Face/Off by John Powell Available at Amazon.com



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The Film Music of John Powell
Review by Christopher Coleman


From Face/Off to Shrek by John Powell

From Face/Off to Shrek


Category  |   Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 8
Composition 9
CD Length 8
Track Order 7
Performance 8
Final Score 8/10


Real Audio Clips





John Powell



Composed by John Powell
Released by Blue Focus Management
Promotional Only

Composer John Powell has been helping to thrill and otherwise entertain movie audiences for several years now and has become, for those who appreciate the Media Ventures-brand of film music, one of the most celebrated composers around.  Successful collaborations with Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams have made him one of the more sought after composers today.  As has been mentioned before, John Powell gives plenty of reason to be dubbed the composer of the "funnest" film music today.   While Face/Off was the composer's coming out party, the composer really made waves with his high-energy, collaborative, creative efforts such as Antz and Chicken Run.  John Powell continues to be much discussed with his most recent efforts, Evolution, Shrek and Rat Race.  So, already, the composer has delivered ample material from which to compile a fairly interesting compilation CD.

Recently, this very thing occurred.  A promotional CD was released from the composer's management agency and it truly showcases Powell's creativity and range.  The compilation includes selections from many of his most popular scores such as those mentioned above, but also a few from lesser known and appreciated works such as:  Forces of Nature and Endurance.  Unfortunately, most of the music contained on the promotional disc can be found on the respective original soundtrack releases.  Still, the promotional CD does a adequate job of showing off John Powell's diverse talent.

The CD launches with three tracks from Powell's high spirited score for Chicken Run and seamlessly moves into a ten-and-a-half minute suite, packed with Latin flavored zaniness and raucous can-can music, Rat Race.  One of John Powell's most recent and sought after scores, Shrek, comes in with four selections which are equally flattering to the composer.  (The liner notes mistakenly show three tracks from Evolution as 5 - 7, but the corrected listing is shown below).  The Evolution selections actually begin at track 9 with one of Powell's dreamy waltz compositions, The Cave Waltz (9) - followed by the militaristic and heroic, Fire Truck (10) and Our Heroes (11).  Also included are familiar selections from Antz and the wonderful suite from The Road to El Dorado.

With the composers most well-known scores adequately covered, the compilation also offers up a brief sampling of some of Powell's lesser known works.  One of John Powell's most underappreciated efforts has to be Endurance.  Those looking for another The Lion King or The Prince of Egypt, in terms of style, should look elsewhere, but in terms of overall quality, Endurance ranks right up there with them.  Reflecting the north African styling of Ethiopia, Powell provides a rich score that ranges from authentic, indigenous, vocals to his inspiring and dramatic, synthesized style.  The two tracks selected for inclusion demonstrate that range.

The entries of previously unreleased music comes toward the conclusion of the CD. First, two tracks not contained on the original soundtrack of Face/Off, Opening Titles (17) and The Knife (18) are consistent with the dark overtone of the released portion of the score but are Two tracks from Forces of Nature are placed as a bit of a contemporary diversion.  Both The Road Ahead (19) and Hailstorm (20) are "hip hoppish" in nature; however, The Road Ahead sets itself apart with another infectious theme lead by piano and later backed by simple strings accents and contemporary drum loops.  Only a cursed compilation soundtrack exists for Forces of Nature, and judging by these two selections, the remainder of the score would probably prove very entertaining.

Composer John Powell is easy one of the most impressive composers to come along in the last few years.  His distinctive style is a fresh voice in a genre of music that easily gets lumped into one large mass of orchestral "sameness."  Face/Off to Shrek:  The Film Music of John Powell provides a most entertaining glimpse into the composer's growing repertoire.  Aside from the selections from Forces of Nature and Face/Off all of the music contained on the CD is commercially available.  In any event, this promotional CD provides a perfect platform from which to call John Powell one of the most consistent and inspired film music maestro's around. 


Track Listing and Ratings (Corrected)


Title Time


  Chicken Run    
1 Building the Crate 3:34  ****
2 Main Titles 3:23  *****
3 Flight Training 3:40  ****
  Rat Race    
4 Rat Race Suite 7:04  ****
5 Escape from the Dragon 1:56  ****
6 Big Awkward Moment 0:39  ****
7 Singing Princess 1:34  ****
8 Ride the Dragon 1:35  *****
9 The Cave Waltz 1:02  ****
10 Fire Truck 2:27  ****
11 Our Heroes 2:23  ****
12 The Colony 1:57  ****
13 Ant Revolution 1:49  ***
  The Road to El Dorado    
14 El Dorado Suite 5:55  *****
15 Main Titles 2:27  ****
16 The Great Tree 3:16  ****
17 Opening Titles 2:10  ****
18 The Knife 2:18  ***
  Forces of Nature    
19 The Road Ahead 1:53  ****
20 Hailstorm 1:06  ****
  Just Visiting    
21 Tibault Goes to the UK 2:37  ****

Total Running Time


*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
Chicken Run  | 
Just Visiting



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