CAT IN THE HAT, THE: SOUNDTRACK
Review by Brad Green:
I wonder if any of the kiddies who see the film will get half as much fun out of it as David Newman evidently did writing this score. He takes the full spirit of one the best loved children’s books of all time and turns an orchestra into an anarchic ensemble of merriment, much like a behatted feline let loose in a house where the parents are away on a rainy day.
Given full license to play the lair, Newman shows off every trick in his composer’s kitty bag; for this soundtrack, imagination trumps taste and restraint every time. A winning theme is introduced in the Main Title opener, first on piano and then passed around the orchestra in quick succession; it reappears throughout the score in various guises and with ever-increasing wackiness. Meanwhile a kaleidoscopic pastiche of musical gags, mischievous arrangements and chaotic rhythms keep the whole thing rolling with a restless energy.
Whimsical strings give way to whooping brass, pizzicato patterns are interrupted by smoky jazz, dizzy maelstroms of percussion are joined by quirky toy-like sounds; and even after the cavalier playfulness is well and truly established, Newman manages to push the envelope of unlikeliness with a few bars of jungle congas, a bass ‘n’ drum beat or a funk break.
There are also two songs penned by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman which have the same spirit as the score although not quite the magic. Nevertheless, they provide the perfect vehicle for Mike Myers to sound like he’s hamming it up and gargling green eggs at the same time. A further song by Smash Mouth, a straightforward cover of the Beatles’ Getting Better, is out of place here. Despite some impressive backing harmonies it has a mediocre lead vocal and far too much drabness for the colourful tracks around it.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this soundtrack is only for the tiny tykes. Sure refinement is tipped in the blender from the get-go, but Newman’s musical wit does justice to Theodore Seuss Geisel’s tongue twisters, kooky rhymes and unlimited imagination. There is terrific entertainment value here for anyone of any age with even the slightest predilection for the Cat’s mantra of “fun, fun, fun”.
Published April 1, 2004
Email this article
TITLE: Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat
SCORE: David Newman
SONGS: Marc Shaiman/Scott Whittman
ARTISTS: Smash Mouth; Mike Myers