MALEFICENT - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2014)

When we first heard American singer songwriter Lana Del Rey’s cover of “Once Upon A Dream” earlier this year, we were blown away. If you are familiar with the original 1959 version, you’d know what we mean. The new take on the dreamy love song is overhauled with a darker, moodier tone. Del Rey was picked by Angelina Jolie (who does a brilliant job at portraying Maleficent) to perform the end title track, and her haunting vocals are bewitchingly alluring, we couldn’t wait to hear what composer James Newton Howard would do for the movie’s score.

Newton Howard had done some fantastic work for Disney (2000’s Dinosaur, 2001’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and 2002’s Treasure Planet), and we were really looking forward to this one. Maybe it’s because we were expecting the film to be a sinister and dark take on one of Disney’s greatest villains, we thought the score would be one evocative experience as well.

Turns out that Disney kept the movie family friendly – same goes for the score. There are about 70 minutes of Newton Howard’s compositions in this album (we rarely get this generous amount of score material in a single CD these days), and like the Academy Award nominee’s (2004’s The Village, 2008’s Defiance) previous works, the music on this soundtrack will impress you with its bold and sweeping themes.

Kicking off the CD is “Maleficent Suite”, a seven minute cue that brings together the score’s main themes. It starts on a foreboding note, transits into fairy tale like lightness, and swells into a spectacular arrangement of emotional grandiose. “Welcome to the Moors” is a sweet elfish piece of melody, “Maleficent Flies” soars with an uplifting mood, while “Battle of the Moors” gives you an idea of the action cues that are to come later in the soundtrack.

The American composer continues to tell the story musically with varied tracks like the affectingly solemn “Go Away”, the tension filled “The Christening” and the sinister “The Spindle’s Power. Elsewhere, the tale is weaved together through cues like the action packed “Path of Destruction”, the gloomy “The Curse Won’t Reverse” and the romantic “Phillip’s Kiss”.

The highlight of the soundtrack is the eight minute “Maleficent Is Captured”, a gloriously arranged piece played during the film’s climatic battle. The concluding score track is “The Queen of Faerieland”, a calm and gentle composition that reminds you Disney’s wholesome branding.  


Recommended Track: 
(21) Maleficent Is Captured

Review by John Li


Maleficent Suite
Welcome to the Moors
Maleficent Flies
Battle of the Moors
Three Peasant Women
Go Away
Aurora and the Fawn
The Christening
Prince Phillip
The Spindle's Power
You Could Live Here Now
12 Path of Destruction
13 Aurora in Faerieland
14 The Wall Defends Itself
15 The Curse Won't Reverse
16 Are You Maleficent?
17 The Army Dances
18 Phillip's Kiss
19 The Iron Gauntlet
20 True Love's Kiss
21 Maleficent Is Captured 
22 The Queen of Faerieland
23 Once Upon a Dream - Lana Del Rey  



Composer: James Newton Howard
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: May 27, 2014