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Soundtrack review: The Lego Batman movie (Lorne Balfe – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The Lego Batman movie (Lorne Balfe – 2017)

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“The Lego Batman Movie” is an upcoming American 3D computer-animated action-comedy superhero film and produced by Warner Animation Group. The film is directed by Chris McKay and written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern & John Whittington. It is a spin-off of the 2014 film The Lego Movie, focusing on the DC Comics character Batman, set in the same universe as the previous film; Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers and directors of the original film, act as producers. It stars the voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes. Batman goes on a personal journey to find himself and learn the importance of teamwork and friendship in the hopes of saving Gotham City from a hostile takeover set by The Joker. Lorne Balfe, one of the busiest and most exciting composers around, wrote the score.

I am familiar with the LEGO Batman concept because this was one of the few console games I enjoyed playing. I remember the music from that and the Elfman like mood but Lorne is different and brings his own flavor. A flavor that immediately links to my favorite Dark Knight sounds as “Black” opens with the percussion that made the Hans Zimmer trilogy of scores one of my favorites. It literally takes 10 seconds for me to be sucked into this score by its dark seductive electronic vibes. The connection to the Zimmer sound is only marginal and serves as a nod and Easter Egg for the fans, as Lorne puts on the cape and jumps into his own exciting Batman sound.  I imagine how much fun it must be for any composer (and not only) to take on this iconic character and make a place for themselves in the universe. “Black” serves as a suite for me and rarely gives me a moment’s rest; The Batman darkness is here but the tone is lighter and more fun as this is, after all, an animation movie. A cue like this, orchestral and effervescent puts me in a great mood.

I remember Lorne used to post social media updates from the recording sessions and the orchestra was always in full swing. I have now a sound to attach to those images and it’s just spectacular and I have a big smile on my face as the score draws to an end; there are choral sections (light and Christmassy), relentlessly paced chase sequences and did I mention this score is unbelievably fun? Plus, besides the nods to the Zimmer Dark Knight scores and the Danny Elfman mood I also hear links to the other side of the Batman universe, the animation side ruled by Freddie Wiedman. The climax of “The LEGO Batman movie”, “Battle royale” is already one of the best cues I’ve heard this year.

From the over the top and industrial motifs for The Joker to the playful and carefree Robin moments that charm me from the first seconds and the gothic inserts, “The Lego Batman” score is a feast for the ears. Complete with the funky 70s like joy of “Chaos in Gotham” the entire score is all about the smiles. Not only that but you will get heroic and inspiring music at its best with anthems like “For your own good” or “A long farewell”. Lorne Balfe brings his entire arsenal of versatility and passion and shows how an animation score should sound like to be fun and engaging. DO not miss this one.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 34 / 53

Album excellence: 64%

Highlights:

Black

Your Greatest Enemy

Joker Crashes The Party

No Seat Belts Required

Chaos In Gotham

Lava Attack

For Your Own Good

Battle Royale

A long farewell

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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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