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"Wendy' is a playful score with more than a dash of magic / MOVIE WAVE

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A reimagining of Peter Pan that transplants it to the American Deep South, Wendy is the second movie from director Benh Zeitlin; as on the first (Beasts of the Southern Wild) he has co-composed the score with Dan Romer. It's a playful score with more than a dash of magic – and if I say that it's got a reasonable sized orchestra, plenty of pizzicato strings, all sorts of percussion, a large number of colourful instruments adding distinctive flavours including dulcimer, glass harmonica, guitars and marimba then you'll probably think it sounds a bit like Thomas Newman. In fact it doesn't sound anything like Thomas Newman and while it's quite impressive that Romer and Zeitlin could write a score which could be described as such and not sound like Newman, it's even more impressive that they've managed to create something so incredibly distinctive that is so full of life and joy and magic and feeling – and it really is.

There's a really nice main theme heard early on in the energetic "Straight on Till Morning" which is later fully unleashed in "Never Grow Up" and the fantastic "Battle for Mañana"; and a secondary theme representing the gaia-like guardian of the magical island where children stay children, introduced in "The Mother", which is full of awe and wonder. "The Old Hand" is an extraordinary cue which symbolises the composers' great creativity – the atmosphere from the steel drums, plucked strings, chimes and eventually wordless soprano is something to behold. This is immediately followed by "Where Lost Boys Go", which is every bit as magical as a cue with that title should be, wistful strings covering the listener like a warm blanket. It's not all sweetness and light – the early "The Haunted Train" is more like a traditional piece of fantasy scoring with slight horror elements; the lengthy "Want to Fly?" is exciting and energetic. Wendy is a really well-rounded listening experience, with so many positives to its name – it's genuinely different and creative and very enjoyable indeed.

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