Composed By: Ryan Shore
Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the new Nickelodeon original film, Tiny Christmas, Emma (Riele Downs) and cousin Barkley (Lizzy Greene) have nothing in common, until they are accidentally zapped by a shrinking ray by one of Santa's elves on Christmas Eve. Ending up scooped up in a toy sack and traveling across the street, the two have to find a way to trust one another and work as a team if they are ever going to make it back home for Christmas.
The musical score of Tiny Christmas was created by Emmy and Grammy Award-nominated composer, songwriter and conductor Ryan Shore. Having conducted orchestras around the world in recordings and concerts including The New York Philharmonic, The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, The Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and The Czech Philharmonic, Shore also has sixty-plus scoring credits under his belt for film, television, games and more. Some of his scoring credits include Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, Julie’s Greenroom, Penn Zero Part Time Hero, Spyhunter, The Girl Next Door, Cabin Fever 2, Sesame Street and The X-Factor.
I couldn’t wait to listen to the Tiny Christmas Soundtrack, as I expected it to be filled with music that has that Christmas feel to it…that magical type of music that tells you it’s Christmas. In fact, that was Ryan Shore’s wish for this score: “It’s beyond a thrill and an honor to have composed the score for Tiny Christmas. I grew up watching classic holiday films such as It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and Home Alone. I can’t wait for audiences of all ages to see Tiny Christmas, and I hope it could perhaps be seen as a holiday film for a new generation, and one that is worthy of multiple Christmastime viewings…The director Jonathan A. Rosenbaum knew he wanted a thematic, adventurous, playful, colorful, orchestral score, which follows the storyline very closely, so the essential creative approach to the score was made very clear. I grew up listening to scores like that, and so it was a musical sandbox that I couldn’t wait to jump into to write.”
That the score is playful, adventurous and orchestral, I can definitely agree with, but somehow Tiny Christmas didn’t quite meet my expectations. Sure, there were little bits that reminded me of Christmas, like sleigh bells, handbells and the sounds of a xylophone that herald Christmas. And some of the flutes and horns brought Christmas to mind as well. But most of this soundtrack was about the quirkiness of the characters as the crazy adventure they take. The music basically caters to that, offering up quirky cues and fast-paced music, somehow turning into the brass fanfares of some sort of action hero film. Tossed in here and there are the bells and such to remind you that this is a movie that takes place at Christmas, but somehow that heartfelt moment that is in every Christmas film that Shore spoke of doesn’t seem to find its way into this score.
I have no doubt that the score created for Tiny Christmas fits with the film’s comedic adventure theme, but based on the composer’s comments, I expected something much more Christmasy than what I got. The Tiny Christmas Soundtrack features an enjoyable score, though, and I think fans of the film will enjoy getting their hands on a copy for themselves, but if you are expecting a holiday-themed score, look elsewhere for that.