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  • Thor
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Legendary composer Patrick Doyle took up the mantle of Thor largely due to his friendship and comfort level with its director, Kenneth Branagh. Not that he was a bad choice, but some of his choices will make you wonder a little. In a recent interview with Film Score Monthly he stated that he wanted to create a new sound for Thor- a bigness of the subject matter, giving it a symphonic sweep while still keeping it 'cool'. Before anyone panics, Doyle firmly declared that Marvel allowed him to do his own thing with the score, placing very few restraints upon him. He actually thought he wasn't doing enough, but Marvel liked his approach and wanted to 'keep the groove going', even including some Vivaldi-esque and Wagnerian elements to compliment the storyline.

Doyle relates that he aimed for a Norwegian folk song feel for the character- a noble folk song, with lots of celtic influences. Thor's theme is very much this, like a well known ditty everyone learns as children. Noble, angst laden and reflective- which is appropriate for a powerful being cast down to learn humility- it also lacks the swagger and bombast that would've driven him here. It resembles Wendy Carlos' Tron theme in that it can extend over twenty notes at full usage, but generally stays around 14 or so. Thor's theme forms the basis for many of the cues, and after seeing the movie it does get to stick in your mind a little.

The heroic theme for Asgard is a three-note up-tempo horn bleat repeated three times underscored by a two-note combo on bass drum with hammer and anvil. This leads into a 23-note trumpet/trombone supported with courtly high strings in a four-note ostinato and a quick programmed drum roll. To be honest, again, it comes off as a little light to me. At first blush you'd actually mistake the Asgard theme for Thor's, but the heavy usage of the latter helps to identify it even without having seen the film.

Some highlights: *Potential Spoilers Alert*
Prologue: Odin tells his young sons Thor and Loki of the ancient war with the Frost Giants. It begins with a slightly reverbed double-time xylophone beat accompanied by a heartbeat pulse over a fading 8-note string measure all blending into an ostinato. The initial three notes of the Thor's theme slip in, and at :19 becomes a refrain on mid-strings as the ostinato deepens. At :42 the theme comes on in full, along with some intermitten programmed percussion including hammer and anvil. Trombones enter at 1:02 to flesh things out as the ostinato switches to high strings. If you listen closely you'll hear an electric cello drone underneath it all. Switches to a brief horn and drum bridge at 1:33 and the first appearance of the male chorus. Then at 1:58 its another refrain on horns before sliding down to softer strings at 2:22 to take us to the end. It's entertaining, but a little lacking.

Sons of Odin: Thor's ascension day as he's to be named Odin's successor. Somber and stately beginning with a nicely layered harmony by the entire range of strings until :31 when after a percussion-based transition switches to the debut of the Asgard theme at :38. It ends on a brief reprise of the theme on mid-strings.

To Jotunheim: Thor, Loki and their friends defy Odin and seek to confront Laufey, the Frost Giant king. Starts as a reprise of the Prologue until :48 when in a nice juxtaposition it becomes a darker, descending alternate of Thor for Loki's motif. This leads into another electronic percussion-based bridge until 1:44 brings back the Asgard motif to close things out.

Science & Magic: As their mutual attraction grows, Thor explains to Jane the mysteries of the universe. Another track built around Thor's theme, all played out on romantic high strings, clarinet and harp.

Forgive Me: As Thor, in mortal form, gives himself up to the Destroyer, he pleads Loki's forgiveness for however he believes Thor has wronged him. Very melancholy and bittersweet as befits an act of self-sacrifice. This one of those Vivaldi-esque pieces Doyle mentioned.

Can You See Jane?: Thor reflects upon all that's happened, asking Heimdall if he can see what Jane is doing on Earth. After a melodic layered string opening with some horn support, at the :45 mark it features an exquisite solo rendering of Thor's theme on cello until 1:18 when the other strings return to support it. 1:45 brings in the piano, and a higher string ostinato takes us to the end. Another of the score's Vivaldi moments.

Earth to Asgard: Plays during the credits, and the first track that Doyle actually composed for the score. Kicks off with the now-familiar xylophone, heartbeat pulse and string ostinato from the Prologue. :10 starts a reprise of the Thor theme on low cello until :25 when the taiko drums fuel the music until the rest of the strings and the horns arrive. More up tempo and stronger than the Prologue, it's the opus of the cd. Doyle admitted his own sons described as 'sick'.

For all its strong points and standout moments, ultimately Thor is one of those scores that works well enough for the movie but doesn't have enough legs to stand on its own. It only rates higher after having seen the film and gaining an appreciation for the cues. And I like that it lists the tracks in proper sequence, as they appear in the movie. The fact that this is even notable is a sad commentary. Yet another example of Amazon needing a ten-star rating system- it's only slightly better than a three, but for liking the movie it gets a four.
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VINE VOICEon September 19, 2011
Marvel has had a shaky record when it comes to scores for their films, and when I say Marvel I mean Marvel Studios (which excludes Spider-Man and X-Men). Iron Man started off with a bang. They couldn't get Hans Zimmer but they got Ramin Djawadi to deliver an amazing score with a strong central theme. It strived in its simplicity and gave Tony Stark his rock star identity. Then with The Incredible Hulk Craig Armstrong while delivering a decent score didn't end up making a memorable stamp. The film didn't either. Then came Iron Man 2, and what does Marvel do? They toss out Ramin Djawadi and go with Jon Favreau's regular John Debney. While I respect Debney his score failed. At times it mimicked Djawadi, but Tony Stark lost his identity and lost everything that made the musical stamp memorable. So, with Kenneth Branagh on board for Thor he was able to bring Patrick Doyle to the project; his long time composer. Some may have questioned Doyle's ability to provide a thunderous score that needed to match Thor's thunderous personality. Thankfully Doyle rose to the occasion and delivered what is Marvel's best score to date. He also did something that till now only Djawadi did for a Marvel character and that was give him an identity.

There are two central themes at play here; what I call the 'heroic' theme and the 'danger' theme. One is a sweeping and emotional theme that represents Thor and the other a percussive action styling that makes up the basis of all the action tracks, or whenever danger is present. The soundscape works off of these two sounds and Doyle will usually clash the two to create momentous cues that not only are intense but emotionally gripping. A lot of this comes towards the end though. The beginning of the album is more dedicated to setting up the characters, setting and story. Now you may say "well that's obvious." But honestly I have listened to many scores that seem to forget that they too need to set up character, setting and story. Gladly Doyle's experience does not let that slip by him. Now that the score is firmly grounded he can create all the variations he wants and it will still feel like a growing continuation of where the journey started. Our first battle cue is "Frost Giant Battle" which has a slightly different feel than say "The Compound", and I love that you can differentiate that these two action scenes take place in different locations solely by the music. In the early cues that percussive intensity completely washes out the heroism factor for just a moment and we forget our main character is a God. As the album concludes the hero theme comes back into play and grows and grows. The full meshing of the percussive action with the sweeping heroism comes with "Thor Kills The Destroyer" and now we have our hero back.

The score is perfectly structured which really allowed me to get completely taken away by it. Patrick Doyle's themes are grand without ever being over the top and the simplicity in the melodies allows the music to reach amazing heights. I think Patrick Doyle has just proven himself to be quite a formidable talent in the realm of blockbuster score composers. The fact that the music is a symphonic score really gives it an organic weight that we don't hear too often. While I absolutely love synths and electronics in scores one can't deny that everyone is using them nowadays. It's really refreshing to have a big score such as this that doesn't rely solely on synths for an intense sound. Patrick Doyle's score pounds with thunderous success as he breaths life into Thor and gives us what is sure to be one of the most memorable scores of the year.
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on May 22, 2012
I'd give more stars but I can't. The very first time I saw the movie I fell in love with the soundtrack! I love the unique blend of fantasy themes (representing the Deities) with modern and sci-fi themes (representing man and Midgard). My favorite tracks are, of course, being Prologue and Earth to Asgard.
The foldout booklet is pretty good, especially when one opens the CD case to find Mjollnir. The front and back images (the theatrical posters) are just awesome.
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on November 18, 2011
I've been a HUGE Patrick Doyle fan for awhile, but this is the only CD of his I was able to get my hands on, but it's a GREAT score to start with! Buena Vista Records presents Patrick Doyle's "Thor," containing 24 tracks and over 1 hour of music. This score is one of Doyle's finest, containing a grand, epic main theme, an energetic action theme, and an emotionally powerful love/sad theme. It's powerful from beginning to end, and it remains as one of my favorite scores from the Marvel music catalog!

Best Tracks:

Chasing The Storm

Prologue

Sons of Odin

Frost Giant Battle

Banishment

The Compound

Science And Magic

Forgive Me

Thor Kills the Destroyer

Brothers Fight

Letting Go

Can You See Jane?

Earth To Asgard

With a rich set of sweeping themes, excitement, and emotion, "Thor" is a win in my book! If you're a Patrick Doyle fan or a Thor fan, then pick it up! You won't regret it!
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on May 21, 2015
Musical tastes are personal, but I personally love movie music composers such as Patrick
Doyle, James Horner, John Williams and others. If you also like these composers, my
bet is that you will also love Thor.
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on April 2, 2014
It's a shame that the beautiful instrumental they played at the end of the movie - the song which was the very reason I even bothered to purchase this soundtrack - wasn't even included on the CD! Although there were variations of the instrumental strewn throughout, it would have been nice if they'd just put the song as it was originally orchestrated at the end of the film on the CD. I'm sure other people probably purchased it for that very same reason... I definitely wouldn't have wasted my money if I'd known they didn't include it.
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on November 9, 2013
This is a great soundtrack that compliments the movie quite well. The 24 tracks covers the entire film and accurately represents all the emotions that is experienced from start to finish. I would rate this among the top 5 of the 20 or so motion picture soundtracks I own. Highly recommended!
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on May 4, 2011
I picked up my copy of the Thor Score yesterday and went home to listen to it. I was very pleased that I reserved and now own this score..I really had an enjoyable time listening to the entire thing. Listening to this music has just made me want to see Thor more than I already do.
This is the first score of Patrick Doyle's that I own and I found that he did a great job with composing all the tracks on the cd. One of My favorite tracks is: Earth To Asgrad..very upbeat/powerful piece. While I was listening to the score I never once thought to myself when is this going to be over..to me I did not want it to end.
I would very much recommend this soundtrack to any Thor fan/movie score collector. I give it 5 stars!
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VINE VOICEon July 1, 2011
I believe that repeated listenings are required to fully appreciate this score, which does represent a departure from the Doylesque sound a bit. However, with repeated listenings, the themes become more apparent and in my case, more interesting. The softer cues are beautiful and the driving action themes are interesting. I personally don't hear a strong Zimmer connection with this score,(and even if I did, this wouldn't bother me since I like Zimmer's work) but I do recognize that I had to warm up a bit to this score. It is now one of my favorite scores of the year and I listen to it often. Recommended!
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on March 4, 2015
I bought this as a Christmas gift for someone, but I got a free automatic rip to my Cloud Player, so now it is in my possession. Yea! Recommend for those who enjoy movie soundtrack or just beautiful music in general.
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