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The BoxTrolls by Dario Marianelli (Review)

posted Oct 2, 2014, 4:17 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 4:19 PM ]

Oscar-winner Dario Marianelli has always been able to create flourishing scores filled with passion. I think his score to Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is absolutely tremendous, and I was looking forward to what he would be able to do with a visually vivid world like The BoxTrolls. The BoxTrolls has its share of colorful textures, orchestral liveliness and a fun bounce about it. However, in the grand scheme of the score it can be a bit too quirky for its own good. Emotional resonance is sacrificed for a score that can be a bit too animated at times.

The great part about The BoxTrolls is that it executes the narrative precisely. We are taken on a wonderful journey from start to finish that really builds towards its finale. The score carries some character nuances through the soundscape, and it always makes for a lively experience. The thing that kept me distanced was just how animated the score was. The music tries to be extremely quirky and larger than life at times, and I had a hard time figuring out what it was compensating for. If you look at Jon Brion’s more emotionally structured score for Paranorman, you will see a score that blended style with emotion very successfully. With The BoxTrolls I felt the music never flowed as well as it should have. While it does have a great narrative structure, I feel like that stylistically it never can find its footing. The score feels like a compilation at times instead of a flowing musical voice.

The BoxTrolls has that Marianelli finesse, but it fails to find a more meaningful way of going about it all. The score has plenty of standout moments as it carries you along, but it never congeals into a score with that central lifeline. The music tries to be too quirky at times. When in reality an animation score just needs to be itself, such as Jon Brion’s Paranorman or Alexandre Desplat’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. The BoxTrolls is worth a one-time listen through, but nothing about it will leave a lasting impact.