Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at maintitles.net)
White Lion is a film that I first thought was a wildlife documentary that charts the survival and journey to adulthood of a white lion cub cast out from his pride. But, as it turns out, the film is actually a drama. However, the human element intrudes only occasionally into the film, only giving context to the adventures of the white lion. The film’s story is told through its cinematography and, as there is little dialogue, the music is an important tool in storytelling. It is the job of South African-based composer Philip Miller (whose previous projects include the 2006 political thriller Catch A Fire) to add depth to the film with a score in which he was asked not to emphasis too much the indigenous music of Africa. Miller has composed a very thematic, orchestral score.
With this being a movie set in Africa with a lion as its central character, it is difficult not to compare the movie or Miller’s score to John Barry’s Born Free. “Gisani’s Theme”, one of the main themes of the score, is somewhat reminiscent of the Barry’s music as it evokes the grandeur of the African bush as did Barry’s classic score. Miller uses some African vocalisations at points (e.g., “Adult Letsatsi”) where he wants to add particular emphasis of the link between the land and both animals and humans. More dramatic music highlights the lion’s journey when it is fraught with dangers, calling upon hard-edged percussion and staccato strings for encounters with hyenas and crocodiles. There is also “comedic animal music” that can feature in films such as this and “Playing Cubs” and “Chicken Hok and The Porcupine” appear early in the score as the young lion explores its new environment. Read the rest of this entry »