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Soundtrack review: The Boxtrolls (Dario Marianelli – 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The Boxtrolls (Dario Marianelli – 2014)



Dario Marianelli is one of the composers who almost always comes up with beautiful, sweeping orchestral compositions that never leave the listener cold. When he does that, the result is usually great. When he ventures into a different territory, like “V for vendetta”, for example, the results are also quite remarkable. I was curious to hear his score for the dark animated movie “The Boxtrolls”.

Animated movie scores are usually among the hardest for me to listen to and write about, because most of them are light and generic. They have about the same twists, turns, sound and it’s not easy to find something to remember. I did have high hopes from this one, since it was written by Dario Marianelli.

Unfortunately, although it tries to be different and fire at us with quirky and sharp sounds, it fails. I had a very hard time sitting through this score, because even though it offers variation, it feels like it’s walking in circles and returning to the same point. The score doesn’t evolve, it just repeats itself to the point where it becomes very boring and I can’t wait for it to end… Instead of having fun and enjoying myself, I am getting frustrated and impatient, and this is not the way an animated movie score should feel.

The only cue that stood out for me was “To the rescue”, probably because in that moment I was in the mood for that kind of fun and adventurous track. Other than that, I’ve already forgotten “The Boxtrolls”. Usually when I get such a strong adverse reaction towards a score, I will listen to it again soon to make sure it wasn’t just an unsuitable moment for it. I will amend this review accordingly…


Cue score: 58 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 56

Album excellence: 4%


To the rescue

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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