Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs by John Powell (Review)

John Powell returns to score the light animated fare, Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs. The first film was scored by David Newman and was completely forgettable. Powell brought his fresh sound and style to the series with Ice Age: The Meltdown in what was one heck of a score. I still listen to that one all the time.

In the second film he established some themes that he touches base with in this score. So, we get lots of variations on these well known melodies that ooze with Powell's style. He has two trademarks that define him above all other composers; one is the way he strings his melodies in a sort of descending notion and the other is of course his percussion. Many of you may remember his amazing "Mini-Sloths Sing-A-Long" from the second film which is a perfect example of his percussive style. He goes a bit easy on the percussion with this score, but it's there (just a bit subtle) and I love it.

I guess one could argue that this score is just more of the same, but so what? Scores are one of the most important aspects of tying franchises together. Yes, there are the occasional "copy and paste" scores, but don't worry because you never get that with John Powell. Another complaint some people may have are the incredibly short track times. Yes, there are 44 tracks with some only 30 seconds long, but Powell fans should come to expect this. His score albums are gapless so they are meant for continuous listening. There are a few long tracks that provide a better solo listening experience, especially "End Credits" which sums up the album nicely.

Overall I'm happy to have another John Powell score in my hands. When stacked up against the second score and all his other animated scores this one does fall short, but that doesn't mean that this isn't an incredibly fun listen. I found the second one to have more emotionally driven music that really defined him as a composer, but this one almost gets there with the last few tracks. So, enjoy this one because we won't get any John Powell till Paul Greengrass' Green Zone.

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