Pokemon: Detective Pikachu – music by Henry Jackman

I all but had to invent a new movie category for Detective Pikachu, because this is a movie that falls under the “well, that worked so much better than I was expecting it to” category. Given that the Pokemon IP holders were going to throw whatever was necessary at this film to make sure it didn’t fail, I wasn’t expecting abject failure, but I wasn’t expecting a movie that I’d be so utterly engrossed in.

Henry Jackman’s score was a big help in that regard. While it does have some synth elements lending it something of an “old video game” feel (and Jackman has become the de facto “video game movie” composer in recent years, with the Wreck-It Ralph franchise and Pixels under his belt), the bulk of the score wisely plays to the movie’s emotional core. You know, that thing that I wasn’t expecting to be there, and wasn’t expecting to be engrossing.

The music also does a lot to play up the sheer wonder of the movie’s universe, a world where Pokemon do, in fact, exist and have always been there alongside human beings. Absent from this universe are cats, dogs, and other familiar animals; in their place are the fictional creatures from the Pokemon franchise down through the years – Skitties and Growliths instead of cats and dogs.

Some of my favorite music cues are those, like “Apom Attack”, “The Roundhouse,” and “Pikachu vs. Charizard”, accompanying scenes that really highlight what that kind of a world would be like (in both good and bad ways). Taking a world of trainers and gym battles and so on into something resembling our physical reality is not an easy task; the score sells the viewer on these things as a reality (maybe not the viewer’s reality, but a reality for the characters in the movie). Some of this music gets almost hyperkinetic, bordering on dubstep, and it’s fun to hear that colliding with a more traditional orchestral treatment.

4 out of 4Other tracks, like “Embrace” and “Digging Deeper”, to name just a couple, have more traditional supporting roles to play in underscoring the emotional thrust of their respective scenes, helping lend weight and menace to the movie’s central mystery (what happened to Pikachu’s former partner?), which, if the whole movie hadn’t hung together so well, might have been seen as a really silly solution to that portion of the plot. Overall, Detective Pikachu is as engrossing a listening experience as it is a viewing experience, and one can certainly hope that Jackman is on board for whatever next installment might be waiting in the wings to happen.

Order this CD

  1. Mewtwo Awakes (1:19)
  2. Catching A Cubone (2:05)
  3. Bad News (1:17)
  4. Howard Clifford (0:56)
  5. Ryme City (2:11)
  6. A Key To The Past (2:06)
  7. Aipom Attack (1:58)
  8. On The Case (1:26)
  9. Childhood Memories (1:42)
  10. Buddies (1:08)
  11. Interrogation Of Mr. Mime (1:53)
  12. The Roundhouse (1:50)
  13. Pikachu vs. Charizard (3:06)
  14. Embrace (3:07)
  15. Digging Deeper (3:55)
  16. Unauthorized Access (3:38)
  17. Greninja & Torterra (2:59)
  18. The Forest Of Healing (3:53)
  19. Shock To The System (1:19)
  20. Save The City (1:07)
  21. True Colors (2:11)
  22. Merge To One (2:08)
  23. Game On (1:05)
  24. Ditto Battle (2:26)
  25. Howard Unplugged (2:35)
  26. Epiphany (2:22)
  27. Together (2:20)

Released by: Sony Classical
Release date: May 3, 2019
Total running time: 58:02

L’uomo Puma (The Pumaman) – music by Renato Serio

Known to the English-speaking world as the infamously cheesy, MST3K-mocked movie Puma Man, L’uomo Puma boasts a score that, heard in isolation, outclasses its accompanying movie in nearly every inportant way. Well, for the most part.

Let’s quantify the outclassing being done by the score here: this isn’t “the first Star Trek movie was okay, but Jerry Goldsmith’s groundbreaking score made it even better” territory. Instead, the orchestral portions of L’uomo Puma‘s score class up the adventures of Tony (the hapless nerd who receives “the powers of a puma”) and Vadinho just enough to give the perhaps mistaken impression that money was spent on the movie as a whole (spoiler: it really wasn’t).

This long, long overdue CD release – this score’s first release on any format – was issued by Italy’s Beat Records in late 2017 in a ridiculously small pressing of 500 units, and to be quite honest, its track titles are opaque and unhelpful at best, managing to completely obscure where that track falls in the movie unless you’re a Puma Man scholar who has memorized the movie (a status which your reviewer is slightly embarrassed to admit he may be approaching).

There are three primary themes in the Puma Man score: a noble-but-mysterious theme for the alien visitors who conferred “the powers of a puma” upon a selected member of the human race, an ominously menacing theme for the machinations of the character played by Donald Pleasence (whose sole instruction from the movie’s director must have been “that’s nice, but can you do it more like Blofeld?”), and of course, the goofily late-’70s-supermarket-commercial-jingle feel of Puma Man’s theme.

The former two categories of music are where the most praise is deserved; they’re nicely composed, marvelously played, and well-engineered. The hollow echo treatment on the cellos lend them more menace than usual. Composer Renato Serio, known primarily to Italian audiences, wasn’t fooling around here; this music outclasses the movie it’s in easily.

If you’re even slightly enamoured of late ’70s scoring that tries to force an orchestra to play to a disco beat, then you’ll be a sucker for the Puma Man theme, a cheery recurring theme that seems oblivious to 3 out of 4the fact that its hero seems to have stumbled upon his superpowers and doesn’t really know how to use them. There’s something hilariously compelling about it – you’ll find yourself humming or whistling it for days afterward.

Earlier, the small pressing of 500 copies of L’uomo Puma was described as ridiculously small; maybe it is. Or maybe it’s just right, given how far underground this movie’s cult following must be. But for those who enjoy this slab of finest Italian-made cheese, it’s almost certain to earn a place of honor on the soundtrack shelf.

Order this CD

  1. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 1 (2:14)
  2. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 2 (2:13)
  3. Puma Man #1 (2:03)
  4. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 3 (2:38)
  5. Puma Man #2 (2:07)
  6. Puma Man #3 (3:13)
  7. Puma Man #4 (1:43)
  8. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 4 (2:04)
  9. Puma Man #5 (2:26)
  10. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 5 (2:36)
  11. Puma Man #6 (2:28)
  12. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 6 (2:07)
  13. Puma Man #7 (2:26)
  14. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 7 (2:40)
  15. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 8 (2:24)
  16. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 9 (1:42)
  17. Puma Man #8 (1:57)
  18. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 10 (2:15)
  19. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 11 (2:22)
  20. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 12 (2:14)
  21. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 13 (1:35)
  22. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 14 (2:03)
  23. Puma Man #9 (2:38)
  24. Puma Man #10 (1:49)
  25. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 15 (2:46)
  26. Puma Man #11 (2:13)
  27. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 16 (2:08)
  28. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 17 (2:38)
  29. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 18 (1:54)
  30. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 19 (2:04)
  31. Puma Man #12 (3:14)
  32. Puma Man #13 (2:45)

Released by: Beat Records
Release date: October 20, 2017
Total running time: 75:12

Planet Of The Apes: The TV Series (expanded)

Released as a very limited edition (2000 copies) by La-La Land Records, this two-disc collection includes and expands upon the material already presented by Intrada Records on a single-CD release early in the 2000s. Intrada’s release included Lalo Schifrin’s appropriately chaotic theme music and his music for the pilot episode, as well as a further episode score by Earle Hagen.

This 2-CD release adds more music by Schifrin and the show’s other composers, offering a classy time capsule of an era when synthesizers had yet to become routine instruments in film scoring. It’s interesting to hear Schifrin and other composers try to alternate between “normal” 1970s orchestral scoring and something more akin to the tone set by Jerry Goldsmith’s music from the first Apes movie.

3 out of 4If you’ve already invested in the Intrada set, whether or not you liked it will determine your interest here: if you did like it, here’s a whole second disc of what you liked. If it didn’t really grab your attention the first time around, it’s probably safe to let this one slide. Despite the smaller-than-usual print run, it’s still available at the time of this writing.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title (1:16)
    Music from Escape From Tomorrow
  2. Exotic Forest (1:02)
  3. Spaceship (1:41)
  4. Apes Urgency (1:31)
  5. Concealment (1:17)
  6. Apes Chase (1:02)
  7. The Warp (1:01)
  8. Urko/Galen (4:12)
  9. The Master (0:15)
  10. Prison Guard (1:58)
  11. Prison Cell/Zaius (1:27)
  12. Jail Break (2:32)
  13. Your World (1:54)
    Music from The Gladiators
  14. Wooded Area (0:45)
  15. Jason (0:27)
  16. Brutal Fight (1:03)
  17. The Disc (1:11)
  18. Barlow (1:17)
  19. Ready (0:36)
  20. Trouble With Apes (1:43)
  21. Planet of the Apes Mountains (0:44)
  22. The Arena (1:43)
  23. Wrestling in the Arena (1:03)
  24. There Will Be a Death (0:26)
  25. Alan in Jail (0:28)
  26. Dalton (1:05)
  27. Human vs. Apes (1:26)
  28. A Beginning (2:28)
    Music from The Good Seeds
  29. Riding for Urko (1:46)
  30. Travel Without Stars (3:17)
  31. Pitchfork Attack (0:30)
  32. Local Patrol (1:37)
  33. Plowing (0:25)
  34. Central City (0:16)
  35. Polar (0:36)
  36. Zanties (0:28)
  37. Virdon (1:08)
  38. I’ve Seen Him Before (0:21)
  39. Apes Neutral Suspense (0:34)
  40. We Ride (0:30)
  41. Discovered (0:40)
  42. Toll the Bell (0:12)
  43. The Riding Enemy (0:22)
  44. Hunting Bonded Humans (1:02)
  45. Twin Bulls (1:25)
  46. Apes Tension (1:33)
  47. Wind Mill (0:25)
  48. The Next String (0:54)
  49. End Credits (0:30)
  50. Riding for Urko (extension) (1:54)
    Disc Two

  1. Main Title (1:16)
    Music from The Trap
  2. Opening (1:04)
  3. Reflections (2:30)
  4. Through the Forest (1:15)
  5. The Bag (0:31)
  6. Stalk in the City (3:02)
  7. Hunted (0:55)
  8. Searching (1:00)
  9. Go to Work (0:17)
  10. The Poster (1:46)
  11. Urko Makes His Move (1:07)
  12. The Execution (2:30)
  13. One for the Road (0:49)
    Music from The Legacy
  14. Country Style (0:35)
  15. Ruined City (1:13)
  16. Apes (0:40)
  17. The Machine (0:49)
  18. The Soldiers (2:29)
  19. Ape Signals (0:50)
  20. The Kid (0:34)
  21. Virdon and the Kid (0:25)
  22. Urko (0:44)
  23. The Family (0:40)
  24. The Kid’s Toy (0:20)
  25. Kids and Apes (1:15)
  26. Farm Girl (1:12)
  27. The Reward (0:29)
  28. Apes and Kids (0:44)
  29. Knowledge Hunts (3:12)
  30. Farewell (0:35)
    Music from Tomorrow’s Tide
  31. Runners (0:41)
  32. The Raft (1:43)
  33. Fisherman’s Love (1:09)
  34. The Village (0:48)
  35. Quotas Quotas (0:18)
  36. Fire and Fish (1:02)
  37. Garcon (0:14)
  38. More Fine Divers (0:33)
  39. Peter Dives (0:31)
  40. The Sharks (0:28)
  41. Sharks (2:36)
  42. Find Him (0:31)
  43. Gato Leaves (0:50)
  44. Bandor (0:31)
  45. Bandor the M.C. (1:30)
  46. Escape (1:49)
  47. Run Off (0:18)
    Music from The Surgeon
  48. Medicine Off Center (2:43)
  49. More Sutures (1:32)
    Music from The Deception
  50. Farna Theme (0:58)
  51. Farna Theme #1 (0:44)
  52. Farna (0:36)
  53. Farna Reminisces (1:11)
  54. Leave Me Alone (0:31)
  55. Be Gentle With Her (0:29)
  56. Deception (1:40)
  57. Goodbye (0:33)
    Music from The Interrogation
  58. Again (1:33)
  59. Mish Mosh (0:23)
  60. Drums and Bells (2:04)
  61. Wind Machine (1:04)
  62. End Credits (0:30)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: January 13, 2015
Disc one total running time: 58:51
Disc two total running time: 1:08:15

Music Written For The Film Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The Apes: Music Written For The FilmMajor labels may drop re-releases, even expanded ones, of classic rock albums at the drop of a hat; asking for the same treatment for a soundtrack album – especially one that still sells well in its present form – is a completely different species. Such is the case with Jerry Goldsmith’s career-defining score from 1968’s Planet Of The Apes. It’s not the complete score, every note recorded for the movie, and yet it’s still in demand with a certain niche audience that isn’t likely to break out of its niche. Where’s the incentive to re-license everything, secure new rights, pay union musicians from 48 years ago for even more minutes of their music again? (Understand, I’m not articulating my own belief there, but rather the thoughts that must be going through the head of a music label.) That’s why John O’Callaghan, author of a well-regarded book on Goldsmith’s Apes score, opted to start from scratch: get the license to use the original sheet music and arrangements to produce a brand-new recording.

But isn’t that road fraught with peril too? Well…yes. O’Callaghan has had more access to the orchestrations and timing notes than anyone since the music personnel who worked on the original film, and carefully timed things out to the correct tempo. Perhaps most impressively, he rented out the same exotic percussion instruments used for the 1968 score sessions and recorded them acoustically. Where Music Written For The Film Planet Of The Apes falters is in the choice – almost certainly dictated by budget – to used sampled and synthesized instruments for everything else. In some cases, this isn’t actually bad; O’Callaghan has some nice string samples at his disposal. But it’s the brass instruments that are let down by this recording. Very few of the brass instruments heard here are going to convince anyone that there’s a real player at the real mouthpiece of a real horn (or tuba, etc.). A few of the samples are just about credible, but generally speaking, the synthesized nature of the music almost robs the fancy acoustic percussion of its credibility. Though with the project’s likely low budget, I’m not sure what the alternative would’ve been.

3 out of 4On the upside, we finally have a complete recording of the Planet Of The Apes soundtrack, and it’s quite enjoyable. The downside, however, is a reliance on synths and samples that are sometimes less than convincing. The alternate arrangements presented in the bonus tracks are fascinating, as are the liner notes (derived from O’Callaghan’s book, “Simians & Serialism”). It’s an interesting companion to Goldsmith’s 1968 recording, but not a replacement for it (which its author acknowledges). Listen in the same spirit as someone listening to a decent cover band, or perhaps the Cult Files collections of the 1990s.

Order this CD

  1. Planet of the Apes (Main Title) (2:19)
  2. Crash Landing (6:53)
  3. The Searchers (2:32)
  4. The Search Continues (4:59)
  5. The Clothes Snatchers (3:13)
  6. The Hunt (5:14)
  7. A New Mate (1:13)
  8. The Revelation (3:23)
  9. No Escape (5:42)
  10. The Trial (1:47)
  11. New Identity (2:29)
  12. A Bid For Freedom (2:39)
  13. The Forbidden Zone (3:27)
  14. The Intruders (1:11)
  15. The Cave (1:25)
  16. The Revelation Part 2 (3:26)

    Bonus Tracks:

  17. Planet of the Apes (Main Title) (2:19)
  18. The Searchers (2:32)
  19. The Revelation (3:23)

Released by: Pithikos Entertainment
Release date: 2016
Total running time: 60:14

Planet Of The Apes (newly expanded edition)

Planet Of The Apes (newly expanded edition)The modern world of big-screen reboots and remakes presents a minefield to the music department: how do you create music for a story that’s been done before, without doing the same music that’s been done before? (At least one movie remake, the modern remount of Hitchcock’s Psycho, opted to reuse the original music, albeit a new recording of it.) Matters are made worse when the soundtrack of the original version was a groundbreaking, genre-shaking opus that was practically its own character in the film – such as Jerry Goldsmith’s brutally percussive score from 1968’s Planet Of The Apes. In that respect, the 2001 reboot of Apes had a double burden – the original movie and its music were indelibly ingrained into the minds of genre fans. Top that.

Tim Burton tried to, and as he so often does, he brought frequent musical collaborator Danny Elfman along for the ride. Both had an unenviable task ahead of them. Arguably, the music succeeded better than the movie for which it was designed, and La-La Land has re-released the soundtrack to the 2001 Apes remake in an extravagant form, stretching the movie’s almost wall-to-wall music across three discs covering both the original soundtrack album as released in ’01 (which had a pretty healthy selection of music on it to begin with) as well as the complete score as heard in the film (the material on the single-CD soundtrack release differed significantly from the actual film score in many places).

As I was listening to the movie score, the thought struck me that Elfman – despite his seemingly permanent place on Hollywood’s music A-list – hasn’t scored too many sprawling space sagas. Planet Of The Apes isn’t really a sprawling space saga – its “space” scenes are confined to the movie’s opening minutes – but the music for those scenes is an interesting taste of how Elfman would handle the territory that is so often associated with Williams, Goldsmith, Horner and others more frequently regarded as “sci-fi composers.”

When the action comes jarringly down to Earth, the race is on for the film’s hero to outrun the apes, and for Elfman to do things differently from Jerry Goldsmith. As attached as I am to the original 1968 movie and its soundtrack, I found Elfman’s treatment of similar scenes to be more than satisfactory – in fact, they’re hugely enjoyable purely as a listening experience (they didn’t hurt the movie either, though arguably there were things other than the music that did hurt it). In some regards, it’s not entirely dissimilar from Goldsmith’s score because it doesn’t need to be – it’s not a case of anyone’s ideas being ripped off, it’s a case of both composers bowing to the tribally-rhythmic obvious.

The original single-disc soundtrack has been given fresh coat of remastered paint, and sounds great if you’re still attached to the original tracks and running order. (I still admit to enjoying Paul Oakenfold’s movie-dialogue-heavy “Rule The World Remix” as a guilty pleasure; Oakenfold probably does too, since it helped to raise his Hollywood profile, which now includes his own film scores.) Rounding things out are a selection of “source” cues Elfman concocted for scenes which needed “in universe” background music.

Planet Of The Apes was meant to launch a new generation of 20th Century Fox’s venerable Apes franchise for the 21st century, and its hugely-hyped launch seemed to all but guarantee that. Somewhere between the movie just not being as shocking or interesting as the 1968 original, and the inevitable anti-reboot backlash, it managed to fall between the cracks despite the hype. Elfman’s soundtrack remains possibly the most valid element of the movie – much like the re-release of the music from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (also reissued by La-La Land), it was ripe for reassessment despite being 4 out of 4only a decade old. I felt a little let down by the music from Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, so maybe this re-release could serve to remind the director and producers of the next Apes reboot-sequel-prequel-thingie that Elfman’s still out there – and he definitely knows how to go ape.

Order this CD

    Disc 1: Film Score Part 1

  1. Main Titles (film version) (3:53)
  2. Deep Space Launch / Space Station / Power Outage (2:36)
  3. Thumbs Up / Trouble (5:57)
  4. Pod Escape / New World / The Hunt (4:13)
  5. Ape City (2:13)
  6. A Look / Unloading /Thade’s Inspection / Ari Watches / The Branding (3:44)
  7. Ari Buys a Pet (1:24)
  8. Leo Wants Out / Dental Exam (2:12)
  9. Thade’s Desire (1:35)
  10. The Dirty Deed (1:54)
  11. The Escape (3:39)
  12. Trust / Escape (3:32)
  13. In the Forest /Into the Pond / The Messenger (2:29)
  14. Unused / Thade Gets His Way / Ari Connects (3:49)
  15. The Story (3:00)
  16. Scarecrow Stinger / The Camp / Raid (5:20)
  17. Thade Goes Ape (2:42)
  18. Calima (7:22)
  19. The Army Approaches (3:03)
  20. Thade’s Tent (2:10)
  21. Discovery (5:07)
  22. Preparing for Battle (3:51)
    Disc 2: Film Score Part 2

  1. The Charge (4:44)
  2. The Final Confrontation Landing / Showdown (8:34)
  3. The Aftermath / Thade’s Suite (7:31)
  4. Ape Suite #
  5. 4:59)
  6. Ape Suite #
  7. 2:36)
  8. Rule The Planet Remix (4:09)
  9. Thumbs Up / Trouble (alternate mix) (5:57)
  10. New World / The Hunt (alternate mix) (3:20)
  11. Dental Exam (alternate mix) (1:21)
  12. The Dirty Deed (alternate mix) (1:54)
  13. The Story (alternate mix) (2:59)
  14. Preparing for Battle (alternate) (3:35)
  15. The Final Confrontation (alternate mix) (7:14)
  16. The Aftermath / Thade’s Suite (unedited) (7:32)
  17. Camp Raid (percussion only) (4:08)
  18. Rule The Planet (overlay) (3:01)
  19. Source Music Montage (Band Source, Trendy Source, Jazzy Source, Calliope Source, Rave Source) (2:54)
  20. Dinner Source (1:40)
    Disc 3: Original Soundtrack Album

  1. Main Titles (3:49)
  2. Ape Suite #1 (3:52)
  3. Deep Space Launch (4:35)
  4. The Hunt (4:58)
  5. Branding The Herd (0:48)
  6. The Dirty Deed (2:27)
  7. Escape From Ape City / The Legend (5:57)
  8. Ape Suite #2 (2:42)
  9. Old Flames (2:10)
  10. Thade Goes Ape (2:37)
  11. Preparing For Battle (3:26)
  12. The Battle Begins (5:17)
  13. The Return (7:18)
  14. Main Title Deconstruction (4:22)
  15. Rule The Planet Remix (remixed by Paul Oakenfold) (4:03)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2012
Disc one total running time: 75:57
Disc two total running time: 78:24
Disc three total running time: 58:21

Planet Of The Apes: The Series

Planet Of The Apes: The SeriesThe most unexpected Planet Of The Apes soundtrack of all is this compilation of music from the franchise’s brief extension in live-action TV. Though the series boasted some segments worthy of the Apes brand of storytelling, it’s often ignored by more serious afficionados of the original film series because it doesn’t try very hard to adhere to the movies’ timeline. What the TV series had going for it was lavish location filming, Roddy McDowall again donning the makeup of a sympathetic ape, and what was actually a fairly effective music library.

With the rules of television scoring being different in the ’70s, not every episode of the Apes TV series got its own score; many of its installments were “tracked” from this music written for early episodes. Lalo Schifrin also composed the oppressive, guttural main theme, so his scores tended to quote that theme frequently, providing some unity. The episodes scores by Schifrin were less adventurous than, say, the same composer’s globe-style-trotting music for Mission: Impossible, but he wisely leans in favor of “aping” the brutal, occasionally dissonant sound established by the first movie’s groundbreaking Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack. With a smaller ensemble at his disposal, Schifrin makes the best use of his orchestral resources: there’s more brass than strings here, and he can’t hope to match Goldsmith’s wall of violent unconventional percussion. What he manages to pull off with that smaller orchestra is impressive.

Some of the better cues are the wrap-everything-up-on-a-less-hopeless-note final scenes from Schifrin’s scores. “Your World”, from the series pilot, is the musical epitome of “cautiously optimistic,” while “A Beginning” (the final cue of the show’s second hour, The Gladiators) is less certain in its feel-good send-off (and was used to close out many of the series’ installments). The Gladiators score also provides a showcase for what Schifrin was able to do with his more modest percussion section.

Another early episode score, The Legacy, was composed by guest musician Earle Hagen, and it’s distinctly different from Schifrin’s music. Less in-your-face pessimistic than Schifrin’s scores, Hagen’s music is more typical of mid 1970s drama scoring for American TV. Cues like The Soldiers demonstrate an attempt to mesh with the Schifrin scores, but most of the music is subtler and more mysterious, befitting the episode’s race to preserve a hologram which promises to be a storehouse of human scientific knowledge. Hagen went on to compose other scores for the series, ultimately providing almost a third of the show’s scores versus the two-thirds either scored by Schifrin or tracked from episodes previously scored by Schifrin.

The last score – incidentally closing out the first four episodes of the show – sees Schifrin return with a more robust percussion ensemble, and resuming the use of music that complements his main theme nicely. A few cues (the opening moments of “Riding For Urko” in particular) see Schifrin confidently stepping right up to the territory mapped out by Goldsmith’s score for the first Apes movie. 4 out of 4This score truly belongs in the Apes musical pantheon.

And so does the TV soundtrack as a whole. More obscure than even the later film sequels, the TV series suffered from a malady common to early ’70s TV science fiction – namely having well-worn plots from westerns or The Fugitive grafted onto the Planet Of The Apes backstory – but the music is one of the better things about the show, consistently reminding the audience of the stakes in play, even if the scripts didn’t make this quite so clear.

Order this CD

  1. Main Title (1:15)

    Escape From Tomorrow by Lalo Schifrin

  2. The Spaceship (2:38)
  3. Apes (2:48)
  4. The Warp (2:03)
  5. Urko and Galen (4:05)
  6. Prison Guard (1:58)
  7. Jail Break (3:32)
  8. Your World (1:58)

    The Gladiators by Lalo Schifrin

  9. Jason (1:11)
  10. Fighting (2:14)
  11. Barlow (1:50)
  12. Trouble (2:25)
  13. Into the Arena (2:47)
  14. There Will Be Death (0:53)
  15. Humans versus Apes (2:34)
  16. A Beginning (2:32)

    The Legacy by Earle Hagen

  17. Into the Ruined City (2:28)
  18. The Machine (0:50)
  19. The Soldiers (2:30)
  20. The Key (1:25)
  21. Verdon and the Kid (1:10)
  22. The Family (1:56)
  23. The Reward (2:25)
  24. Knowledge Hunts (3:13)
  25. Farewell (0:38)

    The Good Seed by Lalo Schifrin

  26. Riding for Urko (1:48)
  27. Travel Without Stars (3:18)
  28. Attack (3:18)
  29. Bonded Humans (2:26)
  30. Next String (2:27)
  31. End Credits (1:59)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 68:34

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – music by Patrick Doyle

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