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Alice In Wonderland - Danny Elfman
on 15 March 2010
Rarely do I buy a contemporary score without first seeing the movie, but on hearing 'Alice's Theme' in a high street store I made an instinctive purchase. This main theme, reprised 5 times, is unquestionably one of Elfman's finest, and I suspect will be going round in my head long after the CD player has been powered off.
Elfman's Wonderland is a much darker place than previous composers have imagined - sometimes thunderous, sometimes melancholic, but nothing, I repeat nothing that could be remotely construed as cute, pretty or cloying that one might have presumed to hear in a movie bearing the Disney logo. Another divergence from the traditional route of scoring Alice is the absence of individual themes for Wonderland's eccentric characters, with Elfman focusing his score predominantly on Alice herself. There is scant reference to Alice's own cultural roots in 19th Century England, with perhaps a fleeting glimpse of it in Proposal, but even Elfman's use of an English boy's choir has something of the Carl Orf about it.
This being Elfman's eleventh collaboration with director Tim Burton, there are bound to be similarities with previous scores, and listening to Alice is, at times, akin to hearing the best bits from his repertoire which, in Elfman's case, is highly enjoyable. So, whether you've seen the movie or not, this is a highly enjoyable score from beginning to end that surely boasts one of the catchiest movie themes heard for some time.