Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Music of "How to Train Your Dragon"

While updating my sidebar predictions on Monday, I soooooo wanted to include How to Train Your Dragon in Best Original Score. I resisted, given the lack of success Dreamworks has had in this category and the fact that by the time ballots go out the film won't be so fresh in voters' minds.

I myself must confess to overlooking John Powell's music when I first saw the movie back in April, but upon listening to the soundtrack, I realize how excellent his contribution to the film really is. The man's been doing respectable work with Dreamworks for years now, even if the studio hasn't been doing work that's nearly as respectable. But with How to Train Your Dragon, he's finally created a score that, in terms of quality, can stand alongside the scores of Dreamworks' savvier older cousin Pixar, which as thus far received plenty of awards attention for its high-end musical elements.

Powell gives the film a wonderful highlands flavour (something of a Cetlic/Gaelic mash-up), working in instruments like the fiddle, pan flute, bagpipes, and snare drums. He composed at least half a dozen recurring musical themes, all of them catchy, and often manages to weave more than one of them together within a single track. You can listen to my favourite theme after the jump.

Will the music branch remember this movie when January rolls around? Do they even care for it at all? Something tells me it'll be forgotten everywhere but in Animated Feature, but how satisfying it would be to see John Powell get his due for what is surely one the year's most enjoyable scores. This may be the FYC drum I end up banging the loudest this season.


Anonymous said...


This is my favorite score of the year so far (Sorry Inception and Airbender (Yes the latter was crap, but I loved that score).

I know he won't win, and his nomination chances are slim, but I'll be rooting for Powell the whole way.

Anonymous said...

it wasn't!!!! it's one of the biggest "surprises" (thanks to the stupid Golden Globes) when the nominations were announced just hours ago and lots of people were happy!! :D