Composed By: Chris Walden
Distributed by: Moviescore Media
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Max is just an ordinary collie, living an ordinary life with his favorite adoring children Ashley and Zack Taylor (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn and Billy Unger), until the day he is kidnapped by evil scientists from a laboratory near his home. Max manages to escape and return to his home. At first, all seems normal. That is until Max begins his transformation overnight, going from a cute little collie to a gigantic Monster Mutt. Now, it’s a race against time as Ashley, Zack and a bumbling scientist named Dr. Lloyd (Brian Stepanek) try to find a cure for Max while also evading the evil Sirius (Zack Ward) and his henchwoman Natalya (Juliet Landau) as they try to recapture their experiment gone rogue.
The musical score of the straight-to-DVD film Monster Mutt was composed by Chris Walden, a four-time Grammy nominated composer, arranger and conductor. Chris Walden started his musical career early in life, learning to play the recorder by age 5, the piano by age 8 and the trumpet by age thirteen. By sixteen, Walden was creating musical arrangements for local school bands. Upon earning recognition for his musical compositions created for German television and film, Walden moved to the United States. He began scoring for numerous television productions while also writing arrangements for Christopher Cross, Michael Bolton, Paul Anka and more. In 1999, he created his own big band, the Chris Walden Big Band, consisting of Los Angeles based studio musicians. Recently, he is known for his work as an arranger for American Idol.
Monster Mutt is a family movie geared towards children. Its musical score, although centered around a gigantic collie, is geared towards the child audience. Thus, there is a lighthearted feel in the orchestral pieces which contain clarinets, strings and flutes with a sprinkling of piano and horns providing comedic touches. There are times when the score sounds cartoonish and the listener could actually picture a cartoon character tiptoeing through a dark hallway hoping to sneak up on his nemesis while the nemesis is tiptoeing right behind him. The most concentrated darkness on the soundtrack comes at the end during the Lab Fight, with music played in low registries and horns and cymbals providing action undertones.
There are some beautiful light pieces to be found in this soundtrack, such as Ashley and Dad, a track that features a piano and guitar theme. Being a sucker for guitar themes, I also thoroughly enjoyed Monster Puppy which also features a bit of the earlier piano theme with bits of strings, flutes and horns added in for playfulness.
The Monster Mutt Soundtrack contains a perfect musical score for a children’s film. The unfortunate thing about this soundtrack is that while the music is perfect as an enhancement to the visuals on the screen, most children do not prefer to purchase the musical scores of their favorite films. Thus, I fear that Chris Walden’s well-composed work, so in tune with the film it was created for, will lie dusty on the music store shelf.