "Finding Dory (Main Title)"). These moments beautifully underline stunning underwater scenery and the film's emotional side. The score contains an abundance of different themes and melodies, so it's of no surprise that some end up being left by the side. Overall, the score feels more like it's jumping from one great idea to the next, without worrying too much about using themes more than once. The main theme pops up here and there but in the end, you may end up getting lost in the vast amount of different tracks the score has to offer. The score is filled with fun little ideas and exciting bursts of action that while feeling disconnected at times make for a fun experience. There are a lot of great humorous moments and some intense action scenes that end up sounding a little serious for a family friendly animated film, but nicely underline the film's more fast paced moments. A great example is "Okay With Crazy" a fun action piece that also makes up a part of the end titles. The different pieces are held together by similar instrumentation and style, with the main theme appearing at key moments, nicely tying the film's story together.

Despite the many similarities to Finding Nemo, the score ends up feeling very different and new altogether. Newman introduces a wide variety of new themes and styles to make for an interesting experience. While the score contains an overwhelming amount of different moods, styles and themes, the recurring main theme ties together the music on the emotional level. Thomas Newman delivers a fun and engaing score for one of the better animated films of the year. While the different sounds seem like a mess on first sight, once you dive in, there are enough great and memorable moments that underline both the films humorous fun side and the more emotional core.