Tony Black reviews the score for Smurfs: The Lost Village…
Who knew we were getting a new Smurfs movie? Especially one with, as it turns out, a really quite charming score. Christopher Lennertz for some reason hasn’t broken out to become one of the giants in modern composing but it’s hard to see why as he consistently delivers enjoyable music, not just for cinema but TV and video games – he provided an excellent alternate score to Quantum of Solace for its PlayStation video game around a decade ago. Smurfs: The Lost Village provides him with another opportunity to deliver, this time for an animated movie score which has a great deal in common with the perky yet at times Gothic strings of Danny Elfman at his most adventuresome.
Kelly Asbury’s picture tells the story of Smurfette and her friends on a race against time through the Forbidden Forest to find the titular lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel can get there, and Lennertz compliments the journey with a pleasant, fast-moving score filled with interesting instrumentation. Tracks such as ‘Get Those Smurfs!’ or ‘Freezeball Chase’ are like running down a mountain, filled with drums and horns which cascade into one other and throw you into the fraught animated scenario. Lennertz also manages to craft a sense of theme for the main characters too, ‘Gargamel’s Lair’ nicely conveying the ominous evil of the main villain.
It’s all very clear, easy to read and filled with childlike brio but that’s the point and in this instance it no doubt serves the movie well. Lennertz also manages to use varied pieces of instrumentation from different world music too along the way, whether it’s bamboo pipes or folk guitars which evoke a sense almost of Russian ambience; he dips his toe in various different musical waters which prevent The Lost Village being simple action adventure bombast and frequently allows tracks such as ‘Rabbit Warren Hoedown’ or ‘Raft Chase’ to stand out from the crowd.
If you can stomach the frightfully mawkish opening song which saw Lennertz bring in KT Tunstall for some vocals, which also lends itself to Smurfette’s final theme, there’s a fair bit to enjoy with Smurfs: The Lost Village. It’s not Lennertz’s best work, nor is it wholly a score that can be enjoyed completely outside of the context of its movie, but it has touches of inventive musical composition beyond the simple action adventure thrust of the tracks which make it among the more enjoyable animated scores. Will it be better than it’s movie? Time will tell on that score.