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Soundtrack review: Super Furball (Panu Aaltio – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Super Furball (Panu Aaltio – 2018)

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Based on the award-winning children’s novel by Paula Noronen, Super Furball tells the story of Emilia whose chance encounter with a guinea pig gives her special powers which she must learn to use. The classic superhero origin story is given a furry twist and an empowering message as Emilia not only uses her gift to stand up to bullies at school, but also solves an environmental crisis that poses a danger to her home in Helsinki. Panu Alltio wrote the score and it will be interesting to see how a Nordic composer used to quiet, emotional compositions will deal with a super hero animated tale

The main theme, though under a minute long, is infectious and superhero sounding with the powerful string section, it would work as an opening fanfare for a superhero franchise. Right from the start the music puts me in a very good mood as the composer knows how to navigate the story and how to mimic with his orchestral movements the movements of a small rodent with short feet rushing through a room. The short string and flute motifs are just perfect for a miniature creature always on the move. It is pure delight to listen to this score and it’s the kind of composition that makes me wish I would have been there for the recording sessions.

Of course it’s not all spectacular orchestral fun as the story also needs quieter moments or suspenseful moments and they are done with the same desire and brilliance; there are times like during “Two homes and a running wheel” when I feel as if I am listening to a playful Disney score from back in the days. Panu Aaltio is faithful to the magical orchestral sound that marked my childhood and, in a way, I hear an homage in this score.

“Super Furball” has anything I could ask for from an animation score: it’s vivacious, delightful when some orchestral motif sweeps me away and heartfelt whenever the music gets tender; it never loses its playfulness and it’s definitely a score I would play for my little girl. There’s nothing I haven’t heard before but there is a reason this sound works so well and Panu Aaltio must have had enormous fun composing and recording this album. It’s probably the most positive and lively score he’s written so far and just another showcase of his amazing talent.

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 57

Album excellence: 26%

Highlights:
Super Furball Theme
Main Title
Two Homes and a Running Wheel
Friends
First Meeting
Learning to Fly
Town in Crisis
Clean Water

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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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