Film scores

Soundtrack review: Pirate’s passage (Andrew Lockington – 2015)

piratespassage

Andrew Lockington is a name I’ve heard mentioned quite often. People loved his score for “Journey 2”. I haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet but it’s on my list. Until then it’s time to discover him through his score for the animation picture “Pirate’s passage”. This is a story produced, co-written by and voiced by Donald Sutherland. It’s based on a novel that follows a mysterious seadog who wants to teach local pirates for a school project. Naturally the story gets complicated by the arrival of a modern day pirate as his competition. All the premises are there for an exciting score. I mean, you can’t go wrong with an imaginative pirate story, right?

Right, as we are thrown right in the middle of the action with the opening cue “Seven chests”. Action and mystery combine for an opening that puts me right on the deck of a ship sailing towards adventure. And as if this wasn’t enough to get me to connect with this story there are gusts of Celtic music blowing through this cue every now and then. They are expanded upon in the cue that probably shows us the setting in which the story takes place: “Morning, 1952”. The cue doesn’t go very deep inside the Celtic sound but combines it with a light and pretty guitar theme which puts me in a good mood.

These two cues made me be very patient with the score and this patience paid off in “Skull and Cross swords” which is over 6 minutes long and takes its time in getting off the ground. Once again the Celtic inserts towards the end made the piece worthwhile. There’s more mystery than action so far in “Pirate’s passage” and I need to adjust my expectations a bit and get in the right mood. Luckily the composer has a way of inserting small melodic or epic motifs in almost every cue and I feel like a child discovering a treasure every time one of them caresses my ears. And then there are the Celtic gigs – did I mention them already? – which I can never get enough of.

“A ship in the storm” is where the score gets serious. This is the action music I was waiting for and I love the way it’s constructed. The music plays with me and I enjoy following it. Once again tough the cue is a bit uneven and I am nor enjoying it from start to finish. That is until the majestic theme for Captain Johnson, our main hero, comes along. This is a turning point from the score. The music seems to be getting deeper and more developed from then on. “Vikings” is the most wonderful of ballads and I can almost feel the water drops on my face when I listen to it. I am excited to be part of this journey and this is the first cue from “Pirate’s passage” which I mark for my list of favorite cues of the year.

The momentum keeps going with the equally charming “Show me to your room”. I can feel all the innocence and excitement of this cue, the thrill and the longing. There’s the unmistakable and exciting pirate vibe in “Boat comes loose”, the serious melancholy in “Fast friends” and the sweet Celtic jigs in both of them. There’s the fairy tale sound of “Hiding the chest”.

“Pirate’s passage” won’t be the most exciting adventure or fantasy score you’ve heard, but it has enough interesting moments. They are sometimes scattered and there are some uneven cues on this score but for me, the good moments far outlast the bad and I am left with a nice feeling once the score is over and with the echoes of those Celtic jigs. For me the best parts were the emotional ones.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 62

Album excellence: 34%

Highlights:

Captain Johnson

Vikings

Show Me To Your Room

Boat Comes Loose

Hiding The Chest

Searching The Basement

Closing Theme

Meg’s Song

About the author

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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