Monkey Bone (Soundtrack) by Anne Dudley



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Monkey Bone (Soundtrack) by Anne Dudley

"Monkey Shines"
Review by Steve Townsley


Monkey Bone (Soundtrack) by Anne Dudley

Monkey Bone

Monkey Bone (Soundtrack) by Anne Dudley


Category  |   Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 8
Composition 9
CD Length 8
Track Order 6
Performance 7
Final Score 8/10







Anne Dudley
Anne Dudley


Quick Quotes

Dudley's score helped guide the film through its course. It feels a bit like Elfman's and Walker's work, but still retains an air of originality that it truly Dudley's own." ***.5

Dan Goldwasser - Reviews Monkey Bone



Music composed by Anne Dudley
Album Produced by Roger Dudley
Executive Producer: Robert Towson
Orchestrations: Geoff Alexander and Anne Dudley.
Orchestra Leader: Rolf Wilson
Guitar: Hugh Burns; Drum Programming: Christian Henson
Orchestra Recorded as Whitfield Street Studios, London
Recorded and Mixed by Mike Ross-Trevor
Released by Varese Sarabande Records - March 20, 2001

Reportedly the “first bomb” movie of 2001, audiences knew very little what to make of director Henry Selick’s latest imaginative cinematic offering. Famous for his innovative stop-motion puppet work on The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, audiences made the mistake of pigeonholing his films as geared towards children. Based on the comic book Dark Town, the movie Monkeybone is most certainly is not geared towards children, though with its’ colorful designs and comic overtones, the mistake at large was trying to sell it to kids. More akin to Ralph Bakashi’s live-action/animation Cool World (1992), the sub-conscious storyline behind Monkeybone may be, at best, largely misunderstood. The title is, itself, a two-part euphemism for sexual presence, and most of the Freudian symbolism continues a mile-a-minute upward from there. It is important to premise with this, because it begins a rather eclectic road for Oscar-winning composer Anne Dudley to set down.

Renown for her work on The Full Monty, and with 80’s pop-band Art of Noise, Dudley’s score for Monkeybone is, as mentioned before, eclectic. At times the music is charmingly small, and then suddenly dramatic and overblown for the metaphysical aspects of the story. The score open with a jazz lounge piece that is appropriately sleazy without being overtly so. As introduced, it does leave some question as to which direction the score will take. When the film’s hero, emotionally-tortured cartoonist Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser) is rendered comatose, his “alter-id” assumes Stu’s physical body, wreaking all sorts of perverse havoc in the real world, while Stu’s must explore the unconscious realm of “Down Town”, where all unconscious beings remain until either awakening or passing into the realm of Death. The descending strings and choir highlight the descent of Stu, before the brief amusement park-like lyrics in track two, reprinted here in their entirety: “We welcome you to Down Town, while you’re in your coma/The cheap and cheerful clown-town will be your Home Sweet Home-a.” This is an interesting moment in the score, because it is the one point where the music punches through the background and becomes part of the on-screen atmosphere, rather than merely underscore.

As the parade of various onscreen metaphors and allegories continues, Death, as it should be noted, is not merely a state, but a physical presence, portrayed by none other than Whoopi Goldberg. Death’s brother, Hypnos--a satyr-ized Giancarlo Esposito--has become quite bored with Down Town, and uses creative individuals, such as Stu, in order to provide nightmarish images which can be viewed as entertainment in Down Town, HBO-style. With such on-screen representations, the score tends to represent to the image, using lyricless religious choir and atmospheric synths (Tracks 6 and 9)--a stylistic cousin of the Elfman’s Batman. Synths also denotate the nightmarish moment of the action. “Clothes Take Revenge” (15) uses comically-diverse synths to suggest a virtual digestive process of Stu’s agent Herb (actor/comedian Dave Foley) in a chemically-induced delusion of his clothes trying to consume him. Likewise, when the Monkey-possessed Stu is on screen, the orchestra mimics and cartoonishly exaggerates the live-action antics, often employing a waltz-like or tango dance rhythm

Honestly, because of the rapid changes of the score, this is a score for score-lovers, who are used to successive changes in a non-lyrical linear listen. Thus, I would find it difficult to recommend this to anyone else for merely casual listening. Criticism are few on this score are few—a health run-time on the overall score counterbalances what are sadly short track times. Most of the tracks blend so well together, that the difference is hardly noted when not paying attention to the track numbers. For what few fans of the movie exist, this score is for you. For what fans of Anne Dudley (of which there are hopefully more than the film), I would also recommend this score.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 The Crayon Game 2:31  ****
2 Welcome to Downtown 4:19  ****
3 Can’t Escape the Reaper 3:57  ****
4 Julia's Dream 2:11  ****
5 The Invitation and the Proposal 1:29  ***
6 How to Steal an Exit Pass 2:00  ***
7 Downtown Train 3:36  ***
8 Monkeybone Gets to Work 1:06  **
9 The Stuff of Nightmares 1:18  **
10 Surgeons Give Chase 1:34  **
11 No Time to Lose 2:40  **
12 Kitty’s Plan 2:00  *****
13 A Beaker of Nightmare Juice 2:36  *****
14 A Grand Plan 0:46  ****
15 Clothes Take Revenge 1:22  ****
16 Buster Gets It 2:06  **
17 “I’ll Really Never Forget You” 1:46  *****
18 Not This Monkey 1:08  **
19 No Tears 1:42  *****
20 Nightmare in a Bunker 1:17  ****
21 Up On the Roof 4:06  *
22 Journey to the Land of Death 1:49  *****
23 America’s Most Disturbed Comic Strip 1:39  **

Total Running Time


Monkey Bone (Soundtrack) by Anne Dudley

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


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