Rise Of The Planet Of The ApesThe Planet Of The Apes franchise has never been safe or predictable, and the same goes for its music. With a musical lexicon established by an unconventional score that has to count as one of Jerry Goldsmith‘s career highlights, the Apes franchise demands that later composers bring their A-game. Even the 21st century’s first attempt at reviving the franchise – though it was a non-starter that sits well outside of the accepted continuity – was scored by none other than Danny Elfman. The single season of live-action TV Apes drew heavily on a pilot score by Lalo Schifrin that acknowledged Goldsmith’s adventurous music, even if it couldn’t approach it on a TV soundtrack budget. The upshot of this is: you can’t go tame composing for Apes.

Patrick Doyle‘s score, however, does precisely that for a lot of its running time. Don’t get me wrong – fans of the Hans Zimmer-inspired school of “action music with lots of fast-moving cello ostinatos” will feel right at home here, but even Zimmer could be more adventurous than this (see also: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception). The music is pleasant enough, and Doyle proves that he’s got the chops for a “primitive” sound, but it’s well into the movie or the soundtrack before that’s apparent. Even when the primate action gets hot and heavy, rather than playing up the exotic, the score falls back on a wall of strings. The groundwork for the end of humanity is being laid in the story, but we still get a rather gentrified, string-heavy sound – more than once, I found myself wondering what Bear McCreary would’ve done with this movie.

When Doyle does do brutal/primitive, it’s a breath of fresh air, but it seems as though he falls back on the string section as quickly as possible. The music isn’t bad, just… awfully conventional.

2 out of 4I wasn’t expecting, or hoping, to hear full-scale quotation of the original Goldsmith score or any of its successors, but a little stylistic callback to the original might not have hurt. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is a different kind of approach to the Apes franchise, and it definitely gets a musical treatment that’s different from most of what has come before. Is it more contemporary? Yes – but it’s also strangely more generic, the last sound I’d expect from a new movie in this series.

Order this CD

  1. The Beginning (2:48)
  2. Bright Eyes Escapes (3:37)
  3. Lofty Swing (1:36)
  4. Stealing The 112 (1:51)
  5. Muir Woods (1:20)
  6. Off You Go (2:17)
  7. Who Am I? (2:20)
  8. Caesar Protects Charles (3:57)
  9. The Primate Facility (2:44)
  10. Dodge Hoses Caesar (1:39)
  11. Rocket Attacks Caesar (1:24)
  12. Visiting Time (2:16)
  13. “Caesing” The Knife (2:04)
  14. Buck Is Released (1:51)
  15. Charles Slips Away (1:16)
  16. Cookies (1:15)
  17. Inhaling The Virus (2:45)
  18. Caesar’s Stand (4:23)
  19. Sys Freedom (4:56)
  20. Zoo Breakout (2:40)
  21. Golden Gate Bridge (5:21)
  22. The Apes Attack (2:09)
  23. Caesar And Buck (1:57)
  24. Caesar’s Home (2:40)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2011
Total running time: 61:06