Monday, February 21, 2011

(The Long Awaited) Soundtrack Review: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This post has been in the works for some time now. I honestly just don't quite know what to say about it, so bear with me.

I've decided to do this one like I did TRON: Legacy. If for some reason you have a problem with that, then too bad. Deal with it.

As you may or may not know, David Arnold composed the score for this movie, not Harry Gregson-Williams, who did the first two. (Remember Mom, John Williams did not compose the score.) 

Where do I even start? In and of itself, it was amazing. Amazing? That sounds so inadequate! As much as I love Gregson-Williams' work, I must say that it was getting a bit... Uncreative. Prince Caspian just sounds like a remix of the first movie's score. It was definitely time for a change. Also, since this movie took place mostly at sea, not on land like the others, it required a Celtic, sailor-y flare that I think Arnold presented very well. What I also found interesting was the way he used Gregson-Williams' Narnia  theme. He didn't overuse it at all, as was the case in the first two movies, but I almost think he could have used it more. That sounds so weird coming from me. I often complain that composers overuse their themes. James Horner sure does! Besides, most of his themes sound the same anyway. Just compare the themes from Titanic, Braveheart and Glory to the Scottish folk song Loch Lomond and you'll see what I mean.

But I digress.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The theme. It was interesting because he decided to tweak it ever so slightly in order to keep the sailor-y feel. He decided to change one chord. You know how I think about chords so I don't need to tell you how happy it made me that Arnold took that opportunity to make the theme even cooler.

What didn't I like about the score? The songs were too short!

But EFC, they had to fit into the movie.

I know! I know! But seriously. Couldn't they just cut it to fit for crying out loud!? I wanted more! Just when I'm getting into a song, it ends! The audacity!

But there was something else about the music that I found very disappointing and it took me a while to place it. I loved the music, don't get me wrong, but I guess what I'm trying to say is it was nice, it was beautiful, it was pleasing to listen to, but it just wasn't Narnia. No other composer could ever make the music feel the same way, and Arnold is no exception. As a composer, we like to put a piece of our self into our music. Arnold couldn't put Gregson-Williams into his music, but he could put himself into it. And that's just what he did.

Now for my favorite songs:

This is Opening Titles. Though it totally isn't Narnian, I have to say, I really like how adventure-y it feels. The voices in the beginning remind me of the first track from Amazing Grace. I wonder if David Arnold always does that... What I also found neat was where he used pizzicato cello for rhythm. Over all, it sounds very watery and mystical, just how it should.

I included this one, High King and Queen of Narnia because it is one of the few tracks that uses the Narnia theme. I actually liked Arnold's take on it. He added his own twist that just made it sound a bit more ocean-y and mystical. But as much as I liked it, it just wasn't Narnia. I'm just happy he used the theme at all.

This one, Aslan Appears, also uses the theme, but there are a few chord changes that make it sound more ominous than Gregson-Williams'. I can't say I really liked it, but it definitely fit the movie.

I would put almost all of the songs, but I'll let you go listen to them on your own. If you liked the music from the other movies, then just know that it doesn't have the same feel at all. I did find that if I listen to it just for the music and I don't try to compare it to the others I enjoy it a lot more.

So there you go. Please, oh please leave a comment!


  1. Nice review :) Haha, now I should probably go listen to the soundtrack, huh? HAHA, it's not even in my iPod... :P what a slacker.

  2. I have heard this one and I enjoyed it quite a bit; it didn't make it to my favorites though.

    ~Jamie Joyce


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