John Powell has really delivered big time - incorporating the themes from the first score with a number of solid new additions, each given a full orchestral workout like nothing else we hear today. I fully respect this man for what he has achieved here, and if you're a lover of theme-driven, dazzling orchestral mastery then look no further than this album. With composers like Hans Zimmer dominating the world of film music with his rather bland wallpaper sound samples, this is so refreshing and thrilling.
You can really hear every section of the orchestra being put through their paces, even the calmer, reflective moments are beautifully presented allowing solo instruments to shine through (when was the last time we heard a bassoon?) Beautiful.
The new themes aren't as instantly infectious as the originals, and stem from Powell's previous works like Hancock and Rio, but after a couple of listens they really take on a commanding presence and weave spectacularly throughout the score.
It's a real thrill ride, and whilst we may have quite a wait for the third installment, I have no doubt Mr Powell will be back to show everyone else how it's done. I'd easily rank this as one of the best animated scores ever written.