John Powell’s music for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is the first genuinely great score of 2019. I found it a stunning, unexpectedly emotional experience, and so asked for time with both Powell and director Dean DeBlois to explore their process and learn about the creation of the music. This, of course, is the finale of the Dragon trilogy; Powell was Oscar-nominated for the first film in 2010 and then penned an equally fine score for the second film in 2014. As you will see in this Variety story, the third film demanded a 98-piece orchestra and 60-voice choir.
John Powell, one of today’s most talented film composers, is the subject of a special section in Variety this week (Rio 2 is now in release and How to Train Your Dragon 2 is upcoming). In my main story, I discuss his status as today’s leading animation composer but also talk to directors Doug Liman, Carlos Saldanha, Paul Greengrass and Dean DeBlois as well as composers Hans Zimmer and Gavin Greenaway about what makes Powell so special.