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Soundtrack review: Robinson Crusoe (Ramin Djawadi – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Robinson Crusoe (Ramin Djawadi – 2016)


“Robinson Crusoe” (released in the United States as The Wild Life) is a 2016 Belgian-French 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film. On a tiny exotic island, Tuesday, an outgoing parrot lives with his quirky animal friends in paradise. However, Tuesday can’t stop dreaming about discovering the world. After a violent storm, Tuesday and his friends wake up to find a strange creature on the beach: Robinson Crusoe. Tuesday immediately views Crusoe as his ticket off the island to explore new lands. Likewise, Crusoe soon realizes that the key to surviving on the island is through the help of Tuesday and the other animals. The score is written by Ramin Djawadi and it’s nice to see him venture in the animation world.

Just like the story of the movie is a permanent vacation from the real world the music is a vacation taken by the composer from technology, Japanese monsters or “Game of thrones”. His music takes a fresh cocktail and sits on the beach in the middle of a laid back island party. The instruments used are warm and jolly. I can close my eyes and see a Hawaiian celebration take place with the native drums and strings.

There are a lot animation scores which could work for feature films because of how the action and emotions develop, and there are animations scores that breathe innocence and childlike joy and every sentiment expressed by the music sounds as if experimented by a child who exaggerated both the joy and the worries. “Robinson Crusoe” for me falls in the latter category. The music is colorful and playful and as I listen to it I am looking at my little girl’s playground and the association is obvious.

Then comes a cue lie “The storm” which turns me from spectator to participant. Things get exciting even for me and I join in the game. This is an entertaining and spectacular theme which makes me think of John Powell’s animation action cues. This piece marks the change in tone for the score as the adventure begins.  As always with me and animation scores, I smile at the comedic moments and get very excited by the action ones. I am not the biggest fan of animation scores so I cling to cues like “That’s help in any language”.

But if you usually enjoy the amusing twists and turns of an animation score, “Robinson Crusoe” delivers. You’ll find in it everything you might love in the genre and I am convinced that if I’ll watch the movie with my kid I will be even more invested in the music.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 45

Album excellence: 33%


The storm

A little snack

That’s help in any language

That must have hurt

Going home

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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