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).
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
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.
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.
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
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...
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.