What You Will Hear: Orchestra, choir, and a bit of rock n’ roll, theramin, 8-bit gaming, kazoos, and electronica.
Standout Tracks: Every track is worth your time! Favorites: Comic Book Opening, Bromance Origin Story, A Hero Is Born, Separation Anxiety, Saving the Day, The Prank for Good
Will You Be Humming Along? There are two very enjoyable themes that are used quite often.
The album this makes me want to dust off: Megamind – Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe
Will I come back to it? Yes. With this release, Theodore Shapiro gives us the best of every animated genre. One moment feels like How to Train Your Dragon while the very next will make you think Bugs Bunny has entered the scene. The transitions between all the different sounds are seamless and entertaining. No matter what is happening on screen, the orchestra and choir are always the lead ensembles. I always appreciate a composer that can use standard orchestrations to achieve such a wide-ranging comical soundscape.
The main themes are a blast. Captain Underpants himself has a fanfare from which Shapiro quotes often. The first three notes call out from the brass (think the first few notes of John Williams’ Superman theme) to hold everything together nicely. The characteristic that will stick with you most, however, is the use of lyrics. In this case, the word “underpants” is epically repeated over and over by a large choir. And it totally works. This is an oddly fascinating thing: the theme is great heroic writing, but the lyrics make it hysterical at the same time. The two boys in the story also have a theme which (I believe) represents their friendship or hijinks. It is a great contrast to the heroic theme and brings a little bit of lightness to an over the top adventure story. But, it also can shine as a big bombastic moment. Both themes are malleable and every variation works.
Whether you’re hearing a true action sequence, a tender moment, or a “boom-chick” slapstick portion of the score, this is a light hearted and goofy experience that is totally worthwhile. Much to my son’s delight, I’ve been walking around singing “underpants…” for the past few days, and I’ll continue to do so for weeks to come. Captain Underpants, welcome to our HoF!