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A great day for scores about Dragons


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After long long long time, Alex North's amazing Dragonslayer is available from La La Land and based on the preview tracks, it's a stunning representation of a complex and dynamic score. I also bought John Powell's How to Train Your Dragon from iTunes and I also find it terrific. Very different from what I normally associated with dragon fare but I love his use of bagpipes in it. There are some terrific virtuosic moments too along with long spun themes. Powell keeps impressing me and while he doesn't have the delicate detail of an Alexandre Desplat, he has the same attention to harmonic development and dramatic development that I haven't seen from the other R-C group. In fact, it's sounds as though Powell has distanced himself from them stylistically. That's a promising thing.

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I agree! This new Powell score is simply amazing. When I start listening, I have to listen the whole soundtrack because it's sooo good. And as by now, the movie's getting excellent reviews. Could this mean Powell's first important award nomination? I hope so!

PS: And let's not forget Edelman's "Dragonhearth" ;)

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I've listened to most of it, and I think it's a good score with maybe 4 or 5 outstanding highlights. I see myself having the same problem as with Ice Age 3 - parts are less engrossing until I've seen the film.

"This is Berk" and "Test Drive" are particularly engrossing. The main theme is maddeningly addictive.

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I am excited about How To Train Your Dragon. The music is the main reason. I normally don't care much for Dreamworks animation, however "Dragon" is directed by the duo behind Lilo and Stitch, so that excites me. I always wonder what their "American Dog" would have been like before John Lasseter canned them and went with Bolt!

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I have listened to HTTYD, but I wasn't particularly overwhelmed. I really don't know why. While I admire Powell's craft and appreciate his original style, there is usually something missing for me in most of his scores. He writes some impressive cues, but apart from them, I cannot identify with much of his underscore. I agree he is one of the best in Hollywood today, though.

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While my respect for Powell has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple of years he had yet to give me a score I couldn't put down. Then HTTYD completely broadsided me. I cannot stop listening to this thing, especially "This is Berk", "See You Tomorrow" and "Test Drive". It's some of the most fun music I've heard in film in quite a while. I can't wait to see this movie and hear it in context.

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I have listened to HTTYD, but I wasn't particularly overwhelmed. I really don't know why. While I admire Powell's craft and appreciate his original style, there is usually something missing for me in most of his scores. He writes some impressive cues, but apart from them, I cannot identify with much of his underscore. I agree he is one of the best in Hollywood today, though.

I think he sometimes overwrites. Sometimes his cues are a little too busy and occasionally I think he uses rhythm loops and percussion as a crutch. I would love to hear him write more rhythmic ostinati for pitched instruments to attain that kinetic propulsion. I think he has it in him.

that said, this score is a terrific addition to a terrific career.

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Having just reached the peak of my obsession with Powell's "Horton Hears a Who", I'm pretty happy to see such good reviews for this new one. Had no interest in the film but may have to see it now as it will most likely increase my appreciation for the score when I buy it (which hopefully will be this week). Go Powell!

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Yet another fantastic score from Powell. A welcome relief after Green Zone, which I still can't really get into.

Also, I've been wondering how long it would take for Powell to incorporate bagpipes in one of his scores. He seems to have a penchant for using nontypical instruments in unusual ways for his animated scores.

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Damn. First listen of Powell's score really left me cold. I was so excited after all I'd heard!

Give me more, I want to hear your opinions on this.

I don't have much to add. Listened to it again today...I feel something a bit bland about it, in a Debney way. No theme, development, or action cue grabbed me. It was all there, pleasant enough, without jumping out at me. The style and orchestration sounded like Animation score 10- nothing especially Powell or especially interesting. BUT...I may very well come around- I kind of tuned out of the score both times. Perhaps hearing it in the film would enlighten me.

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Dragonslayer is a masterpiece. Probably the best orchestrated score in film music history. Additionally it's packed full of as many themes as a John Williams epic.

It's complicated and dissonant though, be prepaired to take a few listens before you get it.

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Dragonslayer is a masterpiece. Probably the best orchestrated score in film music history. Additionally it's packed full of as many themes as a John Williams epic.

It's complicated and dissonant though, be prepaired to take a few listens before you get it.

I totally agree. I wrote a long analysis of it for FSM that never made it to print but was featured on their Film Score Daily column.

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I'm just curious... In Powell's case, what do the "additional music" guys mean? Are those little snippets of music that have to be adjusted in the film if Powell can't do it or its something more like in Zimmer's case? Just curious :P

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Dragonslayer is a masterpiece. Probably the best orchestrated score in film music history. Additionally it's packed full of as many themes as a John Williams epic.

It's complicated and dissonant though, be prepaired to take a few listens before you get it.

I totally agree. I wrote a long analysis of it for FSM that never made it to print but was featured on their Film Score Daily column.

You will probably never see another score like this composed for a film of similar nature.

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I'm just curious... In Powell's case, what do the "additional music" guys mean? Are those little snippets of music that have to be adjusted in the film if Powell can't do it or its something more like in Zimmer's case? Just curious :lol:

John Powell doesn't have additional music guys much anymore. He has a team he regularly works with, like most composers, but their roles are clearly stated in the booklets.

I finally got around to listening to it. Fantastic stuff, but the theme is essentially a variation of the theme from Horton Hears A Who! I don't mind, since it's a damn great theme.

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You will probably never see another score like this composed for a film of similar nature.

I had never owned any version of Dragonslayer until now. This score is incredible. There is so much going on, and no, they don't make 'em like this anymore. It has such a unique voice, I've never really heard anything like it.

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Damn. First listen of Powell's score really left me cold. I was so excited after all I'd heard!

Give me more, I want to hear your opinions on this.

I don't have much to add. Listened to it again today...I feel something a bit bland about it, in a Debney way. No theme, development, or action cue grabbed me. It was all there, pleasant enough, without jumping out at me. The style and orchestration sounded like Animation score 10- nothing especially Powell or especially interesting. BUT...I may very well come around- I kind of tuned out of the score both times. Perhaps hearing it in the film would enlighten me.

I feel exactly the same. It's a well-rounded score that offers pleasent listening experience, but doesn't excite me at all.

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Damn. First listen of Powell's score really left me cold. I was so excited after all I'd heard!

Give me more, I want to hear your opinions on this.

I don't have much to add. Listened to it again today...I feel something a bit bland about it, in a Debney way. No theme, development, or action cue grabbed me. It was all there, pleasant enough, without jumping out at me. The style and orchestration sounded like Animation score 10- nothing especially Powell or especially interesting. BUT...I may very well come around- I kind of tuned out of the score both times. Perhaps hearing it in the film would enlighten me.

I feel exactly the same. It's a well-rounded score that offers pleasent listening experience, but doesn't excite me at all.

I think what most people are excited about is the fact John Powell rarely writes bold and consistent music for these kinds of films (or never, actually). Usually, they're are all over the place, stylistically. It's not about the memorability factor really.

Karol

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Damn. First listen of Powell's score really left me cold. I was so excited after all I'd heard!

Give me more, I want to hear your opinions on this.

I don't have much to add. Listened to it again today...I feel something a bit bland about it, in a Debney way. No theme, development, or action cue grabbed me. It was all there, pleasant enough, without jumping out at me. The style and orchestration sounded like Animation score 10- nothing especially Powell or especially interesting. BUT...I may very well come around- I kind of tuned out of the score both times. Perhaps hearing it in the film would enlighten me.

I feel exactly the same. It's a well-rounded score that offers pleasent listening experience, but doesn't excite me at all.

I think what most people are excited about is the fact John Powell rarely writes bold and consistent music for these kinds of films (or never, actually). Usually, they're are all over the place, stylistically. It's not about the memorability factor really.

Karol

I give him that, but I have heard better scores from him, including two Jason Bourne sequels, Mr and Mrs Smith, X-Men III or Ice Age 2. They might come from different genres, nevertheless each of them had more to offer to me, I think. When it comes to epic/action adventure I still prefer David Arnold or James Newton Howard.

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Classic-fanfare David Arnold or modern-techno David Arnold? If the former, I might possibly be able to concede.

What action music has JNH written? I love his scores, but they all seem to be slow, flowing music rather than action.

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Classic-fanfare David Arnold or modern-techno David Arnold? If the former, I might possibly be able to concede.

The former. I wasn't not talking about the music for Singleton's movies or anything of that kind, but his classic action-adventure scores.

What action music has JNH written? I love his scores, but they all seem to be slow, flowing music rather than action.

When I wrote that I particularly had JNH's scores like The Water Horse or King Kong in mind (but there're more of them). I find both stronger scores than HTTYD, no matter if we agree to call them action adventure, fantasy or whatever else.

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I think what most people are excited about is the fact John Powell rarely writes bold and consistent music for these kinds of films (or never, actually). Usually, they're are all over the place, stylistically. It's not about the memorability factor really.

Karol

People are excited because those scores are not bold and consistent?

Btw, at least he wrote BOLT music... :lol:

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I think what most people are excited about is the fact John Powell rarely writes bold and consistent music for these kinds of films (or never, actually). Usually, they're are all over the place, stylistically. It's not about the memorability factor really.

Karol

People are excited because those scores are not bold and consistent?

No, I said this new one is bold and consistent. And most people like that. His other scores tend to be less that, which is why they can discourage most people.

Karol

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HTTYD rules. I find the first part of the album to be occasionally a little slow, but by the time it gets to See You Tomorrow, it really starts cooking.

Speaking of dragons, they're re-making Godzilla again.

I don't understand why so many people think Emmerich's adaptation was an 'epic fail'. Sure, it wasn't a great movie but I stil enjoy it as a decent popcorn adventure.

2012 - now that's what I consider epic fail. Saw about 5 minutes and had to turn it off.

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It's strange. This happens every once in a while to me- I've listened to the Powell score dozens of times, yet I still don't love it. I like it -though not as much as other Powell scores- but I still listened to it regularly for several weeks. Usually, when I listen to a score this much, it's one I really adore. Strange. It will probably end up being a favorite, as the last score this happened to me with, The Brothers Bloom, ended up being my favorite score from last year.

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It's strange. This happens every once in a while to me- I've listened to the Powell score dozens of times, yet I still don't love it. I like it -though not as much as other Powell scores- but I still listened to it regularly for several weeks. Usually, when I listen to a score this much, it's one I really adore. Strange. It will probably end up being a favorite, as the last score this happened to me with, The Brothers Bloom, ended up being my favorite score from last year.

Funny enough, the overlong (sic!) Varése album robs the score of its proper impact. This would be a killer 35, 40 minute album, but at over 70, it drags in a lot of places.

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Oh please. Omit the tracks you don't like. It does peak early, back off, and then build up momentum again for a big finish (notwithstanding the song, which is my cue to change albums). But nobody twists my arm to make me listen to it all.

Varese got it right this time by releasing a complete score album for a nice price. Contrast that with their Star Trek album, which has left fans complaining for volume two.

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The skip button on a remote is very handy. Although based on recent comments about CDs being too long, I'm beginning to wonder if they are not including them on players anymore.

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Maybe all these whiners are ripping their albums as single long super-tracks, to best capture the experience of listening to an album rather than cut up tracks.

If you like being tied to the wall of a small cell while your album plays nonstop out of reach of the remote control or can't walk over to it, this would suit them just fine. To each their own.

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The skip button on a remote is very handy. Although based on recent comments about CDs being too long, I'm beginning to wonder if they are not including them on players anymore.

Film scores are strange beasts to properly format on CD's. The have more material on album is both essential and unessential. This will never end.

Karol

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