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How to Train Your Dragon 2
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway

Orchestrated and/or Arranged by:
Paul Mounsey
Anthony Willis
John Ashton Thomas
Andrew Kinney
Randy Kerber
Dave Metzger
Tommy Laurence
Pete Anthony
Germaine Franco
Jeff Atmajian
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Relativity Music Group
(June 17th, 2014)
Availability Icon
Regular U.S. release. An international edition of the soundtrack includes an additional pop song at the end.
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Decorative Nonsense
(inverts site colors)

   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... even if you adore the prior film's score and have fears about the quality of the sequel, for John Powell has written an entertaining, well-rounded thematic romp in the same mould for the second entry.

Avoid it... if you still cannot tolerate Powell's overtly bombastic style of exuberant, rowdy orchestral music for the animation genre despite its undeniably high quality.
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WRITTEN 9/1/14
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How to Train Your Dragon 2: (John Powell) While studios always aim to be pleasantly surprised by a new animated concept, few have experienced the outright phenomenal success that Dreamworks stumbled upon with How to Train Your Dragon in 2010. So remarkable was its critical and popular appeal across all age groups that the studio and filmmakers toiled laboriously for four years to perfect a sequel, fearful of the decline in quality that many animation franchises suffer. Now that peace has been made between Vikings and dragons after the prior film, the story of How to Train Your Dragon 2 seeks to accomplish two goals, first telling a "coming of age" chapter about young Viking Hiccup, son of the chief of his village, and his family, and secondly introducing new human and dragon antagonists who threaten everyone within reach. Complications and heartbreaks await Hiccup on this journey, the tale remaining decidedly darker than the kind of material you usually see in animation, and some concept purists clinging to Cressida Cowell's books that inspired this franchise may be deterred. That issue apparently repelled few viewers, however, with reaction to the sequel seemingly as glowing as that for the predecessor, and the third installment was immediately planned for a release in 2016. The animated realm has consumed the career of composer John Powell in the 2010's, and for good reason. After spending much of the 2000's redefining the common industry conception of a modern thriller score, he admittedly became tired of writing endless variations on his 2002 music for The Bourne Identity, choosing instead to explore the expressive freedom afforded to him in the children's genre. Since his Oscar-nominated triumph for How to Train Your Dragon in 2010, he has not returned to live action, taking some time off in 2013 to be with family and write concert work outside of the stresses of Hollywood. His return in 2014 for Rio 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 is not surprising given his affinity for both franchises and their music, especially the Brazilian flair in the case of the former. While his score for Rio 2 was workmanlike as always, the task at hand for How to Train Your Dragon 2 was significantly more challenging. In his first answer during one interview about the score, his exclaimed that his sentiment about the sequel was, "Hopefully I haven't fucked it up," a phrase he reiterated later in the same interview.

Powell had ample time ensure that he didn't disappoint viewers and listeners with How to Train Your Dragon 2, tinkering with ideas for the movie as early as 18 months prior to the score's recording. His collaboration with Icelandic composer and performer Jon Thor ("Jonsi") Birgisson continued from the prior film, and they produced one song early that needed to be incorporated into a scene in which characters sing to the tune on screen. They also paired more closely to overlap melodic material for "Where No One Goes," the more standard dance song that bookends the film. On Powell's part, the need to address the prior film's magnificent score and supply an evolution of that sound required a set of choices that yielded some predictable and some not-so-predictable results. Easy to foresee was a continuation of the composer's outstanding orchestral, choral, and specialty instrument blend, utilizing a 120-piece orchestra, 100-member choir, and accents such as uilleann pipes, tin whistle, celtic harp, dulcimer, bodhran, and bagpipes. The bagpipes in particular are a point of pride for Powell in this work, though detractors of the instrument will be pleased to know that their usage is actually quite restrained. The scope and romanticism of the score's constructs are a key connection to How to Train Your Dragon, Powell's enthusiasm for unashamed expression of lyricism remaining on full display. The recording itself is once again resounding, if not improved in its handling of layers and reverb. The trademark Powell mannerisms that constitute his best romantic work are certainly prevalent, especially in the use of anticipatory chord movements that reliably hang in suggestive limbo to reflect mourning, an emotion not lacking in this story. The composer's handling of flute lines in counterpoint and ascendant application of trumpets atop the ensemble to punctuate heroism are equally up to the task. Collectors of the composer's music will be immersed in another experience that is purely Powell's in its personality, retaining traits still from his early entries of Antz and Chicken Run. In many ways, both Rio 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 are entertaining if only because they are exhibits of a composer who is comfortable in this genre and, more importantly, having fun. Fortunately, with the musical production values of the latter meeting the high expectations set for this sequel score, attention can be turned to the thematic development, where the interesting discussion lies.

Ratings Icon
Average: 4.05 Stars
***** 393 5 Stars
**** 159 4 Stars
*** 93 3 Stars
** 62 2 Stars
* 46 1 Stars
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[bleep!] it's good
Zakblue - December 10, 2014, at 7:13 a.m.
1 comment  (1351 views)
FVSR Reviews How To Train Your Dragon 2
Brendan Cochran - September 19, 2014, at 12:13 p.m.
1 comment  (1621 views)
Please support up and coming composer
Thomas Gaff - September 8, 2014, at 2:39 p.m.
1 comment  (1398 views)
Alternative review at Movie Wave
Southall - September 6, 2014, at 3:59 p.m.
1 comment  (1505 views)
Entertainment Junkie Reviews "How To Train Your Dragon 2"   Expand >>
Callum Hofler - September 1, 2014, at 1:56 p.m.
3 comments  (2644 views)
Newest: September 1, 2014, at 6:50 p.m. by
Callum Hofler

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 68:16
• 1. Dragon Racing (4:34)
• 2. Together We Map the World (2:19)
• 3. Hiccup the Chief/Drago's Coming (4:44)
• 4. Toothless Lost (3:28)
• 5. Should I Know You (1:56)
• 6. Valka's Dragon Sanctuary (3:19)
• 7. Losing Mom/Meet the Good Alpha (3:24)
• 8. Meet Drago (4:26)
• 9. Stoick Finds Beauty (2:33)
• 10. Flying With Mother (2:49)
• 11. For the Dancing and the Dreaming - performed by Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and Mary Jane Wells (3:06)
• 12. Battle of the Bewilderbeast (6:26)
• 13. Hiccup Confronts Drago (4:06)
• 14. Stoick Saves Hiccup (2:23)
• 15. Stoick's Ship (3:48)
• 16. Alpha Comes to Berk (2:20)
• 17. Toothless Found (3:46)
• 18. Two New Alphas (6:06)
• 19. Where No One Goes - performed by Jonsi (2:44)
(international edition includes an additional pop song at the end)

Notes Icon
The packaging's pictorial booklet contains no extra information about the score or film, but a free-floating, one-page insert sheet also included in the product features a long note from the director about both.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from How to Train Your Dragon 2 are Copyright © 2014, Relativity Music Group and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/1/14 (and not updated significantly since).
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