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Planet of the Apes
Album Cover Art
2001 Sony Classical
2011 Warner
Album 2 Cover Art
2012 La-La Land
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Produced by:
Steve Bartek

Co-Orchestrated by:
David Slonaker
Edgardo Simone
Mark McKenzie

Co-Produced by:
Ellen Segal
Marc Mann

2011 Album Produced by:
Nick Redman
Labels Icon
Sony Classical
(July 24th, 2001)

Warner Brothers Records
(April 12th, 2011)

La-La Land Records
(February 14th, 2012)
Availability Icon
The Sony Classical album of 2001 was a regular U.S. release. The 2011 Warner set is a limited edition of 2,000 copies, sold for $500 primarily through the official site of the album. Consult with the separate review of that set for more details about its availability. The 2012 La-La Land set is limited to 3,500 copies and initially retailed for $30 primarily through soundtrack specialty outlets.
Nominated for a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you expect a fair amount of chest-thumping aggression from the percussion and brass sections in a largely dissonant stew of brutally rhythmic stomping.

Avoid it... on the original commercial album if you demand a well-rounded presentation of the music actually heard in the film (some of which had not been written as of the product's assembly), in which case the outstanding, three-CD set of 2012 should be your goal.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 7/19/01, REVISED 3/21/12
Planet of the Apes: (Danny Elfman) When the original Planet of the Apes film of 1968 was adapted from Pierre Boulle's classic novel, it was transformed into an edgy and politically charged message. Tim Burton's 2001 screen adaptation of the story is a closer adaptation of the novel, less concerned with an overbearing political agenda and more in tune with the solid action nature of the original war story. While decent in its revised form (and even featuring cameo appearances by Charlton Heston and Linda Harrison, the two human leads in the 1968 film), the execution of the Planet of the Apes reboot didn't yield the same kind of appeal as a result of its lighter socio-political tone. Many sources, including most of those involved with the picture at the highest levels, admit that this remake was rushed to the big screen in under a year due to the demands of 20th Century Fox (it had already been stuck in production hell for a decade). Because of that forced schedule, Burton didn't have the luxury of working with a finished script until well into the production; endless re-writes by teams of writers were the ultimate downfall of the movie. A new surprise ending is seemingly tacked on with haste at the conclusion of this version, adding another layer of parallel universes that was perhaps obligatory but still somewhat unsatisfying (even Burton claims that it was simply added to open a door for a sequel and wasn't meant to make much sense). For the bleak message of the 1968 film, newcomer Jerry Goldsmith wrote a percussive and dissonant score devoid of a memorable theme and inspired by the style of Alex North, whose popularity was reaching its heights at the time. Goldsmith's music worked very well in the context of the film, with a new, alienating form of composition that was both foreign to the audience and foreign to his own career. It was the champion of post-modern scoring of the late 1960's, and decades later, the Goldsmith score for Planet of the Apes is both worshipped and shunned by film score collectors, rarely leaving fans residing in the middle. Surprisingly, there is little debate about whatever similarities may or may not exist between Goldsmith's enduring score and Danny Elfman's 2001 musical interpretation of the story. At heart, the style of the two scores is not entirely different, with both utilizing creative percussion and tense dissonance.

Elfman, however, took the liberty of substantially and aggressively boosting the orchestral might of the sound for his visit to the Planet of the Apes. The composer was initially humbled by the task of essentially competing with Goldsmith's music for the concept, for Goldsmith had long been one of his career idols. Elfman met the challenges of the concept by not attempting to emulate or pay homage to Goldsmith's classic score at all, instead following his standard tactic of choosing a small handful of major scenes throughout the film to score first and testing the results. Once he had established the tone of his liking for those sequences (which included "The Hunt" and "Preparing for Battle"), he worked through the rest chronologically. For the emphasized militaristic stance of this story, Elfman's score relies much more heavily on bombastic percussion and brass rather than the outwardly exotic route of creating a foreign sound for the socially inverted planet. Expectations had suggested that Elfman would take the latter route, producing a mysterious piece with exceedingly bizarre instrumentation. Interestingly, his score is built upon brutal rhythmic power and several layers of percussion and synthesizer overlays rather than straight-forward symphonic creativity. In the plethora of overlays, Elfman himself provided a fair amount of the soundscape, performing his own Indian drums and arranging a variety of samples instead of opting for acoustic alternatives from the larger ensemble. A number of unique percussive effects result throughout the score, led by the slapping, banging, and slashing tones of "Main Titles," but it should be noted that the film's final mix, often emphasizing sound effects over the music, obscures many of these interesting textures. This reality also reduces the effectiveness of the already less obvious thematic structures in Planet of the Apes. An ascending series of extremely harsh, low range trombone notes comprise a theme that suggests the rising of a new ape civilization, heard immediately in "Main Titles" and translated onto strings for a slightly melodramatic tone at the conclusion of "The Return." Even less obvious are the secondary themes in this score, starting with a growling, low woodwind idea for General Thade's evil persona that is almost completely lost in the mix. Equally challenged is a yearning, rising flute theme for the sympathizing ape Ari, doubling as a representation of affection between her and the lead human.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.14 Stars
***** 1,001 5 Stars
**** 775 4 Stars
*** 1,346 3 Stars
** 988 2 Stars
* 554 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Other composers?
Ray - July 26, 2011, at 7:53 a.m.
1 comment  (1320 views)
Brass Section (Hollywood Studio Symphony)
N.R.Q. - April 12, 2007, at 9:10 a.m.
1 comment  (2695 views)
north by northwest homage
steve - September 16, 2006, at 9:24 a.m.
1 comment  (2840 views)
not bad ..   Expand >>
Rquanto Noble - April 11, 2005, at 7:46 a.m.
1 comment  (3449 views)
When are the sequels due out?   Expand >>
Amuro - June 11, 2003, at 8:23 a.m.
3 comments  (3803 views)
Newest: September 14, 2003, at 8:24 p.m. by
Luis L.
the best
jonathan - May 4, 2003, at 6:43 a.m.
1 comment  (1863 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2001 Sony Classical Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 58:27
• 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 - mixed by Paul Oakenfold (4:03)
2011 Warner Set Tracks   ▼Total Time: 79:44
2012 La-La Land Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 212:42

Notes Icon
The insert of the 2001 Sony Classical album offers no information about the film or score. The website devoted to the soundtrack, as listed on the packaging, no longer exists. The 2011 Warner set features some notes from Elfman about his choices of music for inclusion on the product. The insert of the 2012 La-La Land album includes extensive information about both the film and score.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Planet of the Apes are Copyright © 2001, 2011, 2012, Sony Classical, Warner Brothers Records, La-La Land Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/19/01 and last updated 3/21/12.
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