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Soundtrack review: Secondhand lions (Patrick Doyle, 2003)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Secondhand lions (Patrick Doyle, 2003)


Yes, of course, I’m coming along, I’m up for it! The “Main titles” from “Secondhand lions” just called me out to play. And when an old school orchestral wonder theme calls me out to play, I follow it. I don’t even have time to see what it’s all about. I read in a hurry “comedy…drama…Haley Joel Osment…Michael Caine…Robert Duvall…introverted kid…eccentric uncles…farm”. Yeah, OK, it fits, I don’t need to know more, I mean I hear cues like “The Plunger” and I’m sold on the adventure part. But the time “Walter runs away” gets a little dramatic, I am already invested in the score and curious about what comes next.
Are we already in Africa?? “Foreign legion” and “Secondhand arrival” move the fun on to that continent with a funny ethnic vibe. “Hub meets Jasmine” and “Hub rescues Jasmine” make me think of Indiana Jones, that’s how cool and funny they are. The cues are short, sweet and all over the place, but the enjoyment is great. The score is for a comedy so I play along. “Lion hunt” sounds cartoonish while “The assassins” starts playful and continues adventurous, never becoming seriously threatening.
I get off the ride during the second half…it was fun but enough, the rest of the cues aren’t that interesting for me. I imagine they do their job supporting the images, but as a standalone listen they are pretty harmless. Again, as with every Patrick Doyle score so far, it never gets boring or repetitive, and there’s something to find in each of them.
“Secondhand lions” is your typical comedy score, but written by Patrick Doyle, which raises it above the bunch and ensures you will find some hidden gems. Like “She was a real lion”, for example. Or “Walter comes home”. Or “Piano suite”, because who doesn’t enjoy a Patrick Doyle piano suite…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 71 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 23 / 46
Album excellence: 51%
Cues to listen to:
Main Titles
The Trunk
The Plunger
Walter Runs Away
Fireside Chat
Hub Meets Jasmine
Sheik Swordfight
She Was a Real Lion
Walter Comes Home
Piano suite
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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