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Soundtrack review: Sgt Stubby – An American hero (Patrick Doyle – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Sgt Stubby – An American hero (Patrick Doyle – 2018)



“Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” is a 2018 computer-animated adventure film centering on the real-life Sergeant Stubby, a stray Boston Terrier who becomes a hero during World War I. Directed and co-written by Richard Lanni, it features the voices of Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gérard Depardieu. Patrick Doyle wrote the score and this is the reason I am reviewing it, I could never pass on a Doyle score.

I could never pass on a Patrick Doyle score because he is the composer that keeps the sweeping orchestral flame burning no matter the project, no matter the story. There is such a positive vibe and joy in his music that even if usually I not a big fan of animation scores I do no hesitate in diving into this one. And it is a light score, as expected, but light orchestral is sometimes everything I need to just feel good. The music just flows easily and pleasantly. Patrick Doyle tones down his music because even if it’s heroic, this is a story about a small dog, with a small world surrounding him. The military element is presented through brass and string motifs and I got to say that a cue like “Training” can be on any inspirational score and would work just as well. The comedic sound is wonderfully played by the orchestra, it’s so easy to bring smiles from the listeners with a score like this, simple and enjoyable.

Patrick Doyle finds just the right balance between emotion and playfulness in this score; he makes sure the music is never overwhelming but infuses it with enough emotional content to make me care; whenever a piano motif like the one in “Goodbye” comes on I forget the comedy and remember the hero. Piano and memorable dogs, I remember Jan A.P. Kaczmarek wrote a great score for “Hachiko – A dog’s story” some years ago where the piano was prominent.

Both the playful and the serious vibes of “Sgt. Stubby – An American hero” will please light orchestral movie fans. Patrick Doyle can write small scale as well and still make a difference.

Cue rating: 75 / 100

“Good Night Boy”
Welcome Yankee Division
Stubby the Hero
“Rains Came Down”

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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  1. Paul Martin 30th August 2019

    I was watching Sgt. Stubby on HBO today, and thought the score sounded familiar. In fact, it sounded a lot like Cinderella (2015) to me. Looked it up, and both films were composed by Patrick Doyle!


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