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Score/Soundtrack Review: Frankenweenie & Frankenweenie Unleashed

October 31, 2012

By Erin V.

The score CD starts with a version of the classic ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ Disney logo, with a Frankenweenie twist.  For those who’ve seen the film, they will recognize that this was played over the Frankenweenie style logo they used for the film.

The music Danny Elfman has composed for Tim Burton’s newest film may surprise those who have not yet seen the film, but it fits it perfectly.  The music is very quiet for a good bit of the score, and plays very much to the relationship between Victor and his dog Sparky.

The score relies heavily on strings, which works very nicely here.  There are many themes that repeat and build throughout which I quite liked.  Track 7 ‘Re-Animation’ is a strong example of Elfman’s writing here.  Its use of tempo changes, and blending of themes works very well both in the film and on consecutive listens.  This piece stands out for me as it comes over a very pivotal point in the story.

Since the score is mainly a string based one, the addition of organ and other instruments in track 15 really stands out and calls attention as the story takes a darker turn, and introduces new themes as well.  18 is quite an interesting track, with a lot of ostinato, mix of instruments and definitely a good build up to the finale.  Track 19 and 20 as well are favourites of mine.

Overall, the whole thing runs very sequentially and while it is good music to be enjoyed on its own, for those who’ve seen the film it is the perfect way to relive the beats of the story.

It’s a shame that Frankenweenie didn’t do better at the box office, since it really is one of the best and most unique films of the year.  The music is a must have for those who enjoyed the film and in my book is one of the best scores of the year so far.

In all, the score CD has almost 56 minutes worth of music, and considering the film is only 87 minutes long we have a fair bit included here.  Also on the CD are two bonus tracks, and alternate of the main titles, and one called ‘Over the Fence.’

ALSO RELEASED was a companion album called Frankenweenie Unleashed!.  It features songs inspired by and from Frankenweenie.

This CD opens with the Karen O song ‘Strange Love’ which was written for the film and plays over the end credits.  I quite like the song and found it fit the film well.  It has interesting instrumentation behind it as well with a calypso style and theremin solo.

Both this song and the rest of the CD will appeal as the film did more to the teenager and adult demographic with its alternate and indie pop/rock feel.  Most of the songs use interesting instruments and fit together well even with each their own styles.  I like the way the album is put together with a mix between tempos and tones.  The last track is Winona Ryder’s version of the song ‘Praise Be New Holland,’ which played a part in the film.

The Frankenweenie Unleashed! album runs for just under 53 minutes.  It’s a cool and eclectic mix and I enjoyed it overall.

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Frankenweenie and Frankenweenie Unleashed! were released by Universal Music Canada on September 25th, 2012.

The music for Frankenweenie was composed by Danny Elfman, and the songs on Frankenweenie Unleashed! are by various artists.

You can read our full theatrical reviews of the film here.

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