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Wonderful World by Craig Richey

Wonderful World

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Wonderful World (Soundtrack) by Craig Richey
Wonderful World (Poster and Memorabilia)
 

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Wonderful World (Soundtrack) by Craig Richey

Wonderful World
Composed by Craig Richey
Lakeshore Records (2011)

Rating: 6/10

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“The greatest asset on show here is how well the events of the film are translated on to the score.”

Behind the Smile
Review by Richard Buxton

A perhaps unique, and certainly uncommon compliment that can be attributed to CRAIG RICHEY’S score for WONDERFUL WORLD is its strong resemblance both the synopsis of the film and the poster. Merely glancing at the simplistic poster or taking in a written description of WONDERFUL WORLD’S plot sets up an array of expectations. From the clean and understated title font and character image montage, to the curiously depressing sight of a man holding a paper smile to his face, WONDERFUL WORLD creates a strong sense of familiarity, albeit subconscious familiarity. The juxtaposition of the title with the clearly forlorn eyes that sit above the paper smile that seeks to fool you is a trait that can be instantly recognized as being a part of the score too. CRAIG RICHEY’S score is one of lies, in that behind the often happy facade lies an ocean of sadness, a sadness that lingers in the ear of the listener defying their initial reactions.

WONDERFUL WORLD charts the transformation of Ben Singer (MATTHEW BRODERICK) from dejection and disdain to optimism and love, and while RICHEY’S score doesn’t quite mirror Singer’s distaste for his fellow humans, it has a consistently impressive dual personality of joviality and melancholy. As the strings creep in during the opening moments of “Main Title” (1), the originally playful rhythm is transformed, suggesting all is not well in this wonderful world. The melody heard in “Main Title” is then carried over into the “Ben Meets “The Man”” (2) as the piano further emphasises the gloom of our protagonist. The subtle difference made by the prominence of the piano works particularly well in highlighting just how deep Ben’s misanthropic ideals run within. This feat is repeated in “Ben Gets Fired” (5) as the percussive melody leads to a suspiciously upbeat finale. The climax of the piece doesn’t go so far as to shout in happiness but suggests an upturn in mood is to follow.

The arrival of the character Khadi is a pivotal moment in WONDERFUL WORLD’S story, and it is a moment reflected excellently in the structuring of RICHEY’S score, so much so that general outline of the film’s events can clearly be heard taking form as the each tracks is played. “My Name Is Khadi” (6) signals the arrival of the character of Khadi, and is the defining moment in terms of a character arc making its presence felt in the score. Despite running for under a minute, the understated nature is the first moment of true optimism and happiness. This shift in tone is subsequently heard in each track concerning Khadi. The playfulness of “Khadi Buys Shoes” (7), the delicate strings of “Khadi’s Ritual” (10) and the contemplative piano of “Ben & Khadi’s Kiss (11) all underline the change in Ben and the cumulative effect Khadi has on him.

The importance of Khadi as a character in the music is further highlighted by a drastic reversion in “Ben Confronts His Ex” (12). The brooding ominous strings lead into a sparse, almost haunting end that stress the change in the protagonist. This change is fully realised in “What About The Man” (22), a dancing, cheery finale to the score and a fitting ending that accentuates the development of Ben Singer and simultaneously that of the score.

The greatest asset on show here is how well the events of the film are translated on to the score. The emotions and developments of the characters and reflected admirably. Putting care into structure, ensuring it mirrors the film is something all too rare in modern film soundtracks. The only drawback of RICHEY’S score is the lack of truly standout moments. Forgetting the triumph in structure, WONDERFUL WORLD has very few, if any motifs or simply passages of music that are able to endure beyond the moment in which they are listened to. Recalling any of the tracks is a challenge in itself and a number of the tracks are far too short to instill anything beyond a glimmer of emotion. Still, if future scores of RICHEY can combine the care taken to reflect the film in the music and structure with truly memorable music, listeners are in for a truly wonderful time.
 

Rating: 6/10


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Main Title 1:58  ***
2 Ben Meets "The Man" 2:10  **
3 Ibe Lies in the Street 2:08  **
4 Ben Finds Khadi's Picture 1:43  ****
5 Ben Gets Fired 1:35  ****
6 My Name is Khadi 0:39  ***
7 Khadi Buys shoes 1:04  ****
8 Sandra at the Window 1:02  ***
9 Ben Makes U-Turn 0:40  **
10 Khadi's Ritual 2:55  ***
11 Ben & Khadi's Kiss 0:51  **
12 Ben Confronts His Ex 2:08  **
13 Out of Gas 0:51  ***
14 You Wore Her Out 1:30  ***
15 I am Greedy 1:54  ***
16 Ben's Closing Argument 1:43  ***
17 The Note 0:20  **
18 A False Accusation 2:07  ***
19 Ibe Dies 2:00  ***
20 Goodbye Khadi 1:59  ***
21 It Rains Fish 2:42  ****
22 What About the Man 1:22  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 35 minutes  

 

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