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Postman Pat The Movie (Rupert Gregson-Williams)

September 11, 2014

Cover_PostmanPatPOSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE

Rupert Gregson-Williams, 2014, Lakeshore Records
19 tracks, 38:37

Our favorite postie hits the big screen – not literally or physically… it’s just a saying. The film’s original music is written by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Will his score fare better than the film itself?

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

A British national treasure, “Postman Pat” makes its (or his) debut on the big screen. Personally I wonder ‘why’, but there you go. It’s done now. Pat comes face-to-face with the temptations of money, status and a shiny new suit when he enters a national TV talent show competition that threatens to tear him away from his hometown of Greendale, his family and friends. Will Pat fall for the age-old temptation of the grass being greener….? The film was released in the UK back in May. Reviews were largely negative and box office performance has been poor (earning just over five million pounds to date – barely a tenth of what, say, “The Lego Movie” has made). On the other hand… It gave Rupert Gregson-Williams an opportunity to write a lovely score, which is now being released by Lakeshore Records.

What does it sound like?

Composer Rupert Gregson-Williams says: “I worked closely with director Mike Disa to find the lush, green and pleasant sound of Greendale. I started with the opening sequence which was important – We wanted to make fans of “Postman Pat” feel at home but also we needed to reflect the colors and size that the movie brought to them.

And so the album opens with a lovely, pastoral main theme full of optimism and joy. Strings dominate, whilst horns give it depth and frolicking flutes, piano and strumming guitar add a playful touch. “Hotels” feels like an immediate extension to the “Opening” cue, as the theme is taken over by the woodwinds with strings and guitar in the background.

The main theme recurs numerous times throughout the score and, together with a secondary theme for Sara, gives it real heart and soul. “Pat Nailed It”, “Greendale Into Action”, “Sara Needs to Talk” and “Pat Alone” are beautiful cues, some of which are drenched in melancholy, relying on soft strings and whimsical piano play. “What’s Important”  and “Sara Arrives” are simply gorgeous and provide the album with a rewarding and poignant climax.

The score houses a few action cues that remain light-hearted (so not to frighten the kiddies too much) but that are still infectiously energetic. Cues such as “Pat-Bot Into Service”, “Scooter Chase”, “Postman Pat is Back”, “Rooftops and Cat-Bot” and “Robot Takeover and Defeat” all offer racing strings, playful writing for mallets and woodwinds (including saxophone) and plenty of light percussion. Gregson-Williams doesn’t shy away from some dramatic strings- and brass crescendos; and all throughout these tracks the writing is satisfyingly complex.

Is it any good?

Rupert Gregson-Williams has delivered a perfectly lovely, innocent little score that really deserves an audience. Sure the film didn’t do well and the album cover is, well, atrocious… so get it off iTunes or Amazon or Google. It is a fairly straight-forward, feel-good score that should appeal to anyone who enjoys the lighter works of Alan Silvestri, John Debney, Danny Elfman or Ilan Eshkeri’s “The Snowman and Snowdog”. And let’s not ignore Gregson-Williams own career that includes scores like “Bee Movie” and “Over the Hedge”. Look, there is nothing tremendously original about “Postman Pat” (nor should there be – it’s about a guy who works for Royal Mail for crying out loud…) and it falls short of brilliant scores like “Chicken Run” and “Curse of the Wererabbit”, both of which were allowed to be just a tad bigger and bolder.

Still “Postman Pat: The Movie” is a memorable and infectious score, with satisfyingly complex writing and colourful orchestrations (credited to Alastair King). And I deliberately haven’t mentioned ‘mickey-mousing’, because there isn’t much of that going on – some, but not much. What is not to like? You must be severely allergic to any kind of optimism and playfulness not to appreciate Gregson-Williams’ work. Yet I can’t help but feel that this album may be a hard sell, due to the film and the cover. Let that not upset you. This score will brighten up your day and put a smile on your face!

Rating [3,5/5]

… is it too late to say that Rupert Gregson-Williams really put his stamp on it…?

Tracklisting

01. Opening
02. Hotels
03. Pickups and Deliveries
04. Pat Nailed It
05. SDS Corporate Office
06. Pat-Bot 3000
07. Pat-Bot Into Service
08. Sara Needs To Talk
09. Scooter Chase
10. Greendale Into Action
11. Megalomaniac
12. Pat Alone
13. Oh No
14. Postman Pat is Back
15. Rooftops and Cat-Bot
16. Pat’s A Robot
17. What’s Important
18. Robot Takeover and Defeat
19. Sara Arrives

 

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