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Mr. Peabody & Sherman by Danny Elfman (Review)

posted Apr 11, 2014, 8:44 PM by Koray Savas

Danny Elfman has been wearing himself thin as of late. Having scored 6 films in 2012 and 4 in 2013, his continuous stream of scores have all achieved a base level of listenability and structure, but have never really gone above that threshold to become really good or great. Thankfully, it appears that Elfman has hit the brakes, with only 2 scores planned for this year, the first being the delightful Mr. Peadbody & Sherman.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman are two classic cartoon characters from the 50s that go on time traveling adventures together. The films spices things up with CGI rather than traditional hand-drawn animation, but that old school mentality remains. It is immediately evident in the music. Elfman crafted a very heartwarming experience that flutters between mickey-mousing and rousing orchestral flair. From the very first flourish on "Mr. Peabody's Prologue," the catchy main theme and sentimental mood reel you in to this wondrous world. There are somber moments in between the action that serve as pleasant downtime as the score moves at a quick pace. Aside from an odd interpolation of John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," the musical narrative has a steady rising action that effortlessly builds to the fantastic climax, starting with "The Flying Machine." 'Trojan Horse," "War/Disaster,"  and "History Mash-Up" feature some of Elfman's most exciting music in years. Particularly with the latter, which morphs through several differential musical styles and nods to accentuate the sequence, complete with energetic chorus. The emotional payoff can be found in "I'm A Dog Too" and "Fixing The Rip" as things wind down to finish off the album with a final statement of the theme in "Back To School."

While Mr. Peabody & Sherman does not bring anything particularly new to the table, the music has incredible heart and one can easily tell that Elfman had fun with this forgotten style of adventure scoring. It features some of his most refreshing musical structures and melodies in a very long time. Sit back with this one, relax, and enjoy the frolicking main theme and the subsequent journey.