Soundtrack review: Finding Neverland (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 2004)
“Finding Neverland” is a biographical movie, starring Johnny Depp, about the playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired him to write Peter Pan. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek won the Academy Award for this, and I remembered frowning at the news, because James Newton Howard’s “The Village” and a Harry Potter score by John Williams were also competing.
The score breathes childish innocence and joy. There’s a children’s choir playing with us on “The spoon on the nose”, and sets the magic feel of the score. The “Neverland” theme is a simple solo piano theme, light and sweet. There’s nothing else but piano and this cue stands out because it’s stripped of anything else. I see this track as the border between the fantasy world and the more serious real world depicted in cues like “The marriage”.
“Children arrive” makes me think of Howard Shore’s “Big”, that’s the level of nostalgia it brings. It sounds like a tune that could be played in that toy store, on the huge walk on piano. I feel happy listening to this cue and then to “Drive to the cottage”. I feel happy listening to the cues about the Peter Pan play as well. I love piano and I love simple way in which Jan A.P. Kaczmarek weaves an entire fantasy world using it in “Finding Neverland”.
Beautiful as this score is, it doesn’t hold a high replay value for me. I connect with it when I listen to it, but I don’t feel the need to come back to it often…it’s probably because I have a stronger emotional connection with other similar scores and I go to those when I need to dream and feel like a child again. I won’t listen often to this score in its entirety, but what I will do is listen again to gems like “Impossible opening”, “Forgotten overture” or “This is Neverland”…
Cue rating: 72 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 30 / 59
Album excellence: 51%
Where Is Mr. Barrie?
Dancing With The Bear
Drive To The Cottage
The Peter Pan Overture
This Is Neverland