The Legacy of James Horner: No. 7 “Once Upon a Time With Me”
[This article is part of a 10 part short retrospective of the career of the late film composer James Horner. Be sure to check below for a link to the introduction, and a link to the next item in the Top 10 list.]
Getting on to our more whimsical and heartfelt songs, we have here the ending lyrical piece from 20th Century Fox’s Once Upon A Forest, brought to us by David Kirschner, from the same executive producer of both American Tail films.
You might be thinking I’m crazy for not putting “Somewhere Out There” on this list, but I think pretty much everybody knows that one is one of James’ most memorable. And since I’m all about showing folks things they’ve never seen or known of before, it wouldn’t be wise of me to put that on here when its pretty much a given. If you want to know my thoughts on it, I’m just as big of a fan as anyone would be. And the young children who sing the song, while not being the most musical, have a special sound that works when they sing together, even though they’re clearly not capable of doing a harmony.
Now the notable thing about “Once Upon a Time With Me,” I think, is that whenever the film would end after having watched it again, this song would really sink in as a sort of beautiful ballad proclaiming the bravery and the harrowing journey of the film’s young protagonists. It’s a song that is referenced all throughout the movie, but nowhere is it more powerful than it is here with the child choir, or the female vocalist, Florence Warner Jones. I suppose it doesn’t entirely match the tone or the atmosphere of the rest of the film, especially since it’s clear that the children are British, and none of the young protagonist characters are British. But I can look past that. lol
Just like with “If We Hold on Together” from The Land Before Time, or “Flying Dreams” from The Secret of NIMH, “Once Upon a Time With Me” wraps up the entirety of the last hour and a half in one heartfelt song. Though admittedly, this one is far more sorrowful and wistful than those other two. And that’s perhaps why I think it makes quite the impression on me every time I hear it.