Prince CaspianAt the risk of sounding overzealous, I have to say that this is the most exciting score/soundtrack I’ve heard this year. Harry Gregson-Williams is known for high caliber work on high-caliber projects (the Shrek trilogy, Veronica Guerin, Antz, Gone Baby Gone, as well as the first Narnia film), but with Prince Caspian, Gregson-Williams really lets it all out. The epicness, the danger and even the quiet moments are all here and all pitch-perfect.

If the Pevensie children of Narnia fame have aged and matured since the first film, so have Gregor-Williams’ themes and orchestrations. Using more choral backup and a more driven sound throughout, Prince Caspian almost feels like the yang to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe‘s yin. Whereas parts of the first score plodded along occasionally, Prince Caspian never tires. Even in the quieter moments of the more subdued tracks (such as “The Duel”), there is a driven drumbeat providing a constantly forward-moving feeling. When the action begins to rise and eventually explodes on the track, it’s not unexpected, but it’s definitely enjoyable.

Perhaps because composer Harry Gregson-Williams and director Andrew Adamson  have worked together so many times before (this is their 5th project together), Gregson-Williams knew exactly what to provide in order to make the score work properly. Regardless of the reason, this score is an incredible achievement, even taken apart from the film iteself. At no time was I disappointed by what I was hearing and I often found my heart quickening while listening. From the opening track (the excellent “Prince Caspian Flees”) to the final moments in the extensive “The Door in the Air”, the Prince Caspian score is not to be missed.

As Disney is wont to do, there are a few soundtrack songs included at the end of the score listings, and though I don’t typically enjoy mixing score and soundtrack (unless it’s done well as with Jon Brion’s impeccable Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind score and the soundtrack for that), this one works. Perhaps it’s because Regina Spektor’s “The Call” so excellently follows the final track, with its mellow flow and Spektor’s soft vocals. Similarly, the piano in “A Dance ‘Round the Memory Tree” helps to ease the listener into the world of soundtrack. Even Switchfoot’s “This Is Home” feels at home here, though the track sounds a bit too much like a Coldplay knockoff.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: The listener seeking a good score
Stay Away if: Soundtrack songs at the end of a score annoy you
Buy these on Itunes: “Prince Caspian Flees” – Harry Gregson-Williams & “The Call” – Regina Spektor

To purchase the score for Prince Caspian, visit Amazon

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