Scoob! (2020) soundtrack by Tom Holkenborg from WaterTower Music
Get it: If you enjoy an evolving soundtrack that is highly successful at combining both youthful and classic elements into one experience.
Don’t get it: If you are expecting a score that follows the same path and tone of some of Holkenborg’s well-known previous soundtracks.
In different facets of Hollywood today, professionals can sometimes find themselves working hard to keep themselves from getting “typecasted”. Primarily, or at least most noticeably, you find this to be the case with actors who seek out roles completely different from the ones that helped them “make it” to show their capabilities beyond what they’re already known for. While this is certainly something actors have to deal with in many instances, it also isn’t exclusive to them. Other parts of the filmmaking machine, including composers, have to deal with the same thing. In fact, sometimes composers are hired based off their previous work and the creators wanting something of a similar nature — sometimes they may want to hire your established sound, not your potential to create something fresh.
Why am I saying all this?
Well, it’s because sometimes composers also get the chance to break their own perceived stereotyped sound. For example, many people earlier in his career might have thought of Brian Tyler as “that Marvel composer”, but we now have so many other great works from him that differ entirely. All this is to say that this may be that same type of moment for Tom Holkenborg, sometimes referred to as Junkie XL.
To this point, most people would probably agree that his most recognizable credits are Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Mad Max: Fury Road. I think you can probably tell solely by the title of this score that it doesn’t exactly fit into the same category as those other two. But instead of focusing on what sets this score apart from his other well-known ones, we’re just going to talk about what this one, in-and-of itself, actually is.
Track 1 is the track every listener will already know and expect — the classic Scooby-Doo theme. But the delivery of the theme in this arrangement is an excellent start to the score overall, since it not only sets a thematic tone (simultaneously youthful and classic), but it also gets it out of the way for the listener to then focus on the completely new and fresh tracks that remain. This score, as a whole, is surprisingly effective and, frankly, good at providing the listener with a fun, youthful, and playful score that never gets monotonous. It continues to evolve and shift the tone so that you never get bored or expect where the musical journey will go next. One moment it sounds playful, the next it’s mysterious and suspenseful — before turning back to what can only be described as groovy.
While we’ve established that there are some different tones in this score, mixed together quite successfully, we also need to touch on one of the biggest takeaways from this OST. There are a few tracks in here that remind you of something far bigger than this movie individually.
Allow me to explain: there are some tracks in here that made me think, while listening, that this might be what a modern-day Danny Elfman Batman score could sound like. Then there are other tracks that sounded like what I would imagine a Tom Holkenborg audition reel for an Avengers movie would sound like. In short (absolutely nothing against the film in the following statement), there are times the score sounds much more complex and grandiose than the film would normally warrant from another composer.
Ultimately, is this a good score for the movie? Absolutely. But the biggest takeaway from listening to this soundtrack is that nobody should be sleeping on Tom Holkenborg, and frankly this score just raised his stocks more than some may think.
Listen below to a track from the score.