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Ice Age: Continental Drift by John Powell (Review)

posted Jul 31, 2012, 8:09 PM by Kaya Savas

One of my favorite John Powell scores of all-time is Ice Age: The Meltdown. Continental Drift is the fourth film in the franchise and the third for Powell. The only other "set of 3" scores that Powell has done is The Bourne series. While Dawn Of The Dinosaurs was a good score, it never rose to the level of The Meltdown. Luckily we have a winner here. John Powell buckled down and continues his streak of animation masterstrokes with Continental Drift. This score is more focused and delivers the emotionally driven flow we're used to in Powell's scores.

The score starts off with some familiar themes, but quickly establishes its own sound. Since the gang deals with pirates on this adventure we do get some swashbuckling music from Powell. It's not Pirates Of The Caribbean, but he does play with the genre a bit to great effect. The entire album though flows immensely well with the new motifs. One amazing track called "Land Bridge Trap" clocks in at 8:23, which shows you the immense presence the music has. His past two Ice Age scores were made up of short tracks where this one has longer ones, and that in itself gives us a different experience. These tracks are big and the story being told is full of the charm, love and heart that Powell infuses into his music so effortlessly. This time around I found a few "spine chill" moments that I didn't find in Dawn Of The Dinosaurs. The music here reaches the level of The Meltdown in its own amazing way. When the "Mammoths" motif comes back in "Herd Reunion" I did indeed get chills. The massive sound that still manages to be as emotionally intimate as can be. His percussion drives every ounce of energy from the music through your body and for a moment you forget that you're sitting down and listening to a score.

Successful film scores must stand on their own and transport the listeners into the world of the narrative. John Powell's scores do this. His music is on a level that most musicians will never reach simply because he is so in touch with his emotions that he can translate them into sound. I've been listening to John Powell from his first score to this one and each one instills itself on me. Ice Age: Continental Drift is by no means his best score nor is it the best of the series, but it's damn good.