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Alice in Wonderland (2010) (Score) Soundtrack

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Composer: Danny Elfman
  • Audio CD (March 2 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,946 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Alice's Theme
2. Little Alice
3. Proposal/Down The Hole
4. Doors
5. Drink Me
6. Into The Garden
7. Alice Reprise #1
8. Bandersnatched
9. Finding Absolem
10. Alice Reprise #2
11. The Cheshire Cat
12. Alice And Bayard's Journey
13. Alice Reprise #3
14. Alice Escapes
15. The White Queen
16. Only A Dream
17. The Dungeon
18. Alice Decides
19. Alice Reprise #4
20. Going To Battle
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Description

From Walt Disney Pictures and the vividly creative mind of award-winning director Tim Burton comes the original score to the highly anticipated feature film. The score from Alice In Wonderland, created by Burton's long time collaborator, Danny Elfman, musically lends a magical, whimsical and imaginative twist on one of the most beloved stories of all time

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Les descriptions étaient parfaites, j'adore mon produit. Les délais de livraison ont été très court, c'est idéal! Ma collection est complète!
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Format: Audio CD
Love Danny Elfman. You can hear the parallels to his other works, such as Edward Scissorhands. The main score is great, but the rest of the tracks lack any variation. Was hoping for a little more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f28b6c0) out of 5 stars 58 reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f28ea8c) out of 5 stars Outstanding Elfman score reaches back to his "Golden Period" March 12 2010
By Jon Broxton - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Much has been written over the years about the creative partnership between director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman. It now stretches back 25 years and encompasses such successful and well regarded films as Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as the animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. Despite it having been repeated ad nauseum to the point that it's almost a cliché, theirs is one of the most enduring and fruitful composer/director collaborations in cinema today; the two men complement each other intellectually and stylistically, and clearly Burton's visual style brings out the best in Elfman's music. Alice in Wonderland is a prime example of this.

Burton's take on the classic Lewis Carroll tale is an unusual one; he has explicitly stated that it is not a sequel, or a remake, or even a proper re-imagining, but instead takes all the familiar elements of the Alice story and churns them around into a curious new thing entirely. The film follows the adventures of young Alice Kingsleigh (newcomer Mia Wasikowska) a Victorian teenager who, after receiving an unwelcome marriage proposal, runs away; following a mysterious white rabbit, she accidentally falls down a rabbit hole and re-emerges in the magical land she visited as a child, although she has no memories of her adventures there years before. Through various encounters with the eccentric inhabitants of Wonderland, Alice discovers that since her departure the evil Queen of Hearts has usurped the crown and now rules wonderland with an iron fist, but fears Alice's return on account of a prophecy which says that Alice will slay the Jabberwocky, a giant dragon under the Red Queen's control, and in doing so will end her reign of terror. The visually overwhelming film, which was filmed in a combination of live action and 3-D animation, features a whole host of British and international acting talent in supporting roles, including Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar, and Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit.

Danny Elfman's writing style has altered considerably since he scored his very first film, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, in 1985. From his earliest days emulating his idols Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann to his intellectual, pseudo-classical, occasionally minimalist recent work, over the years Elfman has grown into a "proper" composer of stature and technique, with an identifiable style and sound. Nevertheless, many consider his `golden period' to be the years between 1988 and 1995, beginning with Beetlejuice and ending roughly with Dolores Claiborne. Fans of his work often pine for these glory years of emotional themes, dark crescendos and fantastical whimsy, and although he has revisited the style briefly in a few scores here and there, Elfman has steadfastly moved away from his cooing choirs and twinkly orchestrations in favor of his new, more modernistic style. It is for this reason that Alice in Wonderland will be embraced wholeheartedly by his long-standing admirers, because it hearkens back completely to those wonderful scores of the late 1980s and early 1990s, more so than any other Elfman score in over a decade. It's a score replete with rich, lustrous melodies, moody minor-key chord progressions, magical orchestrations, innocently cooing boy's choirs, and even some thunderous action music that will make admirers of scores like Batman quiver in their pants.

Rather than take a multi-character leitmotif approach to the score (which composers on fantasy films often do), Elfman's three main themes are all for Alice: they represent her past, present and future, and intertwine throughout the length of the score, cleverly illustrating the story's central idea that Alice's long-forgotten history with Wonderland is influencing her present, and altering the course of its future. The main theme, heard in the opening "Alice Theme" is strong and memorable, with a driving rhythmic core, and a clipped, staccato vocal performance by a boy's choir. Performed by the full orchestra, with initial emphasis on lilting strings, the theme builds in scope and grandeur as it progresses, picking up a powerful brass section and booming percussion hits punctuated by Gothic pipe organ chords. The lyrics - apparently a last minute addition to the score by Elfman - are appropriately downbeat, and reflect further upon the film's themes of uncertainty, choice and fate: "How can you know this way not that? You choose the door you choose the path. Perhaps you should be coming back, another day, another day".

The second theme, for Alice's past, actually forms part of the bridge between verses of the main Alice theme in the opening cue, before receiving its first prominent performance in the second cue, "Little Alice", where it is performed by elegant woodwinds and dainty chimes. Attentive listeners will hear similarities between this theme and Elfman's theme for the 1994 film Black Beauty in the melodic progression and the vaguely Irish lilt, another pleasing throwback to Elfman's golden era. For much of the score the two themes for Alice and Little Alice intertwine with each other, inseparable, reminders of her past encounters with the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat and her new adventures in their company, although there are a couple of noticeably fuller statements, such as in the graceful "The White Queen".

The third theme is reflective of Alice's desperate future as a Victorian wife, a slightly stuffy and stately English waltz for prim woodwinds and plucked cellos. First heard in the third cue "Proposal", it is absent for a great deal of the rest of the album, featuring briefly in the lovely "Only a Dream", before reappearing prominently alongside the other two themes in the penultimate "Alice Returns" cue, signaling the end of her adventures in Wonderland and her arrival back in the real world... for now at least.

Alice's theme appears frequently throughout the score, in different guises numerous cues. Each of the five "Alice Reprises" feature fragmented performances of one of the cue's verses, again performed by a cut glass boy soprano, while cues such as "Down the Hole" restate the theme in grand fashion. Later cues such as "The Cheshire Cat" see Alice's theme being performed in a more deconstructed fashion, while many of the late-album action cues feature the theme as a heroic motif for the battle ahead. In the epic "Alice Decides" Elfman places the Alice theme at the center of a massive call-to-arms, a cacophony of choral majesty and cymbal-crashing, organ-blaring fury that is almost Lord of the Rings-esque in its lavish scope and is quite wonderful.

Even when he's writing slightly more abstract and unusual music, such as in the inebriated and unexpectedly Indian-sounding "Drink Me", the mysterious and moody "Finding Absolem", or the quite tortured-sounding "The Cheshire Cat", Elfman's music is never less than interesting. His orchestrations are clever and inventive, often working in supple electronic textures, cascading string effects, or layers of chimes under his orchestra, further enhancing his comparatively recent status of a composer who knows exactly how to manage his orchestra. Throughout it all, though, Elfman maintains the overarching sense of magical whimsy through the near-constant use of high register strings and the boy's choir, oohing and aahing a pleasing, dreamlike accompaniment.

The action music, of which there is quite a lot especially towards the end of the score, tends to be dense and quite busy, and more reflective of Elfman's more contemporary writing from scores such as Hellboy II or Wanted, although even here Elfman regularly interpolates snatches of thematic content, often to enormously satisfying effect. Cues such as the second half of "Down the Hole" and the gargantuan "Bandersnatched" are brutally exciting. "Alice and Bayard's Journey" grows into a majestic string and percussion march of dark and potent beauty, and "Alice Escapes" has a frantic energy and sense of momentum that is palpable, while the three-cue finale that comprises "Going to Battle", "The Final Confrontation" and "Blood of the Jabberwocky" is tremendous, working statements of both the main Alice and the Little Alice themes into a vibrant and heroic trio of cues that have the musical muscle to make your walls tremble.

Danny Elfman hasn't written a score this thematically rich, this orchestrally robust, or with this many intentional allusions to his most popular works in many years, and as a result Alice in Wonderland is sure to be immensely popular with anyone who grew up listening to and loving the likes of Batman and Edward Scissorhands. What's even more impressive, however, is the knowledge that Elfman's the composer of intellectual authority is as much in play here as Elfman the enthusiastic newcomer; the vibrancy of the work, the structure of the themes, the cleverness of the orchestrations and harmonies, combined with the flavors of the past, make this score indispensible. Even by his own recent high standards, it's the best Elfman score in many years, and even at this early stage a contender for the best score of 2010.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f28edb0) out of 5 stars Elfman spins magic for Alice March 3 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
Another midnight download and well worth it, for me Danny Elfman is at his best when he's scoring for fantasy and the score for Alice showcases this to perfection.

What struck me immediately about Elfman's work here is the clarity of direction. I mean the atmosphere is so spot on which is exactly what I was hoping for. There is a such a strong narrative quality to the music that you can visualize where each piece would fit in the movie.

I will say that the Alice score is extremely centric. Alice's theme is the force that drives the entire score and it shows up everywhere but thankfully Elfman uses the theme skillfully so that it never becomes monotonous. Another interesting aspect of the album is that there is minimal pauses between cues so that each piece sort of fades into the next without jarring stops. I can't really think of another composer who could of created a world so absolutely in tune with what I imagine when I think of Alice in Wonderland. Strong melodies abound here which I love, with plenty of the whimsy and sweet melancholy that is Danny Elfman's signature, but where other Alice scores pour on the sugar Elfman's score never gets cute instead it reflects the fact that the Alice in Burton's story is older/ more mature and the journey that she takes darker and more real. But you get more them Elfman's gift for melody here. I dan't usually like the cues for battle scenes but but these are very well done conveying tension, danger, and agression without beating the listener over the head with horms and percusion. And still other tracks that embody the off kilter strangness of wonderland with a success I don't feel has been captured before now. There wasn't amy thing about the score that I disliked but, I was slightly disappointed that the there was no theme for tha Hatter. I just felt like there should be somthing there for him. Also an aspect of the score thate confused me is the five reprises of Alices theme Why? Alice's theme is already so present why hammer it home It seems a little heavy handed to me but maybe they are used as some kindd of narrative device in the film all but the last of them are so short I cant think of any other purpose for them.

It's fair to say that I had unrealisticly high expectations of this album and I am delighted to find that not only where my expectations largly met but that the Score for Alice in Wonderland now shares the top spot with Edward scissorhands as my favorite Elfman score to date. Stand out tracks include Proposal/Down the Hole
The Cheshire Cat
Only a Dream
Happy Listening!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f291288) out of 5 stars Elfman Evolved March 7 2010
By Alex P. Watson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With Tim Burton directing, it was always a given that Danny Elfman would be scoring the film, and he seizes the opportunity to write a large-scale and surprisingly classical fantasy adventure score. In many ways, the music is a culmination of everything Elfman has done over the past decades: the intricate rhythms of Charlie, the percussive force of Apes, the gothic grandeur of Batman, choral work similar to Edward and lyrics that recall Serenade Schizophrana.

Elfman is able to weave these elements together into a cohesive and extremely enjoyable whole, anchored by a terrific theme. "Alice's Theme" is far and away the highlight of the album, woven deeply into every track and reprised in multiple variations, many of which went modified or unused in the final cut. As such, the album is almost like a concert suite, expertly arranged to be cohesive and listenable. Any Elfman fan, film score fan, or enthusiast of bold orchestral music owes it to themselves to give this a spin.

Be warned, though: the film's frantic post-production schedule means that the album doesn't include the Avril Lavigne song from the credits or the Hatter's dance. Lots of idiots are going to give this album one star because of their own inability to read the back of the case.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f09c960) out of 5 stars Elfman's Wonder of a Score, and Another with Bite but Less of a Wonder March 5 2010
By G M. Stathis - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Because of some odd coincidences two fantasy scores by Danny Elfman have come out within a couple of weeks of one another, the first, his music for Joe Johnston's version of "The Wolfman," the other, Elfman's take on Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." While striking the right atmospheric and dramatic chords, his music for "The Wolfman" is a bit of a disappointment especially in light of his fabulous score for another, much earlier, film in this general vein: "Sleepy Hollow," and perhaps the initial and main theme bears too much of a resemblance to Wojciech Kilar's music for Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula." Still, it works on the screen and is interesting on this soundtrack; it certainly does not lack bite. There were of course all kinds of production problems with Johnston's film, including issues with the music and sadly it shows. A fine production with adequate packaging by Varese. There is no argument that fantasy films have proven the natural tapestries for both Burton and Elfman, especially when they have worked together, and "Alice in Wonderland" is no exception (reviewers who have carped that the film does not make sense have missed the essential point). A visually stunning film augmented by a wonder of a score by Elfman. The main theme is simply one of the best pieces Elfman has written (fittingly in something of an English style) and it serves as the foundation of a fine overall effort, easily one of the best film scores of this year. Much of the presentation of that main theme takes choral form and is delightful. Make no mistake, Elfman also underscores the darker aspects of this interpretation of "Alice" and it all comes together wonderfully well, the first track gives evidence to both the beauty and the intensity of Elfman's score. Where "The Wolfman" might have failed some expectations, Elfman's score for "Alice in Wonderland" surpasses them. Solid production values with acceptable packaging by Disney.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f09cc78) out of 5 stars Enchanting March 18 2010
By J. Messinger - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I thought the move itself was a B+ but I'd give this score an A. In reviewing it again, I was impressed by how much the music added to the film and how well it stands on its own. It shares the fast pacing and sense of wonder and has a lovely driving theme throughout.

I appreciated the comments of another reviewer who said the Alice theme comes up repeatedly but that we appreciate it instead of thinking "oh, that again." I definitely agree with that reviewer and similarly enjoyed this aspect of it.

I like to use soundtracks like this as background when I'm doing something creative, or as companion music for tabletop RPGs, CCG tournaments, or any other game where a fantasy ambiance add to the experience. If you like to do that, too, then I doubly recommend this CD. I'm really glad this CD doesn't include the goofy hatter dance or any rock band songs... so no worries about anything pulling you out of the millieu while you listen.

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