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Composed and Produced by:

Conducted by:
Rick Wentworth

Orchestrated by:
Steve Bartek
Edgardo Simone
David Sloanaker

Additional Music by:
TJ Lindgren
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Walt Disney Records
(September 25th, 2012)
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Regular U.S. release. Unlike the companion song compilation, which features no score material and varies in its bonus songs depending upon where you purchase it, the score-only album is identical in its physical and download presentations.
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Buy it... if you are consistently engaged by Danny Elfman's mastery of gothic storytelling, his themes and narrative in this work a showcase of the composer's reliable fantasy and drama modes.

Avoid it... if you expect Elfman's thematic identities, despite their tender and raucous range and entertaining execution, to be original enough to consider this score transcendent in the composer's career.
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WRITTEN 10/4/12
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Frankenweenie: (Danny Elfman) Redemption couldn't come much sweeter for director Tim Burton than the feature-length 2012 remake of his 1984 live-action short film, Frankenweenie. Disney fired Burton after the completion of the original version of the parody tale, claiming that the director had misused some of his $1 million budget and created a movie too scary for the studio's intended audience. In the mid-2000's, Burton sought to revisit the topic in his now famous stop-motion format of storytelling, and when Disney signed him to direct the reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, the subsequent remake of Frankenweenie, complete with $35 million budget, was attached to the deal. Some critics have lamented Burton's tired, recycled art direction for his characters and scenery (after all, his morbid designs all do relate), though a solid story of humor and affection results in the black-and-white 2012 resurrection of Frankenweenie. A young Victor Frankenstein in the peaceful town of New Holland is a science enthusiast, as one would expect, with the awkward relationships that have come to define Burton's films. When Victor's beloved dog Sparky is killed in an accident, some inspiration from the boy's science teacher helps him develop his soon-to-be-famous technologies to harness electricity and bring the stitched-up dog back to life. Neighbors are horrified, naturally, and chaos in the town is inevitable. Unlike the movie's stylistic predecessors, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, there was no attempt to force Frankenweenie into a musical format, instead utilizing the director's collaboration with Danny Elfman to yield a straight-forward orchestral and choral underscore. This marks the 15th work together for Burton and Elfman, and they are at the top of their game here, the resulting score emulating some of the best characteristics of the projects that have come before. While The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride experienced issues with narrative continuity at times, mostly in relation to the genres of music influencing the former and a lack of gravity in the latter, Frankenweenie is as solid a score in terms of flow and development as Edward Scissorhands, but without the majestic expansiveness. While there is plenty of fantasy to be heard, there's also a strong dose of drama, connecting Elfman's monster movie homage to scores like Charlotte's Web and Alice in Wonderland.

The personable portions of Frankenweenie clearly resemble early (and popular) Elfman techniques while the overblown gothic elements need not look further back than Dark Shadows to draw many comparisons. This is purely vintage Elfman at is core, however, and the instrumental ingredients for Frankenweenie are standard to the composer's most sensitive fantasy and drama modes while also toying with obvious nods to the scores of classic monster movies in its latter half. The London orchestra has the usual emphasis on solo woodwinds and tingling percussion for loving encounters and deep bass strings and brass for ballsy action cues. The choir is the predictable accent to the sappy relational portions, cooing away with blissful harmony on many occasions, though it also expresses dread in the lower ranks during the reanimation scenes. Absent is Elfman's array of contemporary instrumentation, replaced in the synthetic realm by a theremine effect that is very tastefully and surprisingly sparingly integrated into the mix. A booming organ is a logical choice as well, resounding with force in several later cues. In Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows, Elfman showed a willingness to fully embrace a return to the orchestral fantasy elements that made his early years on the big Hollywood stage so fruitful, and his enthusiasts will be thrilled to hear more of the same substantive exploration of that realm in Frankenweenie. The personality of the score is extremely engaging, the symphonic performances crisply balanced and expressing the parody aspect of the score without ever becoming cute or obnoxious (the obvious exception being the false logo music at the start of the score, which actually qualifies as a highlight of the entire score). Part of the success of Frankenweenie in retaining your attention is due to its very well developed thematic core, the usage of the four main themes so tightly woven that the narrative is never in doubt. On the hand, the themes are also arguably the only true weakness of the score, their basic progressions reminiscent of prior identities and too simplistic to truly stand apart in Elfman's career. That said, his execution of these ideas is so intelligent that Frankenweenie still stands as a superior overall effort. The thematic identities are divided equally between the basic concepts of the "good" and the "bad" while also reflecting those sides of both main characters, resulting in alter-ego themes of a sort for each. Elfman predictably collides these identities in sonic battle as the monstrous electricity starts to flow.

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Average: 3.62 Stars
***** 308 5 Stars
**** 193 4 Stars
*** 167 3 Stars
** 119 2 Stars
* 77 1 Stars
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Budget is actually $39M *nm* *NM*
ddddeeee - October 6, 2012, at 11:45 a.m.
1 comment  (1353 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 55:58
• 1. Frankenweenie Disney Logo (0:37)
• 2. Main Titles (2:20)
• 3. Mr. Burgermeister/Noses Meet (2:17)
• 4. Game of Death (2:21)
• 5. The Funeral (2:38)
• 6. Electricity (3:27)
• 7. Re-Animation (5:17)
• 8. Sparky's Day Out (1:53)
• 9. Dad's Talk (0:50)
• 10. The Bride/Edgar Knows (2:19)
• 11. Invisible Fish/Search for Sparky (4:42)
• 12. A Premonition (1:25)
• 13. The Speech (1:20)
• 14. Mom's Discovery/Farewell (1:29)
• 15. Getting Ready (2:40)
• 16. Making Monsters (6:44)
• 17. Pool Monsters Attack (1:50)
• 18. Mad Monster Party (1:59)
• 19. Final Confrontation (2:57)
• 20. Happy Ending (3:31)

Bonus Tracks:
• 21. Alternate Main Titles (2:20)
• 22. Over the Fence (1:15)

Notes Icon
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2012-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Frankenweenie are Copyright © 2012, Walt Disney Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/4/12 (and not updated significantly since).
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