Arthur Christmas (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Review

Arthur Christmas (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack to the Arthur Christmas. Arthur Christmas, a production by Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation is the 2011 Christmas offering to children and adults alike that attempts to answer the mystery of how Santa delivers all those presents in one night and to appeal to the Christmas audience, a family and an unlikely hero.

The soundtrack to the film was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (gifted composer responsible for a whole host of amazing soundtracks including Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Kingdom of Heaven, Chicken RunAntz and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) video game) and released on November 14, 2011 by Sony Classical. There are 18 tracks with some intriguing titles such as ‘Paris Zoo?’, ‘Serengeti Escape’, and ‘Waker’. I played this soundtrack a few times and each time I could imagine the scenes to the film.The combination of an outstanding orchestral arrangement and a well thought out melody is strong enough to paint a picture; whether or not you have seen the film.

Let me attempt to explain these pictures. ‘Operation Christmas’, ‘Mission Control’ and ‘Bring Them Home’ are tracks that make you feel that you are part of an adventure due to their very active tempo that provokes strong excitement. The varying tempo in ‘Serengeti’s Escape’, ‘Waker’ and ‘Worry Me!’ also is very entertaining. ‘Space Travel’ is accurately atmospheric and almost makes you feel like you are in skies. You can almost visualise a narrator when you listen to ‘Paris Zoo’ and ‘The Wrong Trelew’. In the latter particularly you have a bittersweet start, an exciting middle and an almost victorious end. ‘Goodbye Evie’ is a nice listen as is the strings in ‘Dash Away’. ‘Trelew, Cornwall, England’ has got one of the most effective endings I have heard. Some of the tracks are also less upbeat. ‘One Missed Child’ has got a truly melancholic start. We also have the tear-jerking ‘Arthur’s Sadness’ and endearing ‘Race to Gwen’s House’.

With Arthur Christmas being one of a yuletide nature, we also have three tracks with a Christmas theme. My absolute favourite is ‘Christmas Morning’ which is a beautiful score, breath taking sounds and ultimately creates a totally magical effect.I know that I will play this again for my own enjoyment in the period leading up to Christmas. There is also the brief but good ‘We Wish You A…’ and the final song of the album, ‘Make Somebody Happy’. This old Perry Como classic covered numerous times by many geniuses including Frank Sinatra and Eric Clapton is performed by Bill Nighy. The music is great but at first Bill Nighy’s voice didn’t do much for me. However, by the end of the song, I actually quite enjoyed this version and the experience.

This is a good soundtrack with the most amazing arrangements. It is simply another amazing collection of songs and a total success by the incredibly talented Harry Gregson-Williams.

Mo Tulloch

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