Zoolander No. 2
Music Composed By: Theodore Shapiro
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Fifteen years after the original film aired in 2001, Ben Stiller brings us Zoolander No 2, a comedy that takes itself way to seriously. Ben Stiller stars as Derek Zoolander, a former model who has lost everything and everyone he ever cared about. Owen Wilson is Hansel McDonald an old friend of Zoolander's who finds himself reunited with his modeling buddy by Fashion Interpol Agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz). It seems that someone is killing off the world's pop singers and posing them to mirror Zoolander's "Blue Steel" look. Can they discover the identity of the killer in time?
The score of Zoolander No. 2 was created by American composer Theodore Shapiro. While earning a degree in music at Brown University, Shapiro wrote a musical about a cryogenically frozen head and played in a neo-disco band called God. He received a Masters in Composition at Julliard. Shortly after receiving his Masters, Shapiro went on to compose music for film and concert halls. Some examples of his work include the scores of Girlfight, Heist, Old School, Marley & Me, The Devil Wears Prada and St. Vincent. This is not Shapiro's first time working with director Ben Stiller as he has created the musical score for such Stiller films as Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
As with Tropic Thunder, Theodore Shapiro chose not to create a comedic score for Zoolander No. 2. As Shapiro explains, "At its heart, Zoolander No 2 is an epic mystery. The movie starts with the question, ‘Who is killing the world’s biggest pop stars?’ and continues on a dark journey into the depraved madness that lies at the heart of the fashion world. The director Ben Stiller and I knew that such an epic journey required a score to match. I always favor a very serious approach to scoring comedies, and Ben, who is the film’s star as well as its director, shares that approach completely. We really only talk about the music in terms of storytelling, never about jokes. The film’s comedy always comes out in contrast to the seriousness of the music’s tone."
Thus the music of Zoolander No. 2 is rather dramatic and action-packed featuring a large brass section, a choir and percussion. As the story delves deeper into the mystery and our characters come closer to discovering the truth, the percussion increases, offering up some more drama. Thus we have a score that doesn't match the comedic styling of the film. I often find that this contrast helps to make those scenes funnier than when paired with lighthearted comedic music. As a stand alone album, Zoolander No. 2 is action and intrigue at its best, allowing the listener to imagine in his or her own mind's eye what is taking place in the scene the score was created for. Shapiro has done it again and Zoolander No. 2 is a soundtrack well worth the listen.