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Legends of Chima volume 2
  • Composed by Anthony Lledo
  • MovieScore Media / 2015 / 32m

A cartoon series based on the Lego range for youngsters, Legends of Chima is set in a mystical land populated by anthropomorphic animals and follows their adventures.  Each season is a self-contained story arc and it has been very popular with its target audience and I daresay many parents are very grateful to have been given the opportunity to purchase some of the toys to placate their little ones, but it seems that the show has now run its course and no new episodes are forthcoming.

There’s nothing little about the show’s music, by Danish composer Anthony Lledo.  Selections from the first season’s score were released by MovieScore Media in 2013 and it was a very well-received album by those who heard it, the bright and colourful action/adventure music bringing a smile to many faces.  It’s great therefore that the same label has revisited the show and this second volume of music comes from the second and third seasons (both of which aired in 2014) and – pleasingly – it’s essentially more of the same.

Anthony Lledo

Anthony Lledo

There are ten tracks this time and each is a self-contained little vignette.  The main theme familiar from the first volume makes a welcome return in the opening cue, “Return of the Heroes” – it’s bold and adventurous, a delightful tune.  After the statement of the theme the piece ventures off into very warm territory, dominated by the wind section (which, oddly, is recorded separately from the rest of the orchestra – winds in Los Angeles, the rest in Skopje in Macedonia).  Finally there’s a blast of percussive action with a hint of Remote Control about it.

“Into the Outlands” is the first sign that things are a little darker this time round, more focused on the villains of the piece.  Sinister flutterings from various winds along with dark string figures and menacing percussion are the order of the day.  The second half of the piece suggests that the heroes sweep in to save the day.  It’s a well-realised, exciting cue.  A contrast comes next in the comic “The Dark Tribes”, at least to start with before the hi-jinks gradually becomes consumed by darkness.  That continues in “Ancient Hunters”, primal blasts from low-register brass providing a guttural feel.

“The Phoenix” is beautiful, the orchestra soaring away majestically before a striking martial horn theme takes over.  A softer side is heard in “Hills of Chima”, the album’s most beautiful piece, so warm and gentle.  “Lavertus” continues that side, adding some florid, colourful flute flourishes.  “Frozen Land” is probably the biggest of the score’s action pieces, and it’s a real doozy, thunderous brass and percussion coming together along with real melody from the strings (big action blockbusters should be scored like this!)  “The Tale of Tormak” is another great piece, a cold and bleak soundscape gradually seeing light shine onto it before the grand finale, “Victory”, a grand and celebratory piece with a festival atmosphere.

This is hugely enjoyable music, just like the first volume was.  I’m impressed that a show like this would afford a composer such a broad canvas on which to paint and provide the budget for orchestral music.  It’s wonderful music, blessed with a great sense of adventure and above all fun.  It’s a shame the show has ended because I’d have loved to see a supply of additional volumes coming in the years ahead.  Still, there’s plenty to cherish across the two that are available, which are both terrific.  The second volume is just as good as the first and is very highly recommended.  If you like John Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon scores (and who doesn’t!?) then you will like this.

Rating: ****

See also: Legends of Chima Anthony Lledo | |

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  1. Pepper Skyberry (Reply) on Monday 27 April, 2015 at 03:12

    “If you like John Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon scores (and who doesn’t!?)”

    Bwahaha! We’ll never forget your original review for HTTYD, James. And we’ll never forgive.

    Just kidding.

    In all seriousness, the original Legends of Chima album gave me warm fuzzies all over when I heard it, and it made my day to hear that there’s a second one. Can’t wait to give it a go.

    P.S. Thanks so much for continuing to provide such biting wit and snide commentary in your reviews. They make them such a pleasure to read. And I’m not kidding about that 😉