Pixar has three main composers that one can identify: Randy Newman, Michael Giacchino, and Thomas Newman. Having already scored Finding Nemo, I wasn’t that surprised when I saw Newman’s name, Thomas that is, listed as this film’s composer. He’s one of those versatile composers who can take on a wide range of scores and his familiarity with scoring the franchise made him an easy pick. And I like what he’s produced here.
If you know the score to Nemo, the score to Dory won’t surprise you in its general sound. Newman does make use of a choir and full range of instruments, but they all weave well in with the overall style. That overall style, save for a few tracks, is the light-hearted, whimsical style we all know from a Pixar film. When Newman does put variety into the sound, it contrasts wonderfully. The mixes of vocals and guitars with more traditional styles helps the score grow yet still remain under the “Pixar sound banner”.
That “sound banner” is my one problem with the score. It sounds so similar to his previous works of Nemo and Wall-E that when you hear it you instantly think Disney/Pixar, no matter how many different instruments one throws in. Scores need to be different and having the same overall style for each film hinders that. Even when Newman strays from the typical and branches out, he inserts just enough callbacks that I know exactly what I’m listening to.
I am very glad Newman returned to score Finding Dory, because what he does best here is combine things. That results in the score avoiding the ‘generic’ label, but its certainly nothing that unique or innovative and suffers from the “whimsical Disney score” sound. Still, its an easygoing score that has a good amount of depth for what it is.
FINAL RATING: 3.7/5