Spy Kids (Soundtrack) by Robert Rodriguez, Danny Elfman, John Debney, Los Lobos, Gavin Greenway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Chris Boardman, Marcel Rodriguez

 

 

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Spy Kids (Soundtrack) by Robert Rodriguez, Danny Elfman, John Debney, Los Lobos, Gavin Greenway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Chris Boardman, Marcel Rodriguez

Too Many Cooks...?
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Spy Kids (Soundtrack) by Robert Rodriguez, Danny Elfman, John Debney, Los Lobos, Gavin Greenway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Chris Boardman, Marcel Rodriguez

Spy Kids
7/10

Spy Kids (Soundtrack) by Robert Rodriguez, Danny Elfman, John Debney, Los Lobos, Gavin Greenway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Chris Boardman, Marcel Rodriguez

 

Category

Score

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

 

Danny Elfman

Composer 
Danny Elfman

Composer 
Robert Rodriguez

--

Composer 
John Debney

 

Quick Quotes

"The score is very much like a latin James Bond score. There's lots of acoustic guitar and Spanish musical idioms mixed with that classic spy sound. Thankfully for us, the score never panders to the kiddies and rarely enters into that obnoxious mickey-mousing territory that is common in scores for children's features." ****

Tim Perrine-
Cinemusic Reviews Spy Kids

 

 

Conducted and Produced by Danny Elfman, John Debney, Robert Rodriguez, Los Lobos, 
Gavin Greenway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Chris Boardman, Marcel Rodriguez
Orchestrations by John Debney, Bruce Fowler, Ladd McIntosh, Don Nemitz
Produced by Robert Rodriguez
Executive Producers: Randy Spendlove and Randy Gerston
Released by Chapter III Records April 2001

Not really a veteran of family-oriented films, renegade director, writer and composer, Robert Rodriguez, delivers one of the strongest pro-family films to come out of Hollywood in some time.  With The faculty, From Dusk 'til Dawn, Desperado under his belt, Rodriguez switched into family-fun-gear for Spy Kids.  With a Saturday-Morning-adventure-plot bolstered by a barrel of exceptional eye-candy, Spy Kids is a Nickelodeon/DisneyChannel-addicts dream come true.  Avoiding the traditional route of hiring one composer to create the musical content for the film, Rodriguez was one of at least nine composers who penned music for Spy Kids.

Spy Kids may have taken collaborative scoring projects to another level.  While, in years past, seeing more than one name in the credits for a film's score was a rarity, it is now commonplace.  Be it for creative, economic, practical reasons, seeing multiple composers listed on screen or in liner-notes is a small surprise these days.  At times, team efforts produce a fragmented score such as Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman's Last of the Mohicans, and at other times there are very favorable results as in The Road to El Dorado or Gladiator.  The list of composers for Spy Kids is so long that one might gather that this was a compilation soundtrack of completely unrelated pop tunes; however, there is a bit more consistency than that.

Danny Elfman and John Debney provide a solid theme and orchestral foundation.  In addition, film score fans will hear a couple of Media Ventures veterans, Harry Gregson-Williams and Gavin Greenway, who provide their classic choral and synthesized touches. Director/writer Robert Rodriguez, Los Lobos and Heitor Pereira provide the Spanish-flavor of this score.  It is this unexpected flare that helps sets this score apart from being completely average.

Eflman provides the main theme which is referenced by most of the remaining composing team.  The main theme is heard in track 1, Cortez Family, first belted out by confident and determined brass, later to be played beautifully by apparent-resident Media Venture's guitarist, Heitor Pereira.  Subtle Elfman and Debney characteristics such as the bass and electric guitar riffs and quick brass fanfares make the spy-connection to Elfman's much maligned score for Mission: Impossible.  Also, another clear Elfman attribute is heard in Floop's Song (Cruel World) (12).  Floop's Song is throwback to some of Elfman's work for Tim Burton in the early 1990's.  Contributor Chris Boardman does a exceptional Elfman imitation in track 17, Floop's Castle as well.  Together Elfman and Debney provide a full orchestral dose of zany-adventure.

While Elfman's and Debney's contributions are considerable and solid, the most entertaining tracks come by way of Harry Gregson-Williams and Gavin Greenway.  Cortez Family (1),  Kids Escape House (6), and Final Family Theme (18) are among the most interesting tracks as they each feature Pereira's continued excellent guitar work.  Adding to the best-list is Los Lobos and Robert Rodriguez's Spy Wedding (3) with its thrilling chorus and exotic guitars.  Unfortunately, their reworking of the Los Lobos classic in Oye Como Spy (11) does not carry the same appeal.

The CD regrettably concludes with Spy Kids (Save the World) (19).  This would make a perfect title song if this film ever became a Nick or Disney series (which its financial success at the box office might make a foregone conclusion).  The upbeat, techno piece, complete with dialogue samples, is aimed directly at the younger members of the audience, is cute in a geeky-way, but for the film music purist, it will be another concluding-track-tragedy.

Despite there being so many "cooks in the kitchen," by the time one gets to track 18, the score for Spy Kids appears to work. With this host of composers putting in their own special ingredients, somehow this bombastic bouillabaisse tastes alright.  Aside from Elfman's five-note theme, there isn't a lot of carry over from one track to the next.  At the same time, the transitions aren't so jarring that one can not enjoy this score.   What does detract from this release is the brevity of most every track.  There is only one track over three minutes in length.  Spy Kids should have a broad appeal.  Film music camps of Elfman, Debney, and Media Ventures will all find something to enjoy here - as brief as that enjoyment may turn out to be.

 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track Title Time

Rating

1 Cortez Family 1:38  ****
2 My Parents Are Spies 2:07  ***
3 Spy Wedding 2:09  ****
4 Spy Kids Demonstration 1:03  ***
5 Parents on Mission 1:15  ***
6 Kids Escape House 3:12  ****
7 Pod Chase 1:37  ****
8 The Safehouse 0:45  ***
9 The Third Brain 0:58  ***
10 Buddy Pack Escape 1:37  ***
11 Oye Como Spy 2:57  **
12 Floop's Song (Cruel World) 0:58  **
13 Spy Go Round 2:10  ***
14 Minion 1:02  ***
15 Sneaking Around Machetes 0:34  ***
16 The Spy Plane 1:27  ***
17 Floop's Castle 1:27  ***
18 Final Family Theme 1:40  ****
19 Spy Kids (Save the World) 2:20  **
 

Total Running Time

61:10  
 

 

Spy Kids (Soundtrack) by Robert Rodriguez, Danny Elfman, John Debney, Los Lobos, Gavin Greenway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Chris Boardman, Marcel Rodriguez

*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.

 

Referenced Reviews
The Road to El Dorado
| Last of the Mohicans

 

 

 

 


All artwork from Spy Kids  is exclusive property of Chapter III Records (c) 2001. 
 Its appearance is for informational purposes only. Review format version 5

 

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