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Soundtrack review: Leo da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa (Marco Fedalto – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Leo da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa (Marco Fedalto – 2018)



In the late Middle Age’s Italy, Leonardo “Leo” Da Vinci is a young boy lover to invent advanced machines who lives happy with his best friend Lorenzo and beauty Lisa, being secretly fall in love with her. After to test the first dive suit of his creation in a lake, tragedy appears when coming back to home Lisa realizes that her house and lands have been burned by a fire. A trip to Florence makes him and Lisa meet a storyteller that explains in a plaza the story of a pirate ship sunken with a great treasure inside it. He and his motley group arrive to Montecristo Island looking for the treasure, but not knowing that a pirates follow each step they make, waiting the right time to steal the treasure and eliminate Leo and his friends. Marco Fedalto wrote the score.

As always, when I see 50 cues in the track list I shudder; it’s a pet peeve of mine, too many short cues in a score, especially since this one is a little over an hour long. But hey, in the end it’s the music that matters, not how it’s divided or how fragmented it is and this is an Italian composer we are talking about; the land of sweeping romance in film music. Naturally it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes, or cues, to put a big old smile on my face and make me forget my quibbling. For me the best way an animation score works if it is full orchestral and adventurous and “Leo da Vinci” starts in full swing, vivacious and inviting. The orchestra just goes wild with a positive vibe and infectious joy. The trick is to go orchestral; there is almost no way in which a beautiful orchestral piece can become generic or frustrating so no matter how long the cues or the score, enjoyment is had. I don’t even care about the story anymore, I just follow the music and listen to the instruments come together in beautiful melodies. I just love discovering the little surprises hidden in cues, be they a comedic harmonica motif, a soulful violin insert or a sweeping passage that makes me think of flying.

The theme for “Lisa” for example might be only half a minute long but boy is it charming and catchy. Amazingly the theme for Leo clocks in at half that, some 14 seconds and still Marco Fedalto makes something enjoyable of it. This is something both exciting and unexpected as this score is just full of nuggets of brilliance like this; I mean just listen to a cue like “Lisa’s father”,a dramatic, heroic orchestral piece just hidden there among 49 other pieces. I assure you this score is worth the listen from start to finish, that is if you are into orchestral gems that no matter the story or setting are just delightful to hear. I said it before and I will say for as long as I have both ears and fingers: whenever you come upon a score written by an Italian composer, do not miss it. nobody writes romance and orchestral fervour like the Italians.


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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