Home > Reviews > ZIP & ZAP AND THE MARBLE GANG (ZIPI Y ZAPE Y EL CLUB DE LA CANICA) – Fernando Velázquez


zip&zapOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang – known in its original Spanish as “Zipi y Zape y el Club de la Canica” – is an action-comedy-adventure for children, directed by Oskar Santos, and based on the comic book adventures of the titular characters. Zipi and Zape are two ten year old twins, mischievous but lovable, who are sent to summer camp by their parents after they are caught stealing. Once there, the devilish duo quickly form a gang with the other kids and misfits at the camp, in defiance of the eye patch-wearing camp counselor, and embark on a series of thrilling adventures involving a hunt for missing treasure.

Fernando Velázquez composed the score for Zip & Zap in the style of classic adventure score, and it’s lots of fun. While Velázquez is best known for his searching, emotional theme-writing, scores like this allows us to experience a more playful, adventurous side to his musical personality, and it’s great to see. The bold and boisterous main theme “Zipi y Zape”, is lots of fun, with a classic Wild West vibe, and reoccurs in several upbeat variations throughout the score. Magical textures for flute and chimes and playful pianos add a touch of sentimentality and child-like innocence to the story in cues such as “Prólogo y Llegada al Esperanza” and “La Vida en el Esperanza“, which have the sort of lush orchestral sweep and sense of playful naughtiness that established composers like Alan Silvestri, David Newman or Bruce Broughton would bring to a film of this type – think Mouse Hunt, or Baby’s Day Out.

There’s some caper-like sneaking around music that has the unmistakable touch of John Williams – “Aventura Nocturna” for example – a pompously sinister little march for the evil overseer of Camp Esperanza, and several wonderful set-pieces which allow the orchestra room to breathe, expand, and express themselves: “El Club de la Canica”, “La Resistencia”, and the frenetic “El Juego de Esperanza” are especially enjoyable in this regard. There’s an oboe melody towards the end of “Diamantes” which simply makes you melt, and even some moments enhanced by a chorus, notably the lovely “La Casilla de Salida”, and the delightfully Elfmanesque “Jugar”, which builds a wonderful head of steam as it progresses. The whimsical theme in “Esperanza TOYS”, with is twinkling glockenspiel accompaniment, is a magical reflection of childhood joy, and the enormous major-key explosion of choral beauty in the conclusive “El Mejor Verano de Nuestras Vidas” is one of those cues you can play over and over.

Children’s films, by their very nature, often give composers larger canvasses to express themselves on, as the emotions and senses are much more heightened through a child’s eyes. Every landscape is bigger, every adventure more exhilarating, and every monster more scary. Velázquez takes this opportunity and runs with it, making Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang a delight from start to finish. Fans of 1980s light adventures by Williams, Horner, Silvestri or Broughton will find themselves especially enchanted by Velázquez’s loving homages to his heroes.

Buy the Zip & Zap soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Zipi y Zape (1:35)
  • Prólogo y Llegada al Esperanza (2:55)
  • Micro (1:38)
  • La Verdadera Naturaleza de Este Lugar y Sus Reglas (2:06)
  • La Vida en el Esperanza (2:38)
  • El Club de la Canica (2:09)
  • La Resistencia (4:44)
  • El Hombre delSaco (2:25)
  • Aventura Nocturna (2:23)
  • El Monstruo (2:57)
  • Diamantes (2:36)
  • Una Historia de Piratas (3:17)
  • El Mapa (1:42)
  • Traición (2:39)
  • Reconciliación (1:55)
  • La Casilla de Salida (2:15)
  • El Juego de Esperanza (2:52)
  • Jugar (7:24)
  • Propulsión Atómica (3:01)
  • El Tesoro de Esperanza (5:46)
  • Esperanza TOYS (1:37)
  • El Mejor Verano de Nuestras Vidas (2:51)
  • Por Siempre (performed by Cali & El Dandee) (3:31)

Running Time: 67 minutes 14 seconds

Quartet Records SM-028 (2013)

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