Animal Farm

We Were Never Free by Richard Harvey on Grooveshark
Animal Farm was a television film adapted by Hallmark Entertainment from George Orwell's book. The story follows regular barnyard animals who revolt against their human owners and end up in a worse tyrannical predicament than they were before. The score was composed by underrated maestro and one of my favorite composers, Richard Harvey.
The score primarily has lots of big, over-the-top themes as only Harvey, himself could do. The main theme as heard in the cue, Storm of Judgement/Main Title, is a loud, courageous, and somewhat tragic sounding, brass statement backed up with powerful percussion. There is bits of synth heard as well, but doesn't lower the quality of the theme at all. The synth reappears throughout the score but is very subtle and keeps an eerie feeling to the cues.
The cue Dumb Animals, is more of a lighthearted cue played on the woodwinds and creates and somewhat bumbly feeling balancing out the intense dramatic music to come.
Harvey gives us a taste of his epic action material heard in the cue, The Battle of the Barn. The ferocious brass plays against intense cacophonic percussion.
Going back to the book, the story itself, was written as an allegory of the Russian Revolution of 1917. The author, George Orwell took quite a crazy idea and made the unrealistic, realistic and in that way, contrast the political events taking place in Russia at the time to a group of barnyard animals that talk. It essentially, exploited the pitfalls of Communism.
It's quite interesting, however, listening to some of the songs on the album with that in mind. Did I mention there are songs? In the album, there are several songs performed by the cast themselves. A bold Russian anthem is heard in the Cue, Beasts of the World, based on the lyrics from Orwell's novel. The lyrics as heard in the film, are as follows:
Beasts of the world we shall unite,
Rise up and ready for the fight!
Soon or late the day will be,
When men's defeated and we are free!
Soon or late the day will be,
When men's defeated and we are free!
Though our lives be as lives full of misery,
our limbs be tired of war.
Our dreams will not be broken,
and our hearts will not be torn!
Our dreams will not be broken,
and our hearts will not be torn!
Old Major's Last Words - Beasts of the World by Richard Harvey on Grooveshark
See what I mean? Can someone say C-O-M-M-U-N-I-S-M?
Several other anthems are heard cues, namely, Glorious Leader Napoleon, and The Song of Grateful Duck. The later cue reaches intense operatic levels!
The two final cues on the album, We Were Never Free, and End Titles are very hopeful but have a tragic key to them as the main them is heard one final time.
Can someone say T-R-A-G-E-D-Y?
Harvey's score is a blatant heroic and somewhat depressing at times, orchestral work.
If you can get over the idea of barnyard animals singing Russian anthems, then I highly recommend this score.
It's all you ever need to know, should YOUR barnyard ever try to revolt!

Best Track(s)
  • Storm of Judgement/Main Title
  • The Battle of the Barn 
  • We Were Never Free
  • Old Major's Last Words/Beasts of the World
Rating:****1/2

3 Comments:

  1. Alicia Willis said...
    Hah! My dogs better never revolt!! :) I remember you loaning me this one. Lydia and I were laughing at the idea of the animals singing. :)
    Joshua Hoppman said...
    Yep! I remember you mentioning that to me. Didn't you just LOVE those songs? :)
    Alicia Willis said...
    Yeah, sure... Actually, they sounded pretty cool. It was just the idea of pigs or whatever singing them I couldn't get over. :)

Post a Comment