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Legends of Chima
  • Composed by Anthony Lledo
  • MovieScore Media / 2013 / 32m

Legends of Chima is an animated show for young children which premièred on the Cartoon Network in America in early 2013.  It’s a tie-in to the Lego toy line of the same name.  (I’m surprised nobody has made a tv series based on the Lego objects I made when I was a small child, “Unrecognisable shapes and peculiar colour combinations.”)  It was generally well received and has proved pretty popular, and I’m sure has driven a few parents to despair as their kids want them to buy them lots of new toys.

The music is by Danish composer Anthony Lledo, who has previously written additional music for Harry Gregson-Williams and scored some other Lego-branded tie-ins.  To steal a line from the press release – the series might be aimed at youngsters, but the music is most assuredly grown-up.  Full bodied and adventurous, it is exceptionally entertaining and suggests fine things lie ahead for its composer.  The album opens with “Laval the Lion”, an exciting action cue with a central theme of the Media Ventures old school; that’s a promising start but then in “Chi” Lledo raises things to a whole new level.  There’s an epic sweep to it, a real beauty too – it’s magical music, rousing and uplifting.

Anthony Lledo

Anthony Lledo

“Playful Tribes” is a delightful scherzo, the music perfectly living up to its title – there’s a genuine orchestral warmth, reminiscent of the best of John Powell’s scores for animation.  (It does have that unfortunate Remote Control “live brass that sounds sampled” feel at times – one of the very few words of complaint I could find about the music.)  The well-produced album offers a number of dramatic flavours and continues with a darker piece, “The Croc Swamp” – again the theme is adventure, but this time with a mysterious air.

Playful winds open “Cragger”, gradually giving way to some growling low brass and then full-on action.  The action continues in “Speedor Races”, a breathless and invigorating piece which remains satisfyingly musical.  This contrasts with the whimsical beauty of “When We Were Kids”, the main theme given an extremely lovely arrangement.  ”Rhinos” presents a particularly lighthearted portrayal of the great beasts – a musical portrait of rolling around in mud, satisfyingly munching on some snacks perhaps – again, lovely stuff.

“The Warrior Within” includes an heroic fanfare full of blood and guts before the action theme from the opening cue is given a reprise – it’s hugely entertaining.  ”Forever Rock” features some emotional string writing before the brief “Drums of Chima” which – perhaps unsurprisingly – has a powerful percussive backdrop, with some fluttering, evocative accompaniment.  Action’s back in “The Big Battle”, racing string figures alternating by thrilling brassy phrases – it’s not the height of sophistication, but it’s modern action music which is delightfully bright and exciting, blessed with an adventurous spirit and above all designed to provide entertainment.

The album concludes with the rousing “The Great Story”, a beautiful piece which serves as a perfect conclusion to the musical story.  Legends of Chima is such an enjoyable album: free of pretensions, full of joy, it’s a real treat.  The album has been assembled very well, to boot – not pausing once for breath, offering a nice mix between action and adventure.  I suspect that anyone who enjoys either the great adventure scores of the 1990s or the continuation of the style which has been heard most frequently in animations through the 2000s will really like this one.

Rating: ****

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  1. Erik Woods on Saturday 21 December, 2013 at 20:18

    My kids watch these Lego themed adventures all the time on Netflix. I’m blown away by how good the music is. You should hear the incredible music written for Lego Ninjago show. Great review by the way!

  2. Benjamin Paric on Saturday 28 December, 2013 at 14:13

    Wowie! Thanks Mr. Southall; this sort of music has always been my cup of tea and I would have totally passed this album over if it weren’t for this review. Many of Lego’s properties have yielded surprisingly rewarding musical material; I have fond memories of Nathan Furst’s scores for the first few “Bionicle” films (which sadly remain unreleased). Thanks again!

  3. mike bukata on Sunday 23 February, 2014 at 02:47

    I LOVE THE SOUNDTRACK FOR THE SHOW, AND I CANT GET ENOUGHT OF IT, I BOUGHT THE SOUNDTRACK ON ITUNES, AND I DON’T EVEN WATCH THE SHOW, IM 15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!