“How To Train Your Dragon 2”
Soundtrack Review (2014)
Music By John Powell
Relativity Music Group
19 Tracks/Disc Time: 68:26
Grade: A+ (BEST OF 2014)
After the resounding Oscar nominated success of “How To Train Your Dragon” in 2010, which included a hefty take at the box office alongside a Best Animated feature nomination and Best Original Score nomination. This is the highly anticipated sequel to the original film featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), Gerard Butler (Stotic), America Ferrera (Astrid), Jonah Hill (Snotlout), Kristin Wiig (Ruffnut) and Cate Blanchett (Valka) which takes place five years after the original film as Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. The film is a strong hit at the box office just like the original and seems poised to take over as the Summer’s blockbuster animated hit.
While most of the great cast of voices have returned to make the film another hit, one very valuable member has also returned for what will be his final score for a little while and that is the work of Oscar nominated composer John Powell. Powell who took a year off from writing film scores after a major string of success that include films such as “Knight And Day”, “Rio” and it’s sequel (which also came out this year,) “Rio 2”, “Happy Feet Too” and “The Lorax”. The original “How To Train Your Dragon” was easily one of the best scores released in 2010 and one that should’ve been my number one choice reconsidering it years later. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is a major expansion on the themes and material that Powell passionately wrote for the original film in a much grander and epic scale this time around without losing it’s graceful touch that made the original score very memorable.
“How To Train Your Dragon 2” is a powerhouse score that is full and rich with wonderful musical ideas that in a way is almost very operatic and wistful. Powell really put a lot of thought into this score this go around much like he’d done with “Rio 2”, which was very enjoyable. However, this score is just epic. Themes and ideas abound with dramatic and exciting flair that will absolutely thrill fans of his past work including the original “HTTYD”. Opening with the exciting and triumphant energy of “Dragon Racing”, we already know that we’re in for a major treat with this score with beautiful choral and pastoral passages mixed with Celtic themes and playful material that give this score the power to make that great leading to tremendous highlights such as “Flying With Mother” which plays out like a ballet, to powerhouse material in “Battle Of The Wildebeast”, a tender dramatic moment in “Stoick Saves Hiccup” complete with a full chorus which is lush and powerful, to the percussive strains of “Toothless Found” that feature its own choral beat to it and taking all of that, Powell puts a full orchestrial assault in “Two New Alphas” that really soar and reminds me alot of his finale for the underrated, “Hancock” starring Will Smith which was brilliant highlight of that score. I also must stay that there are also wonderful moments of awe and wonder with “Valka’s Dragon Sanctuary” and “Should I Know You?” that just feature a great chorus are just wonderful as stand alone classical pieces on their own. The album ends with the song “Where No One Goes”, a nice collaboration between singer Jonsi (who also wrote the song for the original film “Sticks And Stones”) which follows the lead of that one quite nicely.
Relativity Music’s album is a pretty long and memorable effort that very consistant with the original score and it works because Powell’s passion for the original film still lingers in this one. With every note and every thrilling moment, “How To Train Your Dragon 2” soars just as highly as the original score and I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets a well deserved Oscar nomination for both the film and Powell’s score this time around again. After a year of rest, John Powell is still definitely on his A-game and one of the best in the business. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” just further cements his wonderful musical legacy as one of the best composers of this generation. Thumbs way way up!!
The soundtrack is available from Amazon.com @ http://www.amazon.com/How-Train-Your-Dragon-2/dp/B00JLKHTCW/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1402962060&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+train+your+dragon+2 as well as iTunes download.