When an aging duke (John Neville) passes away and leaves his estate to his beloved Hubert, a Black and Tan Coonhound, two conniving relatives conspire to do the dog in. Fortunately, Hubert has a young guardian in Charlotte (Courtnee Draper) who’s not about to allow anything untoward ruin his inheritance.
Canadian composer Brahm Wenger is no stranger to scoring movies with furry heroes – particularly the canine variety. Having previously given musical voice to the likes of Air Bud, MVP: Most Valuable Primate and their numerous sequels and spinoffs, it’s little surprise that Wenger’s contribution to Duke is similarly warm and inviting – an assortment of mostly brief but pointed cues that invest the material with all the earnestness, suspense, romance and comedy necessary to satisfy the emotional demands of adults and children.
Unapologetically influenced by his mentor, Jerry Goldsmith, Wenger’s colorful, buoyant orchestrations elevate virtually every scene with cheerful optimism and innocence, from gentler fare like “Walk Together,” “The Puppy” and “Daisy Jealous” to such infectiously energized tracks as “Hubert’s Birthday,” “Food Fight” and “Entering the Estate.”