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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) – Patrick Doyle

For a long time, I had a sort of self-imposed boycott on Patrick Doyle’s music. Why? Because I despise his score to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Why? Well, you’ll have to wait for a review of that one for the answer to that. The point is, I only purchased Doyle’s score to Rise of the Planet of the Apes because I had to admit to myself that, Goblet of Fire aside, he did a fantastic job with this film’s score.

*mild film spoilers*

The opening track of the album, “The Beginning”, is mysterious and fascinating; Caesar’s theme is heard in its beginning stages as a soft sort of ethereal vocal melody, but it doesn’t stay that way forever. By the end of the film, however, in the track “Caesar’s Home”, we hear the big, in-charge, brassy fanfare that his melody has grown into, showing his growth in terms of intelligence and leadership. This theme is also heard several times in-between these two tracks in just about every form imaginable: aggressive, emotional, haunting, etc.

In fact, there are a few tracks that are highly emotional, conveying what Caesar, with his…err…limited vocabulary, can not, tracks such as in “Who Am I?”, when Caesar questions whether he’s part of the family or just a household pet, and in “Visiting Time”, when Caesar decides that he doesn’t want to be either of those things.

Much of this score manages to be both aggressive and brooding which is fitting of the tone of the film. Throughout the film, we see Caesar’s thirst for justice for his fellow apes grow into discontent and eventually into a revolution against the human oppressors. This tone can be heard in tracks like “‘Caesing’ the Knife”, which features an aggressive sixteenth-note string motif, and in “Cookies”, in which Caesar begins taking command of the other apes in the facility.

Despite the fact that these emotionally violent tracks dominate the album, it is not without its beauty; tracks like the frivolous “Lofty Swing” and the soaring “Off You Go” bring a bit of balance and light to a dark and depressing (though fantastic) film.

My favorite track? The final track, “Caesar’s Home”, is a perfect mix of emotional melodies and the brassy theme for Caesar that I mentioned above. We hear the theme from the sweeping string buildup heard in the earlier track “Off You Go” that represents freedom, and the final French horn fanfare is permeating, managing to send a chill up my spine every single time I hear it.

Overall, Patrick Doyle’s score to Rise of the Planet of the Apes put me on the path to becoming a fan in spite of my reservations. His aggressive, often tribal, music blends in perfectly to a film that depends largely on the music to convey thoughts and emotion; after all, apes can’t talk (…ha), so the score often acts as dialogue and is very successful at it. Definitely worth a listen!

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

  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” 1:15
  17. “Inhaling the Virus” 2:45
  18. “Caesar’s Stand” 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

Total Length: app. 62 min.

iTunes Album Link