Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - The Videogame
Music by Winifred Phillips
WaterTower Music
17 Tracks 53:19 mins

I have yet to see Zack Snyder's CGI fantasy Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, but from clips I have seen the animation certainly looks impressive. Snyder was also responsible for 300, so if that's anything to go by, I am sure it will be amazing.
Whilst Snyder has worked extensively with Tyler Bates on his previous movies, Australian David Hirschfelder go the nod for this one, and his efforts are available on CD from WaterTower Music.
Of course most films of this scope also have a video game created around them and Legend of the Guardians is no exception. Thus, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment duly obliged. Occasionally the music for such games is composed by the film's composer, as was the case with 300, where Tyler Bates duly adapted his themes but, more often than not, a new composer, or composing team is brought in to score the game, which is often in development before the film receives its final score mix. This was the case here, and for the Legend of the Guardians game, Snyder personally chose Winifred Phillips, who completed her score before Hirschfelder came on to the movie.
Winifred, aided an abetted by her producer Winnie Waldron, is of course responsible for some of the most entertaining and inventive game music of recent times, for some such diverse titles as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Speed Racer, The Da Vinci Code, God of War, Shrek the Third and Sim Animals. A multi-talented composer and vocalist, she utilises synths and samples in her scores and provides all the vocal work, whether it be in the form of solos or choral pieces. Often one finds it hard to believe it is just her you are hearing.
Although created with synths and samples, it has to be said that Phillips has achieved quite an epic cinematic sound with her music for Legend of the Guardians. As you know, I am not a great lover of synthetic music, but here I found I was very much entertained and swept along by the sheer scope of the score, which features more than 20 themes. As you know, I am a sucker for melody, so who could ask for more!
Chief among the themes on display is the "Guardians' Theme," which is utilised within the many action cues, as well as given a more ethereal treatment, care of Winifred's haunting vocal solo in the beautiful "With Hearts Sublime."
The other major theme Winifred describes as that for the "Ancient Evil" is very reminiscent of Howard Shore's choral writing, especially his Ring Wraiths theme from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Regarding the action cues, I don't know, but can imagine Phillips is something of a fan of Bear McCreary, as stylistically some of the more percussive moments, particularly in "Eyes in the Night," mirror his style on the likes of Battlestar Galactica and Human Target, so if you are familiar with his music, you will most likely enjoy this.
I should also mention the cue "Take Flight," a thrilling little scherzo, which I enjoyed and, for those of you who enjoy a world music sound, "Wild Fire" offers busy ethnic percussion and instrumentation. The tragic, yet beautiful "The Fallen" also impresses.
In November, "With Hearts Sublime" received a 2010 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the category "Best Original Song - Video Game." This should give you a good indicator as to the quality of the score.
Winifred Phillips' Legend of the Guardians score is available as a digital download from iTunes, and take time to visit her website at, where you can view an excellent documentary on the scoring of the game, featuring on screen commentary from both Phillips and Waldron, together with scored game play. Why not also check out samples of Winifred's other work while you're there, some of which is also available on iTunes.


Post a Comment

<< Home