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John Powell vs. Bear McCreary



18 members have voted

  1. 1. Who is the superior?

    • John Powell
    • Bear McCreary

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Interesting pairing eh? But they remind me very much of each other. They both can write the big boomy scores that studios come to expect these days, and yet they do it in a much more sophisticated fashion than these types of scores are written with.

McCreary relies more on ethnic instrumentation to deliver that big sound (with the heavy taiko drums, etc.), where John Powell implements more electronics.

To me, John Powell still sounds very RCP, but McCreary has developed a sound signature all his own. John Powell I can still predict the next note on, McCreary takes familiar ideas into new directions. I'd honestly say that McCreary's music is probably the most surprising to me these days in terms of how well I can predict what direction a melody or theme will take. And that's something rare.


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I voted for McCreary, because the thread title is "Battle of the Big Sounds". McCreary's sound is so much more dynamic and natural, if you know what I mean. Powell's music more often than not sounds like it's programmed (even his purely orchestral stuff); the electronics sounds are not always my favourite too. McCreary's voice is also more dramatic/melodramatic - Powell's music is often a bit too 'light-hearted' (for action & drama as well), by lack of a better word.

That said, Powell is until now the superior composer, of course, and has also written the best score (X-Men 3) by far.

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Powell can do ANYTHING. Amazing versatility, and also knack for writing memorable melodies, which is always a hit among fans. From UNITED 93 to FACE/OFF to X-MEN to whatever animated film Dreamworks is working on. And the famous "Bourne riff", which makes him one of the most influential composers of the 2000's.

So I had to vote for him too.

But McReary has really impressed me. The BG stuff, in particular, but then something completely different with the WALKING DEAD. It's a bit early to say if he has the same versatility as Powell or if his musical voice puts a greater brand on the film or tv shows he's working on.

Time will show.

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I love Bear McCreary. I think he made amazing strides in quality from the first season of Battlestar to the last. But a lot of what I've heard since then sounds the same. The score to Dark Void, a bit of what someone posted from Socom 4, as well as Human Target. Maybe it's those taiko drums, I dunno, but it still feels like he's stuck in Battlestar land.

Powell has grown as a composer, but he's saddled with a lot of boring projects in my opinion. A part of what made Williams so great is that he had great material to work with. What has Powell had? A lot of animated flicks. Don't get me wrong, there's great material to be found there (HTTYD anyone?) but I wish he'd get something epic. Look at what he did with X-Men 3. Not perfect, but easily the best score of those movies. My vote goes to John.

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I'm not familiar enough with McCreary's work but Powell is probably the best composer to come out of the Zimmer factory.

But his work is rather average at times, some nice themes but nothing that elevates him to a must have.

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