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Planes by Mark Mancina (Review)

posted Aug 17, 2013, 11:00 AM by Kaya Savas

Mark Mancina is one of the most iconic composers in the industry and helped re-define the action genre in the early 90’s with his supremely thematic scoring. Mancina is one of the kings of themes and his music breathes life into all the movies he scores. Mark is also extremely selective of the films he works on so it’s always notable to see what drew mark to a project to inspire him. Planes sees Mancina returning to his Disney animation stomping ground to deliver a score that truly puts the air beneath the characters’ wings.

The main theme to Planes is the first thing that hits you, and it truly serves as the groundwork of the entire score. The world of Planes is of course filled with charismatic characters and he does indeed give them all personalities sonically. The story plays out magnificently through the music as Mancina hits all the dramatic beats with ease. The percussion, guitar riffs and triumphant trumpets get the hairs on your neck standing on end that’s for sure. Some of the tracks are actually quite intense and not something you’d expect to find in a Cars spinoff. While the majority of the score is big and bold there are some nice emotional moments that really cement everything together. The music never becomes too light, in fact it doesn’t dodge the emotions at all. The Skipper’s theme is a haunting choral arrangement that really stands out as something special. Overall this is a fantastic effort from Mancina who excites with every score he composes. Planes is an incredibly satisfying listening experience even if the film falls flat. 

Mark Mancina found a way to shape a story musically for a bunch of mechanical characters. The film was actually supposed to be a direct to video release, but Disney saw potential in it enough to release it theatrically. I’m glad it did if only to put a spotlight on Mark’s wonderful work. The music truly stands on its own as something terrific and reminds us why he’s one of the great auteurs.