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Soundtrack review: Nim’s Island (Patrick Doyle, 2008)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Nim’s Island (Patrick Doyle, 2008)


“Nim’s island” is a fantasy movie starring Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. Patrick Doyle is no stranger to fantasy movie, so this was somewhat of a familiar territory for him. There was a time when I would have dismissed this score without listening to it, because of the light subject of the movie. But times are different now, and it’s Patrick Doyle, so I will give “Nim’s island” a chance.

There are no surprises in this score. No surprises from the composer, no surprises from the music or regarding the mood. It’s a by the numbers adventure score, slightly above average because Doyle is so talented. The music is a decent companion for the movie and it provides the occasional emotions, but never for the duration of an entire cue. Some cues begin beautifully (“Nim’s island”, “Volcano and Door” or “The great outdoors”) but lose their steam before they end. Other tracks are regular from beginning to end.

I finally feel something more towards the end of the score. “Helicopter storm” and “Alex nearly drowns” could find their place on more serious efforts. But they are just rare moments of excellence in an otherwise lackluster score. And it’s a real shame, because those tracks, or the final one, “Nim sees Jack”, are orchestral gems from Doyle, compositions that I will come back to. Overall though, the standalone listen doesn’t deliver enough quality to make me listen to it in its entirety again. The memory of this score will fade away as soon as I put my earphones down…

Cue rating: 67 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 12/ 53

Album excellence: 23%


Cues to listen to:

Volcano & Door

The Great Outdoors

Helicopter Storm

Alex Nearly Drowns

Nim Sees Jack

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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