Howard does a great job combining the fantasy origins of the story with this dark retelling.
The beautiful fantasy melodies composed in this score are often diluted by the dark melodies and undertones.
3 / 5 – Above Average
James Newton Howard captures the mood of this dark fantasy story well. Howard does an excellent job with the uplifting fantasy themes of the score, but many of these uplifting pieces get lost within the dark portions of the score, which may be fitting for the film, but are not enjoyable to listen to by themselves.
Not all the dark portions of the score are bad to listen to by themselves though. There are some pieces like in “You Failed Me Finn” and the beginning of “Something For What Ails You” where Howard uses solo violins, cellos, and piano to bring out the dark setting without giving you a completely unsettling feeling.
Some of the warm uplifting melodies can be found in “Sanctuary”, “White Hart”, and “Coronation”. ”White Hart” is a perfect example of a beautiful melody being destroyed with dark unsettling music. ”Sanctuary” is one of my favorite songs in the score. There are no unpleasant surprises to disrupt it, just a pure unadulterated fantasy melody. I only wish that it were a longer song.
The last song on the score “Breath Of Life”, written with Florance + The Machine was an interesting song. Normally I am not into this kind of music, but I find this to be a guilty pleasure for me. I think it has the right mix of orchestra, choir, and modern pop vocals.
If you are a fan of Howard’s fantasy scores, you will most likely enjoy most of the album.
Here are some of my favorite tracks:
1. You Failed Me Finn
2. Fenland In Flames
5. Breath Of Life
About the Author
I am the founder and webmaster of Film Score Reviews. I am by no means a professional musician or music critic, I am just an average guy who loves classical music, choir music, new age music, and of course film scores. My reviews therefore are meant more for the casual listener, not professional critics.