Hans Zimmer and John Powell’s collaborative effort on Kung Fu Panda 2 is one of the best film scores of the year. Period. Hands-down. No argument. Brimming with creativity and gusto, it’s a lush musical ride full of vibrancy, adventure, emotion, and fun. I mean, come on: this is Zimmer and Powell we’re talking about here. Can you think of a more awesome combination when it comes to film music?
There’s not a single bad track on the entire album, which means you’re better off just buying the whole thing. Nevertheless, here are some standouts: Ancient China/Story of Shen is the opening cue, effectively showcasing the marriage of eastern and western styles and instrumentation that characterizes the rest of the score. Stealth Mode creeps along with playful ease, while Rickshaw Chase zips forward at full-throttle, hardly pausing for breath. Po Finds the Truth is the most emotionally-charged piece, and possibly the most memorable. The climax of the album is undoubtedly Zen Ball Master, a seven-and-a-half minute action cue with a brilliant incorporation of the main theme.