All posts under John Powell

9 Purple Cows of Film Music


In his excellent 2002 book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable, Seth Godin tells the story of a trip he took to France with his family. He describes driving around the French countryside, “enchanted by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing on picturesque pastures…For dozens of kilometers, we all gazed out the windows, marveling about how beautiful everything was.” But after the first 20 minutes, he started ignoring the cows. “The new cows were just like the old cows, and what once was amazing was now common. Worse than…

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50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 2: #40–31

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Yesterday, I began a week-long look at 50 of my favorite film scores. If you want to read about the background behind the project, check out the earlier post. The remaining scores will be covered throughout the rest of the week. Now, on with the next installment of 50 of my favorite film scores… 40. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) [audio:gonewiththewind.mp3] Max Steiner’s classic score is made for the Technicolor sweep of the big screen. Anchored by arguably the most famous piece of film music ever written (if for no…

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CD Review: Rio (Song Album)


I don’t often review song soundtrack albums on this site. There’s a reason why the words “film score” are in the title. But occasionally a song album is so enjoyable and so integral to the fabric of the score that it needs to be shared. The new animated film RIO film received rare double CD releases, one for the score and the other for the more typical (and probably better selling) songs. Co-produced by John Powell and the legendary Sérgio Mendes, the song album is an energetic burst of infectious Brazilian rhythms…

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CD Review: Rio


I’ve found this year’s major new scores generally lacking so far, and it has taken me almost four months to find a 2011 score worth writing about. Thankfully, that dry spell has been broken. The trailers for RIO promised busy, colorful animation with lame humor. And that’s pretty much what you get in the film itself. The story of a blue macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) who is brought back to Brazil to mate with the only other known female of his species (Anne Hathaway) and gets stolen by poachers trying…

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Readers Poll – Top 10 Film Scores of 2010


Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote in this year’s readers survey. Over 200 people voted and over 1,600 votes were cast. While I expected certain scores to appear, it was interesting to watch the list form and morph over the voting period. Out of the 201 scores listed, 161 of them received at least one vote. While this list certainly doesn’t match mine (nor should it), there are a couple of overlaps, several scores that didn’t quite make my cut, and a couple that weren’t anywhere close. This…

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Top 10 Film Scores of 2010


Like many film music fans, I tend to lament the current state of film scoring. And then a year-end Top 10 list helps me refocus and appreciate the work that many composers are contributing to the art form. Sure, there’s still plenty of mediocrity and crap being written, often through no fault of the composer, but I had no trouble at all compiling a list of worthy scores for the year. You know it’s a strong list if I had to regrettably leave off a Rachel Portman score. Once again,…

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CD Review: How To Train Your Dragon


HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON has an awkward title, but its problems end there. A rousing score by John Powell, beautiful 3D animation, and a moving story create one of the best animated films I’ve seen outside of the Pixar lineup, and by far the best effort by Dreamworks. By eschewing the studio’s penchant for annoying pop culture references, the film instead allows the characters to tell the story instead of cramming the screen full of junky images and “hip” annoying critters in constant motion. The film has beauty, wit, and…

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