Honestly it wouldn't be all that surprising to me for a couple of reasons. 1: I've been told by a major Hollywood orchestrator (who shall remain nameless, even in private) that composers in Hollywood tend to encourage at least some imitation of their works by other composers. Whether it be considered a tip of the hat or an inside joke, it's a practice that has become a big part of the culture. And 2: James Newton Howard is one of the best in the business at mastering the sound of other composers. We can hear on a small scale, like the quieter sections in the Main Suite of Maleficent containing orchestration and harmonic progressions that remind me of something right out of a John Debny score (see The Last Race from Dreamer). We also hear it on a larger scale with projects like King Kong where James did a marvelous job not only working with Howard Shore's sound, but also having several cues reminiscent of John Williams's writing. I'm sure that, if you dissected the score enough, you could find all manner of familiar things from many different composers. Just depends on how deep you want to look.
> Was it just me or did anyone notice striking similarities to Enemy at the
> Gates during a part of the Maleficent score?