Tag Archives: JOHN POWELL


Varese Sarabande announced two additions to the Varese Sarabande club, these being How to Train Your Dragon 2, and The Iron Giant, both great scores that are equally deserving of an expanded re-issue. and are available now from Varese Sarabande.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (The Deluxe Edition): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Music Composed and Produced by John Powell.

On the heels of Varèse Sarabande’s Deluxe Edition of How to Train Your Dragon (2010) comes the 2-CD set of John Powell’s magnificent symphonic score to the 2014 sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Already a firm favourite with critics and soundtrack fans alike the score by composer John Powell has to it many endearing and memorable compositions that are exciting and adventurous, all underlined by a romantic Gaelic sounding lilt. The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is also a favourite amongst kids young and old, and the stunning animation by Dream Works brings the colourful and larger than life characters created by Cressida Cowell to life. The second movie in the trilogy starts where the first left off and focuses upon a young dragon hunter named Hiccup who befriends rather than slays a dragon named Toothless. British born composer John Powell has fashioned a stirring and relentlessly action-packed score for the movie and utilised some of the familiar themes from his original score for How to Train Your Dragon as a foundation for this symphonic tour de force. It is a score that at times harkens back to the days of the golden age of the film score echoing proud and rich thematic material akin to the style of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Miklos Rozsa, and Alfred Newman.

It successfully purveys the many emotions within the story and underlines not only the action sequences but enhances perfectly the romantic, melancholy, and comedic interludes within the production. There is a richness and a wonderfully robust sense of the melodious here, the composer using sweeping strings, booming percussion and brass flourishes that are at times bolstered and supported by choral performances. He also makes effective use of woodwind and underlines these with choir and low-key strings to create some haunting tone poems. As he did for the first movie composer Powell collaborated with Icelandic singer Jonsi who provided affecting vocal performances on some of the cues. Powell also enlisted the aid of the Scottish bagpipes group Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

John Powell.

The soundtrack for How to Train Your Dragon 2, was originally issued on a single CD release at the time of the movie being in cinemas, this latest release is a de-luxe edition, which is released on two compact discs, and includes several demo tracks and boasts interesting new liner notes courtesy of Tim Greiving who interviews both the director of the movie and the composer. Highly recommended.  

The Iron Giant (The Deluxe Edition): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Music Composed by Michael Kamen.

The Iron Giant, for some reason is a film and a score that is sadly neglected, but it is in my opinion one of the late Michael Kamen’s finest works for film. Released in 1999, it is in essence a modern-day classic which was brought to life as an animated movie by director Brad Bird, who also worked on movies such as The Incredibles and Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol. The film focuses upon a young boy who befriends a giant alien robot during the Sputnik era of the Cold War. Based on the 1968 book The Iron Man by poet Ted Hughes, the film is a marvel of heartfelt storytelling, with timeless themes of friendship, caring and self-determination. Composer Michael Kamen created an outstandingly beautiful and a sympathetic and sensitive score for the movie. The work being his first for an animated feature and sadly one of his last major scores for the cinema. The score is filled with a vibrant and comedic air as well as a harmonious and action filled persona. It is as grandiose and dark as the nuclear devastation that is threatened in the movie and is also overflowing with intimate and endearing nuances which effectively underline many moments where the young boy and the giant become friends and the Iron Giant decides that rather than be a weapon of destruction, he would rather be a superman figure.

The score is literally bursting with rich and commanding themes that are performed by the Czech Philharmonic, originally released back in 1999 by Varese Sarabande, the compact disc contained forty nine minutes of music, for this deluxe edition there is sixty four minutes of score, plus thirteen minutes of alternative cues outtakes, and demos, which include a guitar and piano demo of a song that was eventually unused entitled Souls Don’t Die, which was based upon Kamen’s central theme from the score and is performed by Kamen and Eric Clapton.

Michael Kamen.

Tim Greiving’s new liner notes are a delight and feature new interview material with director Brad Bird, music editor Christopher Brooks and orchestrator Blake Neely, going deep into Kamen’s working process and their adoration for the gifted, late composer. A digital version of the Deluxe Edition to The Iron Giant is also available at all traditional download and streaming sites. Highly recommended.




There have been numerous screen adaptations of THE CALL OF THE WILD and with each version came a thrilling and inspiring musical score, the story has once again been adapted for the screen this time with Harrison Ford in the main leading Human role of John Thornton. The story which is hailed as literary classic by Jack London, has enthralled and broken the hearts of many and in this the latest incarnation of the tale, we see the a large hearted canine, BUCK who is separated from his domestic life in California and thrown into the wilds of the Yukon, set in the Gold Rush days of the 1890.s it tells Bucks story which is an inspiring and heartfelt one, in which we see him transformed from a pet into the lead dog on a sled team for the U.S. mail service. The music for this particular version of the story is by John Powell, who has written the scores to a number of Hollywood successes, including, SOLO A STAR WARS STORY, HOW TO TAIN YOUR DRAGON, FERDINAND, PAN, RIO 1 and 2, KUNG FU PANDA, THE BOURNE IDENTITY series, PAYCHECK, SHREK and so many more. This in my opinion ranks as one of the composers best scores, there are so many themes within the work, that are rich and luscious, sweeping strings, ethnic as in Gaelic sounding passages and beautiful lilting tone poems fill the soundtrack, the composer utilising banjo, fiddle and what I think is an accordion to create a wealth of catchy and haunting compositions, the opening cue WAKE THE GIRLS setting the scene wonderfully for most of what is to follow.


The soundtrack is filled with drama and also has to it vibrant and affecting musical moments where the composer mixes strings, percussion, woods and choir to fashion a sound that is affecting and highly emotional. There is an alluring and poignant style and sound to this work, the themes being filled to overflowing with emotion and at times turning to melancholy. It is also a score that I would say is pleasing and entertaining, inventive and totally absorbing. There are times within the score that I was reminded of the sound we all associate with Jerry Goldsmith, with brass and percussion taking the lead and being driven along by strings, its grand and expansive but at the same time it remains thematic, catchy and above all entertaining, think maybe, STAGECOACH, BANDOLERO, WILD ROVERS or RIO CONCHOS style at times, that are enhanced by quite foreboding choral performances which in turn are given respite by a more subtle and melodic side to the work performed on solo guitar and subdued woods.  Well worth checking out.




Well at last SOLO a STAR WARS STORY has landed, not managed to see the movie yet, but the score by composer John Powell is in my opinion just great. It is filled with so many high-octane themes and great action pieces its hard to stop listening as it is a constant and relentless musical onslaught in a nice way. The composer keeps faithful the sound that we associate already with anything STAR WARS related, set pieces that are filled with proud and anthem like brass flourishes, booming percussion and racing and driving strings that carry the remainder of the orchestra along on the crest of an asteroid field never stopping, dodging, diving, zooming, rolling and blasting its way through establish itself as a score that is unstoppable. This I have to say is a soundtrack that is just a pure delight, it is sheer entertainment, just sit back listen and be transported to another world, a world that is jam packed to the overflowing with action, action and yes more action. Powell as I have already said stays true to the spirit of STAR WARS and weaves into his score several familiar themes written by John Williams, but he also lays the foundations of the work with his own style and musical fingerprint. I love the way that Powell employs percussion, it has to it an almost pop orientated sound, also he adds to this the symphonic and familiar orchestral style that we as collectors have come to know and love within the scores of Mr Williams for the franchise. Dark and threatening strings drive the work onwards in places and add a sinister and almost malevolent atmosphere to the proceedings. Powell is I have to say at home scoring an all action movie, but he also provides the picture with music that can turn in an instant and become romantic, melancholy and beautifully tragic, perfectly setting the tone and creating the right atmosphere for the story that is unfolding. Each cue is a delight, is a great fulfilling listen that is not only inspiring but is exciting and enjoyable. This is one for the collection, do not hesitate, go buy this NOW, highlight cues are, ALL OF THEM.


The Adventures of Han (John Williams)
Meet Han
Corellia Chase
Flying With Chewie
Train Heist
Marauders Arrive
Chicken In The Pot
Is This Seat Taken?
L3 & Millennium Falcon
Lando’s Closet
Mine Mission
Break Out
The Good Guy
Reminiscence Therapy
Into The Maw
Savareen Stand-Off
Good Thing You Were Listening
Testing Allegiance
Dice and Roll