Dreamworks Animation films usually have 1 thing in common, and that is a Hans Zimmer or Zimmer associated score. With 2009 being the year of only 1 Hans Zimmer score he has given fellow composer Henry Jackman his first solo effort. Jackman has been working under Zimmer since 2006 as an additional composer doing lots of work on the last two Pirates films and The Holiday notably. Monsters Vs Aliens is Jackman's first solo effort and boy it's a breath of fresh air. Not to say I don't love the whimsy sounds of Rupert Gregson-Williams, but something about this score just feels fresh. While he utilizes electronics the majority and heart of the score is orchestral.
Early on in the score Jackman sets up with the two major themes. They are subtly played throughout the score. The monsters theme can first be heard in "Meet The Monsters" and it has this great folky jazz vibe. The full-out version of the theme is the track titled "Monster Mojo". The other theme which can be heard slightly in the first track kind of becomes the main theme even though Jackman never really beats us over the head with it. It can be heard in full glory in "The Ginormica Suite" and while I hate saying it the sound is very Zimmeresque. There is that simplicity and light heartedness that reminds me of Zimmer's lighter scores and it does indeed bring a smile to my face. While Hans did serve as Executive Score Producer this is clearly a Henry Jackman score.
The entire score is a really fun listen. It has a certain bounce to it that is hard to describe, but it'll keep you listening. Jackman has certainly impressed me with what has to be one of the greatest freshman efforts to come from an RCP composer in a long time. Bravo. So, get the score and give it a listen. It's really great to play in the car and it's a nice light way to break out of the winter months of heavy serious scoring into the summer months ahead.