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Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, and Co-Produced by:
Patrick Doyle

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
James Shearman

Co-Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler

Co-Produced by:
Maggie Rodford

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
August 16th, 2011

Also See:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes (2001)

Audio Clips:
5. Muir Woods (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

6. Off You Go (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

20. Zoo Breakout (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

24. Caesar's Home (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Regular U.S. release, initially delayed by two weeks.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes
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Buy it... if you were impressed by Patrick Doyle's adaptation of the standard techniques of modern American blockbuster film scores into his lyrical sensibilities for Thor and desire an even more ambitious blend of the two for this primal showdown.

Avoid it... if you remain a staunch enthusiast of Doyle's 1990's style and cannot appreciate the intricacies of his many layers of activity when they are blended with heaps of exotic instrumentation, synthetic tones, and aggressive ostinato rhythms.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: (Patrick Doyle) Ever since the initial adaptation of Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel to the big screen in the classic Planet of the Apes of 1968, the concept has generated enough interest to lure studios into seeking scripts that further explore that universe. In 1972, the fourth of five films in the original franchise series, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, featured an origin story that told of how the apes were initially thrust into battle against humanity, and the 2011 reboot of the franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, follows a similar basic plotline. A San Francisco Bay Area facility seeking a cure for Alzheimer's Disease injects the chimpanzees with a compound that radically increases their intelligence, making them not only equal to humans in mental capabilities but also consequently causing them to revolt against the slave-like conditions in which they have been kept. The leader of the apes, Caesar, is caught in between his affections for the human scientists sympathetic to his cause and the plight of his species, eventually attempting to lead the group of enhanced, escaped primates to a natural environment against the will of the military forces of the humans. No doubt the plan by 20th Century Fox is to follow Rise of the Planet of the Apes with a series of sequels that develops the same general timeline as the early 1970's films in the franchise, and early positive reactions to their initial reboot entry will likely spur efforts in that regard. There was, of course, another "re-imagining" of the franchise by Tim Burton in 2001, and for that occasion, Danny Elfman provided music that was as brutally percussive as anything in his career and certainly more aggressive than the music for the prior five films. For the 2011 movie, Scottish veteran Patrick Doyle was hired by the relatively novice British director Rupert Wyatt for the task of scoring the picture, a intriguing choice but one that did not generate as much controversy as it could have due to Doyle's handling of the blockbuster Thor earlier in the same summer. Doyle, despite his popular music for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, had never been known prior to 2011 as a major action genre composer, typically associated instead with Kenneth Branagh's Shakespearean adaptations and other dramatic productions outside of the Hollywood spotlight. For Thor, his action mode was forced to evolve more than the primates in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and that trend continues in the latter film, merging American stylistic norms with his own highly melodic sensibilities.

Doyle's forced adaptation of modern American rhythmic models of score writing has yielded one of the most interesting storylines of 2011 in the film music realm. While some Doyle purists suffered an allergic reaction to Thor because they perceived too many influences from the methods of Hans Zimmer and his Remote Control soundtrack production house, the score still maintains a strong identity within Doyle's own stylistic domain. In several of its basic characteristics, the score for Rise of the Planet of the Apes is even more informed by conventional methodology, but Doyle pushes back even harder within that genre by stubbornly refusing to relinquish his own recognizable mannerisms. In a casual listening experience, one might say that Rise of the Planet of the Apes has very little of Doyle's trademark sound, but careful appreciation of the score reveals that it is not only a strong contender within the field of American blockbuster scores of this time, but also one with Doyle's sonic fingerprints all over its structures. The instrumentation goes in the direction of Elfman's score for the concept but stops well short of its relentless depth and force. The exotic percussion and vocals in Rise of the Planet of the Apes are understandably African in origin, the former treated as just one section of the larger ensemble (in terms of emphasis in the mix) and the latter often relegated to rhythmic chanting in the bass region. Doyle augments that very active but treble-friendly percussion work with a few notable solo accents that really highlight his intelligent approach to this score. The use of an ostrich egg ocarina to represent Caesar's origins and echoes of motherly love is a genuinely unique tactic, its tone residing halfway between an ethnic woodwind and female vocal. A series of grunted ape noises and clanging metallic effects meant to resemble the rattling of cages (a.k.a. "Klingons at mealtime") are applied as frequent pace-setters, and their placement in the mix highlights their tones rather allowing them to fade beneath the ensemble. Tastefully applied electronics are treated as an equal participant in the ensemble as well, contributing to the science fiction aspect of the lab's environment. The Los Angeles orchestra is not that robust in physical size (it's too bad the London Symphony Orchestra didn't sink their teeth into this one, especially with some of the string runs discussed later in this review), but that lack of overwhelming power is compensated for by a solid forward mix and performances conducted in such a way as to solicit outstanding emphasis from especially the string section. Like Alexandre Desplat, Doyle also treats woodwinds as percussion instruments as times.

The level of instrumental activity in Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a constant pleasure. Unlike many Remote Control-emulating scores that simply pound away at their ideas or present one-dimensional lines of activity with no counterpoint or intellectual structural design, Doyle is perpetually layering this score with interesting activity, even if those performances are carried by an instrument as soft as a harp. Such was the case with Thor, a score that likewise could have been much more simplistic and sufficed for the film just the same. The composer has also proven several times, and with extremely positive results as recently as La Ligne Droite, that he is capable of producing surprisingly robust results from less than full ensembles. The mix of the group for Rise of the Planet of the Apes is somewhat on the dry side, though this choice really emphasizes the specialty performers and allows a listener to the album presentation to add some reverb on the consumer end to gain a fantasy atmosphere if desired. On top of the engaging instrumentation in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Doyle as usual doesn't disappoint with his melodic constructs. His sense of melodramatic lyricism is a throwback to a different age in film scores, and it's relieving to hear the composer retain a loyalty to his melodic roots in a score that otherwise would be known for its textures. He offers three themes to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, two of them experiencing interesting development throughout the film while the third serving as a battle cry for the latter half of the story. That announcement of hostility will steal the show, joining Doyle's own Thor and Michael Giacchino's Super 8 as summer 2011 scores that feature a stunning secondary idea that dominate their respective narratives. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this rebellion theme explodes suddenly at the outset of "Buck is Released" and is a full-blooded brass expression that resurrects Jerry Goldsmith's style of the 1990's. From "Caesar Says No" to "Golden Gate Bridge," this theme is a constant player, toned back in the first two cues of that sequence but building to another momentous statement at the end of "Zoo Breakout." Its sinister performance at 1:35 into "Golden Gate Bridge" once again reminds of Goldsmith's style. A descending slur of brass or strings often accompanies this material, in the form of horn counterpoint in the middle of "Caesar Says No" and accelerating on cellos and violins in "Gen-Sys Freedom" and "Zoo Breakout." The wildly frenetic string runs heard during moments of panic in the score ("The Beginning" and "The Apes Attack") will remind some listeners of the "Ice Bear Combat" cue in Desplat's The Golden Compass.

The two primary themes written by Doyle for Rise of the Planet of the Apes interweave constantly, especially in the score's first half. One is dedicated to Caesar himself, developing from solo ocarina performances into a heroic fanfare by the conclusion of the film. A little more elusive but almost as frequently referenced is a theme of softer, loving intent to reflect the positive relationship between the lead and sympathetic human characters before the revolt occurs. The theme for Caesar is the one heard mysteriously in the exotic ocarina tones in the first few cues, vaguely reminiscent of Marco Beltrami's iconic theme for the Scream franchise. There is a sense of motherly love embedded in the similarity between this exotic woodwind's tone and a female voice, a somber inflection defining most of the early performances of the idea. A continuation of the theme early in "Who Am I?" leads to subsequently understandable fragments of the idea in that cue. Quiet but resolute heroism begins to embody the theme in "Dodge Hoses Caesar" and "Inhaling the Virus." The ocarina returns to convey the theme at the ends of "Visiting Time" and "Caesar Says No," maintaining the identity's origins throughout most of the story. As the chimp gains his leadership position, Doyle applies his idea in a wider variety of ways, including the distant wailing-like references to its primary phrase in "Caesar Says No" and the full ensemble defiance in the middle of "Gen-Sys Freedom." In the latter half of "Golden Gate Bridge," Doyle uses the theme as the more cohesive alternative to the aforementioned action theme, rallying a sense of pride behind the idea while never quite relinquishing its somewhat dour origins. The melody's slightly mutated progressions on brass at 0:55 into "The Apes Attack" is followed by uncomfortable fragmentary references that extend into "Caesar and Buck." The latter cue, though, brings evocative pathos to the theme, its striking string performances by the end presenting the kind of quivering, suspenseful crescendo that only a composer like Doyle can offer. The resolution cue, "Caesar's Home," explores softer string variations on the theme's secondary phrases before issuing a monumental brass statement at the end, complete with militaristically ripping snare, to victoriously close out the score. In this and many of the previously mentioned cues, Doyle alternates between this identity for Caesar and its loving, human-related companion theme. This less readily obvious melody balances out the bold aggressiveness of the action motifs and the frequent, somber heroism of Caesar's theme, generating the warmest moments in Rise of the Planet of the Apes before necessarily dissolving by the end of the picture.

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It's interesting to note that in its progressions and instrumentation, the companionship theme in Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an intriguing combination of ideas from La Ligne Droite and James Horner's Avatar, the former really informing the structure of the melody while the latter influencing performances like the one of upbeat personality in "Muir Woods." It's actually introduced earlier, its first statement at 1:35 into "The Beginning" and hinted in "Stealing the 112," both of which will give those fortunate enough to have enjoyed La Ligne Droite, and, to a lesser extent, Doyle's other obscure success of 2011, Jig, the feeling that they have heard the composer traverse this territory before. Its choral introduction in "Off You Go" is vaguely reminiscent of James Newton Howard's fantasy mode, as is the building, fluttering activity behind the theme's actual statement thereafter (plus, you get a chance reference to John Williams' Krypton theme in the brass at 1:30). Doyle adeptly passes the idea between subtle woodwinds, brass, and then strings in the middle of "The Primate Facility." Sadly subdued early in "Visiting Time," the theme then picks up steam with strings and what sounds like a synthetic xylophone. Tragic melodramatic hints in "Charles Slips Away" and "Inhaling the Virus" dissolve into one last slight reference early in "Golden Gate Bridge." The theme merges with Caesar's identity in "Caesar's Home," reprising some of the tone from "Muir Woods" as his species returns to that environment. Aside from these themes, Doyle keeps the score interesting with other individual techniques of note. In several early cues, including "Bright Eyes Escapes" and "Stealing the 112," Doyle applies an ostinato for strings and percussion similar to Thor. There's a hint of John Ottman's suspense mode in this and the tingling tones and progressions in "The Primate facility." The rattling percussive effects over drums and low voices in "Caesar Protects Charles" are quite intense for Doyle, as are the interesting deep, metallic synthesizer tones at the conclusions of these two cues. The clicking rhythmic effects late in "Caesing the Knife" remind of vintage Star Trek film scores. The panic ostinatos in "Golden Gate Bridge" and elsewhere are effective without being derivative, though they tend to be somewhat anonymous. Some listeners will find too much of Rise of the Planet of the Apes to be similarly generic in its catering to blockbuster norms, but listen more carefully to Doyle's complexities and you will be rewarded. The thematic development, while very strong, is not quite pleasing enough in its obvious placements to give this score the highest rating. It stands as a strong sibling to Thor, however, and proves that the humble and humorous Scot is certainly more than capable of handling these kinds of assignments. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Patrick Doyle reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.81 (in 27 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.38 (in 20,792 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.42 Stars
Smart Average: 3.3 Stars*
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              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Doyle's gone Desplat-like
  Edmund Meinerts -- 9/9/14 (1:35 a.m.)
   Alternative review at
  Southall -- 8/12/13 (2:39 p.m.)
   Re: "Holy crap, it's awesome!" or...
  PeterK -- 2/19/12 (9:31 p.m.)
   "Holy crap, it's awesome!" or &qu...
  Richard Kleiner -- 2/10/12 (11:05 p.m.)
   Doyle's gone Desplat-like
  PeterK -- 9/18/11 (6:56 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 61:05

• 1. The Beginning (2:48)
• 2. Bright Eyes Escapes (3:38)
• 3. Lofty Swing (1:36)
• 4. Stealing the 112 (1:52)
• 5. Muir Woods (1:20)
• 6. Off You Go (2:17)
• 7. Who Am I? (2:21)
• 8. Caesar Protects Charles (3:58)
• 9. The Primate Facility (2:45)
• 10. Dodge Hoses Caesar (1:40)
• 11. Rocket Attacks Caesar (1:24)
• 12. Visiting Time (2:17)
• 13. 'Caesing' the Knife (2:04)
• 14. Buck is Released (1:52)
• 15. Charles Slips Away (1:16)
• 16. Cookies (1:14)
• 17. Inhaling the Virus (2:45)
• 18. Caesar's Says No (4:23)
• 19. Gen-Sys Freedom (4:57)
• 20. Zoo Breakout (2:41)
• 21. Golden Gate Bridge (5:21)
• 22. The Apes Attack (2:10)
• 23. Caesar and Buck (1:58)
• 24. Caesar's Home (2:40)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a detailed note from Doyle about the score.

  All artwork and sound clips from Rise of the Planet of the Apes are Copyright © 2011, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/5/11 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2011-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.