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Soundtrack Review

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Wish Dragon
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Philip Klein
Performed by: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Label: Milan Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 June 2021

Milan Records releases Sony Picture Animations Wish Dragon original motion picture soundtrack by Philip Klein. The 25 tracks feature a number of traditional Chinese instruments - the Pipa, the Sheng, Ruan - but run through synthesizers and given a modern touch. In the movie, Din, a working-class college student with big dreams but small means, and Long, a cynical but all-powerful dragon capable of granting wishes, set off on a hilarious adventure through modern day Shanghai in pursuit of Din's long-lost childhood friend, Lina. Their journey forces them to answer some of life's biggest questions – because when you can wish for anything, you have to decide what really matters...

For those of us of a certain age, Philip Klein's score for Wish Dragon will bring back memories of the work of James Horner (from scores like Casper and Honey I Shrunk the Kids). 'I Gotta Go' is probably the best track for highlighting this. There are, obviously lots of original material, but this brought back nostalgic Horner memories for me every once in a while.

Discussing the score, Klein said: "The journey of scoring Wish Dragon began with hours of creative discussions, a fair amount of geeking out and the trial and error of musical experiments with director Chris Appelhans. Our mutual love of exploring lesser known music and sound guided us through generations of Chinese folk songs, instruments, artists and expression.  What we ended up with over a year later was a deeply layered, thematic score; richly coloured by beautiful traditional instruments, wistful textures and the might of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.  Chris' deep love and respect for this story and all of the brilliant filmmakers and artists behind it made my job seem like I was the one being granted a wish."

It's a rich score that never stops for a second. While thematically it leans towards Chinese influences, not for a second do we get even a hint of lazy musical cliches. This is an enjoyable and deeply layered score.


Darren Rea

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