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Soundtrack review: The star (John Paesano – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The star (John Paesano – 2018)

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“The Star” is a 2017 American computer-animated Christian adventure comedy film directed by Timothy Reckart. Based on the Nativity of Jesus, and an original idea by Tom Sheridan, the screenplay was written by Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore. It is produced by Sony Pictures Animation, with partnership from Walden Media, Affirm Films and The Jim Henson Company. It stars the voices of Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey. John Paesano wrote the score.

Even if it’s January the Christmas spirit hasn’t gone for good so there’s still time to enjoy a score for a animation related to the Nativity. The “Main title” is sweeping and fairy tale like, with the epic choir that does justice to the story. It’s an animation movie so the next cue “Royal dreams” goes playful and bright and I find myself in a very pleasant mood while listening to this score. John Paesano’s music has expanded in range and tone over the last couple of years and I am glad to discover yet another side of his craft with this orchestral playfulness. Not just that but the way the choir is used to punctuate various moments and the combination of action fervor and flute tenderness make for a very enjoyable listening experience.

“Escape of the flying donkey” is a great old school orchestral adventure piece that it’s impossible not to like. A movie like this needs to feel like a beautiful story on every level and the music plays its integral part. The epic thread of the score is well defined and the warmth of John Paesano’s composition make me enjoy even cues that would normally fade in the background for me. There’s also that general feeling of joy, of positiveness that just makes me smile almost all the time.

There are also peak moments like “Finding the caravan” where the composer goes for that sweeping, emotional sound that means instant goose bumps for me. These are just bonuses because the score would have been a winner even without them. If you enjoy adventurous and emotional animation scores, a complete package including the sillier moments and the feverish ones, you will have a field day with “The star” as John Paesano checks all the boxes.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 23 / 45

Album excellence: 50%

Highlights:
Main Title
Escape of the Flying Donkey
Gifts from the Magi
We’ve Got Trouble
Good for Nothing Donkey
Finding the Caravan
Baby is Coming
Message From God
Saving the Night
The Flock is Growing

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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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