I don’t know how I missed this one last year, but I did. And I regret that I did. Patrick Doyle’s musical contribution the the latest installment of the Apes franchise is absolutely stunning – indeed, I think it’s arguably his best work so far. While there are a number of quiet and truly lovely pieces, the score shines most brilliantly during it’s action-driven moments. Doyle avoids the generic head-banging that often comprises such work; instead, he relies on melody, giving the action a sense of purpose amid the chaos. As a result, his cues are consistently impressive, full of suspense, emotion, and creative flair.
The introductory piece, The Beginning, explodes out of a quiet jungle montage into full-fledged action awesomeness. Who Am I?, on the other hand, is tranquil, coinciding with one of the film’s more tender moments. Caesar’s Stand and Gyn-Sys Freedom are simmering with intensity, but the next three tracks cast all restraint aside: Zoo Breakout, Golden Gate Bridge, and The Apes Attack represent the climax of the album, a veritable powerhouse of orchestral action scoring marked by chugging strings, energetic percussion, and glorious horns. (It’s kind of hard not to revel in it all.) Bringing things to a close is Caesar’s Home, delivering a conclusion that is both bittersweet and immensely satisfying.