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Epic by Danny Elfman (Review)

posted Jun 11, 2013, 10:12 AM by Koray Savas   [ updated Jul 15, 2013, 4:45 PM ]

Danny Elfman went all out in 2012 with a tremendous 6 scores tucked under his belt, unfortunately burning himself out in the process. Among that large body of work, I felt that none of the scores truly went above and beyond Elfman's routine scoring effort. As a long time fan and listener, it was disappointing hearing one of my favorite composers stretching himself thin. So far this year Elfman has brought us Oz The Great And Powerful, a good but ultimately disappointing score like the others, as well as Epic.

At this point I have more or less stopped expecting greatness from Danny Elfman. I have said it before and will reiterate here again: Elfman is not a bad composer. None of these scores are bad, but they never reach the greatness he used to so easily churn out. They are good, but I suppose after such a long and successful career it is a bit unfair to continually expect the best each time. With that being said, Epic is a fun and enjoyable score in the vein of more recent animated film scores. It has a celtic flavor like John Powell's How To Train Your Dragon and Patrick Doyle's Brave, but it also feels very much like an Elfman score with the action writing and use of choir. "Ambush" really kicks off the album with the signature action material, Elfman's traditional string writing fused with celtic flavors and jig-like stylings make for an incredibly exciting listen. "Rings Of Knowledge" is a very beautiful and mysterious cue that evokes awe and foreshadowing with its subtle use of choir. "Escape" through "Epic Finale" is where the score really shines and Elfman delivers strong material in these last 17 minutes. The latter cue which works as a good send-off with the theme in full jig form.

While an enticing and fun listen, Elfman's Epic falls short of its inspiring predecessors, primarily Powell's How To Train Your Dragon, which set a new benchmark for animation scoring. The action material is reliable and engaging despite lacking a strong central theme to tie it all together, though it may not draw you back for more over time.