Composer of the month John Powell month

Soundtrack review: How to train your dragon (John Powell – 2010)

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We are still in “John Powell month” here and what kind of a month would this be without a review of one of John Powell’s moments of divine inspiration, “How to train your dragon”…This is his first Academy Award nomination and his most acclaimed composition. It is rightfully so as you can feel from the opening cue “This is Berk”. This is one epic and thundering cue that will make you stop whatever you were doing and marvel at the beautiful sounds you are hearing. You will remember where you were and what you were doing the first time you heard this score.

John Powell makes a statement from the first track and he doesn’t stop there. This score is an ode to fantasy and joy…it’s a composition that will make you want to jump and play and fly and listen to it with your kids and watch the movie with your kids. It will make you wish and dream. It is not a perfect score for me but the magical moments soar up high and make me forget all about the few minutes I didn’t get goose bumps from. You can’t listen to a cue like “See you tomorrow” and not feel incredible joy.

This whole composition is like a rollercoaster ride on the back of a dragon…there are incredible highs, butterflies in your stomach when you think you’ll fall, the feeling of being invincible with the wind behind you…the closeness to the sky and the incredible joy of living in a fantasy. Please take me back in time to the recording sessions because I’m sure something supernatural was going on there. There is too much epic content in this one to bear. The orchestra sounds like possessed and the adrenaline rush is just amazing.

No need to single out individual cues or special themes…This entire score is a treasure for the ages and will be regarded as one of the best ever in years to come. It has certainly set a very high bar for animation scores and I was very happy to hear the second score was just as awesome.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 50 / 68

Album excellence: 74%

Highlights:

This Is Berk

Dragon Battle

The Downed Dragon

Dragon Training

Forbidden Friendship

New Tail

See You Tomorrow

Test Drive

Not So Fireproof

This Time For Sure

Romantic Fight

Dragon’s Den

Battling The Green Death

Counter Attack

Where’s Hiccup?

Coming Back Around

The Vikings Have Their Tea

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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