The team behind the highly successful and entertaining computer animated film Ice Age returns with Robots, an animated movie about - yes, that's right - robots, complete with a highly entertaining and lively score by John Powell. Powell is, together with Harry Gregson-Williams and Klaus Badelt one of the more interesting and promising composers to emerge from Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures, having written excellent scores for Antz, Chicken Run and Shrek together with Gregson-Williams, with notable solo efforts like I Am Sam, Evolution and Paycheck on his resume.
And Robots, which is dominated by Powell's busy, playful orchestrations and catcy themes. At times, the score is somewhat reminiscent of the music for Antz - especially the slick writing for saxophones, brass and percussion - and Evolution, but parts of the score will also remind the listener of Danny Elfman's music for The Nightmare Before Christmas. To give the score the required and very fitting "robotic" sound, Powell uses the percussive ensemble Blue Man Group throughout the score. The result is a slightly industrial and mechanical sound, which goes really well together with the sound of Powell's orchestral writing.
Robots is a fun ride from start to finish, packed with upbeat music and whimsical themes. The main theme is a sweet and charming little melody, which goes through several transformations throughout the course of the score. The problem with Robots, however - and this is something that is very common for scores for movies like Robots - is that the score changes direction from cue to cue, and sometimes even from bar to bar. The Mickey Mousing and change of direction can be a little distracting at times, but it usually works pretty well.