How to Train Your Dragon 2 Soundtrack by John Powell (2014)
Get it: If you like an adventurous soundtrack that has nice variety and great orchestra use
Don’t get it: If you want something heavily dramatic, action-based, or significantly modern
Sometimes there is a soundtrack that comes out and stands apart from the rest. There’s something about it that makes it unique and special. You may be able to figure out what that ‘X-Factor’ is, but maybe you can’t. Either way, you can tell that you’re experiencing something special. How to Train Your Dragon 2, by John Powell and from Relativity Music Group, is one of those soundtracks.
The opening track is quite a start. It builds to a majestic theme that will probably get stuck in your head after a listen or two. It’s quick and upbeat. It is nice to hear the theme used in various applications throughout the soundtrack. These variations keep the theme involved and relevant, but also keep it from being repetitive. Powell has a fantastic way of doing it. The repeating theme is a great touch since it doesn’t get old, but rather keeps the listener/viewer excited. Often times, you don’t find this good and consistent use of a main theme enough these days, possibly because it can be extremely difficult to incorporate it as successfully as John Powell did.
The following tracks start as being more introspective. There’s a significant increase in the use of strings to accomplish this. It isn’t boring, though. After a short amount of time, it changes pace to be much more dramatic and intense. Don’t become attached to this for too long, though, because it changes to something more lighthearted later, before transforming into something personal. The variety is great because you don’t get stuck on any one style, so you don’t get bored. This OST has got it all. Slow, fast, exciting, intense, inspiring, dramatic, sad, fearful, absolutely heroic, and so much more. The choir does a great job of adding gravity to the music. The brass helps give it the sense of brilliance while the strings add a sensation of anticipation. The constant changes make you never get tired of the score, but instead keep you enthralled. It up keeps you guessing and on the edge of your (musical) seat trying to hear what comes next. Then, before you know it, the final track arrives. This track takes you out as you came in — with majesty.
What a wonderful soundtrack this is, and what an amazing job Powell did. Any fan of soundtracks will absolutely want to give this a listen.