I've been a fan of Michael Giacchino since his video game scoring days. The first score to grab me was Medal of Honor - Underground. Some of my most listened to soundtracks are his and I consider him one of the best "emotionally thematic track guys" out there. Every film score composer has a distinctive sound or characteristic about them that stands out and I think that one of Giacchino's strengths lie in his ability to create a simple melody or a particular track that just really nails it for the film. Who can ever forget "Married Life" from the movie "UP" (which I consider to be one of the best musically animated pieces ever created), "Labor of Love" from Star Trek, "First Date Jitters" from "Let Me In"....and his compositions for movies like "Super 8", "John Carter", and "Ratatouille"?
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is a perfect fit for someone with Giacchino's skills. It's a science fiction movie that stays true to the others in the series before it. A deeper message is there and Giacchino's score musically resonates this theme to the very souls of the viewers. I was fortunate to see the movie before getting the soundtrack (rare for me) and experienced first hand how powerful his music works for the film. A score can make or break a movie and directors know this. According to the liner notes found in the CD, Matt Reeves (director) wanted Giacchino to score the movie because he knew that both of them had shared a passion for these movies since they were kids. Their passion really shines because this movie has to be one of the best science fiction films in a long time. Story and score work hand in hand to create a wonderful experience for any film goer.
The physical CD of the score was delayed and then moved back up to an earlier release date. It is so aggravating that the physical scores go through this crap. I can't stand just buying an MP3 version because I never really feel like I own it...so I waited and finally have it! The booklet that comes with the CD has quite a few photos from the movie and scoring sessions. There is a note from the director which gives some cool insight/trivia about the score and you also have credits given to the orchestra. One of the coolest photos is one in which you see the director and Giacchino inside one of the old cardboard Planet of the Apes hut made for kids back from the earlier movies. The score clocks in at 1hr. and 18min. The longest track being the "End Credits", track 18 (8:57). This track does a great job at recapping some of the best moments from the entire score. I've heard scores before that have an end credits track but sound they sound like something completely different or just a bunch of noise. Giacchino does it right by inserting those wonderful themes and moments in your brain one more time as your walking out of the theatre. The shortest track is the last one written supposedly by Giacchino's young son Griffith Giacchino. Track 19, "Ain't that a Stinger" is 1:11 and is quite simple and sounds like something you'd hear in one of those "after the credits" scenes. I can't really place this piece in the movie. I know the director originally was going to include one of these scenes...but things changed. We will have to see if it will be included in the Bluray release.
Giacchino has created yet another beautifully haunting theme here and it can be found throughout various moments in the score. A very simple piano that is accompanied softly by strings...it works so well that is just tattoos itself in your mind. You are first introduced to this them with track 1, "Level Plaguing Field". There are a lot of heartfelt moments in the movie so the reoccurrence of this them is a must. One of the best is "Primates for Life" where this theme gets one of it's biggest movements with a grand orchestra sweep that will bring tears to the eyes. This one and "The Great Ape Processional" are my favorites. With Giacchino obviously being a fan of the older films, he pays Jerry Goldsmith plenty of respect in this music. The classic percussion sounds and other orchestral tricks that Goldsmith created can be found in this score too. The percussion section of this orchestra has some really amazing moments. Check out track 8, "Along Simian Lines" for some great work from these musicians. It is interesting to note that Emil Radocchia (Richards) is one these musicians in the percussion section and he has worked on every Planet of the Apes movie! The whole crew is the Hollywood Studio Symphony which is an 89 piece ensemble and the score is also blessed with an amazing 70 person choir.
Giacchino has done a wonderful job with this film and his love for the Planet of the Apes movies shows. His score breathes new life into the series and he gracefully pays homage to that which was established before him. He is a master at squeezing out emotional themes and punching the audience with it. The score is quite enjoyable to listen to and is a worthy purchase even for the most casual listener. Film score fans should make this one a "must have" for your collection. Let's hope they use the same director and composer for the next film!
Michael Giacchino is without a doubt one of the best and most talented storytellers in film. I discovered his music at 11-years old while playing my Playstation with a new WWII shooter that came out called Medal Of Honor. Ever since then I’ve been following his music and watching him grow into the iconic composer he is today. All of his scores are special because his method is to translate his initial emotional reaction to what’s on screen into music. And since his emotional reaction is so spot on, we usually are feeling the exact same thing, which means the music is amplifying our emotional response instead of telling us what to feel. Giacchino is a composer who is able to bring tears and spine tingles more so than any other composer working today. His voice as an auteur is also completely without compromise as he manages to work with directors who are close friends of his. All of Giacchino’s scores are special, but with Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes we get a truly inspired score. One could argue that his recent scores to Star Trek and John Carter worked in broader strokes. Here we have a score that works with much smaller strokes, and builds an emotional narrative comparable to LOST, Let Me In and Super 8.
While this film is a sequel to the great Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, it completely tosses out any reference to that film stylistically. It leaves Rupert Wyatt’s direction and Patrick Doyle’s wonderful score alone to really craft a continuation with a different voice. While Giacchino’s style is bleeding from every ounce of this score, I could maybe pickup some little nods stylistically to Jerry Goldmsith’s original Planet Of The Apes score in small areas. Other than that Giacchino doesn’t treat this like a genre score, he doesn’t go out of his way to make it tribal or dystopian, but it does take on a bit of the coldness and isolation of a dystopian world. But amongst the coldness of isolation there is a flickering warmth that is threatened by the onslaught of war, which is captured with great technique here. The score comes from the characters, the struggle and the scope of the picture. Giacchino revives many of the techniques he used for LOST, which I love. The central theme is a hefty 6-note motif that lumbers forward with purpose. The film is about war between humans and apes and can easily reflect conflicts that are happening around the world right now, so there are deep emotional pockets that Giacchino pulls from. The action music isn’t bombastic or for the sake of spectacle. Giacchino structures it in a way of intense builds that carry gravitas and momentum. The percussion adds a lot here, and at times a chilling chorus comes in that adds some chilling air between the thick areas of the score. There are some really meaty tracks here, so you get the full-force of how this score works structurally. Matt Reeves definitely had Giacchino become that central backbone of the film. Giacchino also uses this sort of menacing foreboding danger motif that sounds like an engine revving or a plane propeller spinning faster and faster. He uses it sparingly, but it commands a subtle presence when it shows up. He does manage to use that central 6-note theme to perfection though as it’s neither overused nor underused. While the score strays away from the deeper emotions felt in the first half, it does come full circle for quite a fantastic conclusion. Giacchino wraps up the narrative with near-perfection as we enter the end credits. We are presented with the same trickling piano motif the score opened with, and it proves as a wonderfully emotional bookend to the whole journey.
This score is Giacchino firing on all cylinders. He incorporates his amazing ability for resonating emotions and thematic gravitas to craft a journey filled with awe, danger and conflict. He can go from the smallest emotional touches to the grandest action arcs all the while crafting tension and suspense that send chills down your spine. The score has all the best qualities of what he demonstrated over six seasons of LOST that mesh with the brilliant grand emotions of Super 8, except here it has its own primal flair. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a beautifully dark orchestral journey that needs to be experienced. It’s a damn brilliant score that represents the best of what Giacchino can offer as a storyteller. Also, his track-name puns are in superb hilarious form here.
on August 13, 2014
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the eighth film extrapolated from the ideas originally posited in Pierre Boulle’s 1963 French novel La Planète des Singes; after the five original films in the 1960 and 70s that began with the Charlton Heston classic, the 2001 Tim Burton movie everyone ignores, and the well-received first installment of the reboot series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011, we continue the story ten years after the conclusion of that film. Most of the world’s human population has been killed by the ALZ-113 virus, which was created in the first film as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but proved fatal to all humans except for a few random individuals with natural genetic immunity. Caesar, the chimpanzee who became super-intelligent during the first film, subsequently escaped into the woods near San Francisco with other apes he freed from captivity, and established a basic civilization there; like all non-humans, he is completely immune to the effects of ALZ-113. The plot concerns the conflict between Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), the leaders of a group of survivors in what remains of San Francisco who must venture into ape territory to re-establish power at a hydroelectric dam, and Caesar (Andy Serkis) and Koba (Toby Kebbell), the leaders of the ape colony who face dangers both from the humans and from within their own community.
The film, which was directed by Matt Reeves and co-stars Keri Russell and Kodi Smit McPhee, has received almost universal critical acclaim, for the premise, the sympathetic and non-judgmental way the film addresses the conflict from all four main points of view (Malcolm, Caesar, Dreyfus, Koba), and especially for the central performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, who overcomes the limitations of motion capture technology and imbues his character with emotion, subtlety and a great deal of depth. Less effusive has been the praise for composer Michael Giacchino, who is working with director Reeves for the third time after Cloverfield in 2008 and Let Me In in 2010. In very broad-brush terms, Giacchino’s score for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a combination of the emotional parts of his scores for Super 8 and the Lost TV series, and the vaguely jungley action music he wrote for things like Land of the Lost, and the Lost World: Jurassic Park video game series back in the 1990s. There is much more to it than that, of course, but in terms of a broad overview, that’s about as good as you’re going to get.
The score’s centerpiece is its ‘Big Emotional Theme’, first heard during “The Great Ape Processional” and later in cues such as the more understated “Past Their Primates”, the excellent “Primates for Life” and the all-encompassing end credits piece. Despite clearly being inspired the finale of Super 8 and the most touching moments of Lost, as well as the downbeat finale of his score for Reeves’s Let Me In, there is still an emotional wallop packed by these pieces of music, and it’s during these moments that the score really shine, especially when Giacchino incorporates a subtle choral accent.
The slightly tribal-sounding action music is clearly paying homage to the experimental sounds Jerry Goldsmith brought to his seminal simian score in 1968, especially in the percussion section. Although I don’t think Giacchino borrowed mixing bowls from the Chinese restaurant next door, or got his brass section to blow their horns without mouthpieces, as Goldsmith famously did, there is still a sense of rugged rawness to cues like “Close Encounters of the Furred Kind”, “Monkey See, Monkey Coup”, “The Apes of Wrath” and “Enough Monkeying Around”, many of which incorporate xylophones and other unusual wooden percussion items into the mix to good effect, and which are built around a recurring six-note rhythmic motif. In addition, some of the low-end bassoon chords, offset by more flighty flute trills, are really quite cleverly structured, while “Look Who’s Stalking” and “The Lost City of Chimpanzee” feature a prepared piano and this year’s second homage to the vocal stylings of György Ligeti.
Where the score drags is during its more suspenseful moments, via cues such as “Gibbon Take”, “Apes Crusaders” and “How Bonobo Can You Go”, which are frankly rather dull, consisting of little more than elongated string sustains, shifting brass textures, and repetitive percussion rhythms. I have never found Giacchino to be an especially great low-key composer; he excels when he’s writing big themes or complicated action cues, but seem to struggle to find something interesting to say when writing music that has to take a back seat.
I’m sure you noticed that all the track titles on the score are monkey puns – something that Giacchino and his team have done for a while now, even though they are effectively aping the funny little ideas Christopher Young had as long ago as the mid-1990s. I like the fact that they have fun with these things, but the po-faced among you will probably have preferred him to be as literal as Jerry Goldsmith was. One other thing worth mentioning is the fact that the final cue, “Ain’t That a Stinger”, is officially credited to his nine-year-old son Griffith Giacchino, in a nice little echo of the credit the great Basil Poledouris gave to his then 9-year old daughter Zoë for contributing a melody to Conan the Barbarian.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of those rare scores where it works really well in the film, but suffers slightly when removed from its visual inspiration. There are many outstanding moments, most of them involving those aforementioned sequences of high emotion, but there are also far too many periods of curiously dead air, where nothing seems to happen for quite lengthy periods of time, causing the album to drag. I’m loathed to say that I was disappointed by a Michael Giacchino score, because lord knows his disappointments are significantly superior to a large number of other composer’s best works, but that’s the price you pay for having the kind of stellar filmography Giacchino has established over the past decade. Fans of Lost and Super 8 will undoubtedly enjoy this continuation of the style, and although others would be advised to approach with a tiny bit of caution, I still wouldn’t recommend gibbon it a wide berth.
on April 18, 2016
first heard about the composer's name was when i bought the soundtrack 'Let Me In', that soundtrack attracted me while I heard the ending credit, and that was it, bought the score cd, and found only the first 2 mins. of the ending credit music was nice, that's all.
Here I bought this one, it was just that I liked the movie very much, so i bought it even . About the music.... kinda like the above one... maybe you can find some ok music in the last several tracks... again, you cannot even finish listening to the whole tracks....