The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Music composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
Label: Walt Disney Records
Catalog: D000074212

Year: 2008
Tracks:

1. Prince Caspian Flees
2. The Kings And Queens of Old
3. Journey To The How
4. Arrival At Aslan's How
5. Raid On The Castle
6. Miraz Crowned
7. Sorcery And Sudden Vengeance
8. The Duel
9. The Armies Assemble
10. Battle At Aslan's How
11. Return Of The Lion
12. The Door In The Air
13. The Call (Regina Spektor)
14. A Dance 'Round the Memory Tree (Oren Lavie
15. This Is Home (Switchfoot)
16. Lucy ((Hanne Hukkelberg)


Total Time: 75:11
Rating:


Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

 

Harry Gregson-Williams returns to Narnia for the final time (much like the two of the children in the story) with his score for "Prince Caspian," a follow-up to the widely successful debut in the franchise. The soundtrack itself is a wonderful presentation from Disney Records as the packaging and art design are first-rate, making it a nice collectable to pick up if you're a fan of the franchise. Regarding content, there are 12 score tracks on the soundtrack and 4 songs (which are presented after Gregson-Williams' score at the end of the album).

In Harry Gregson-Williams' interview on ScoreNotes, he admitted that he had a few reservations about writing music for a true sequel. He was up for the challenge as he and the director set out to determine what thematic content should be leveraged from the first film and expanded upon in "Prince Caspian." The existing music in the franchise carried over quite nicely into this follow-up.

The new theme in this picture centers on the young Prince Caspian, which is immediately established from the first cue as he escapes the clutches of his would-be assassins. I did not find this new theme to be entirely successful but it was somewhat effective (I would have preferred a Mediterranean inspired theme for Caspian) in how it is used. Ironically, the stronger aspects of the music in this first cue is when the strings take an aggressive approach during the chase sequence as the Caspian theme weaves in and out. No doubt, it's an exciting opening track.

As our child heroes return to Narnia, so does their thematic music, only this time, the tenor of it is not as ambitious, with good reason. Gregson-Williams does a remarkable job in toning down the ambitious and heroic anthem into variations that play quite well as the new, more down trodden Narnia is explored. I would say that he succeeded in bridging the sequel with the first film with this delicate approach.

The score also shines in areas where some of the bold action takes place and also during the passages in which the motifs of the evil king take center stage. The music in the latter instance is quite nearly gothic in tone and plays like dark poetry, which I offer up in complimentary terms for this instance. In particular, you'll notice this imposing tone during the scene in which Lord Miraz is crowned, where the music helps make it a particularly theatrical moment in the film. This highlight, along with the Caspian chase sequence and the return of Aslan, makes for some powerful and successful score material.

Unfortunately, while there are some high points in the score, there are also some shortcomings. For one, Gregson-Williams stated that he used the choir for this film as he did in "Kingdom of Heaven" and that he did so is noticeable. There are instances in this score that do sound quite familiar to the work he did on Ridley Scott's movie, especially in the abbreviated choral statements. While I am sure it was a coincidental situation, it's hard not to notice it. My other critical point is that, as I mentioned earlier, the Caspian theme is a bit pedestrian. It simply didn't connect with me on any emotional level nor did I feel that it was as triumphant as it should have been. In the end, these two components drag the grade down a bit in my final score. Speaking of which...

Much like the movie itself, the score for "Prince Caspian" is a slight let down. I love Harry's work and think he did a serviceable job on this effort, but I do feel that there may have been some opportunities left on the table. As it is, I recommend this soundtrack as a slightly above average score, but would recommend his earlier work on to first installment (or even "Kingdom of Heaven") more so.

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