Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Sountrack) by Harry Gregson-Williams (Review)

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Sountrack) by Harry Gregson-Williams (Review)

Nothing Happens the Same Way Twice
Review by Christopher Coleman

In 2005, with the film and film-music world still slightly abuzz over director Peter Jackson and composer Howard Shore's masterwork for the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, came THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. Between Jackson's epic trilogy and the HARRY POTTER franchise, the fantasy-genre was big-bucks again. However, with the well documented friendship between authors, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, specific comparisons between the two author's eventual film-adaptations were inevitable. Director Andrew Adamson's vision of C.S. Lewis' story was as different from Jackson's work as Tolkien's tale is from Lewis'. One of the key differences was reflected in the film's score by composer HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS. The unexpected modern-edge for THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, especially in light of Shore's more operatic work, perhaps brought undue criticism from the soundtrack community upon the score (myself included). In the years since; however, as the Lord the Rings energies have simmered down, the first film from the land of Narnia, as well as it's score has become, for some, appreciated on its own merits rather than merely as a contrast to Howard Shore's work... again, myself included.

Three years later, we finally have the second installment from THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - PRINCE CASPIAN. Returning for the sequel is director Adamson, the four main "child-stars," and composer HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS. In THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, we clearly heard Gregson-Williams establish a distinct style for the Narnia franchise - an intriguing, albeit surprising, mix of classical and contemporary styles and instrumentation. It was certainly a bold move back in 2005 given the success of the Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter franchises, which were both complete with more traditional, symphonic scores. The 2005 film was slower than some anticipated, especially at it's onset, hence the score was considered to lack a little intensity as well. Still, well established were themes and motifs representing the world of Narnia, the Pevensie children, and Aslan. Having done this, Harry Gregson-Williams, like the four youngsters who have returned to Narnia, is able to more fully explore his musical-landscape. In the end, PRINCE CASPIAN delivers a richer listening experience.

Read the full review here

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