A multiplying nation of genetically evolved apes led by the highly intelligent and strong willed chimpanzee Caesar become increasingly threatened by a group of humans that are survivors of a devastating virus that had been unleashed on the world a decade previous to the events in this movie. The two sides manage to reach a fragile peace to live together or at least tolerate each other, but this is a short-lived state of affairs, as both humans and apes are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as the planets dominant species. This new series of ape movies are very different from the series that began in the 1960,s with Charlton Heston and Roddy Mc Dowell, they are much darker and unnervingly realistic, even darker than Tim Burtons take on the franchise. Patrick Doyle provided an excellent score for RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and now we have a wonderfully dramatic, vibrant and also in places melodic and melancholy work from composer Michael Giacchino. He of course has fast become the man to score the latest blockbuster sci-fi movies etc and his rise to the A list of composers has been steady but also well deserved. Within his latest offering for DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, I do hear certain little musical references and maybe the odd nod of acknowledgement to Jerry Goldsmith, which I suppose is only natural as it was Goldsmith who indeed laid down the blueprint for Ape music in the original PLANET OF THE APES all those years ago and it is probably Goldsmiths original score that has stood the test of time better than any other of the original Ape series soundtracks, because it was so far ahead of its time when written. Giacchino has composed a score that works on so many levels, it is as I have said dramatic and vibrant, but it also has to it a lush sound at times with a richly melodic foundation in a number of the cues, the music relays an atmosphere that is sombre and dark for the majority of the time and also posses a certain ethnic resonance but does also manage to purvey to the listener a mood that is fragile and emotive which is tinged with melancholy and an underlying sound running through it that implies all is not gloom and despondency hinting that maybe there is some hope for the Earth or is there? The compact disc opens with a cue that is poignant and subdued, solo piano acts as an introduction to low and somewhat unsettling strings, the darkness of the strings and also the light and almost dream like motif that is being picked out by the piano seem to compliment each other and also combine to usher in a sprinkling of choir, with piano still stealthily present acting as a chink of light in a atmosphere that is dark and a little unsettling with the three note motif seemingly holding the composition together, the cue comes to an abrupt end with a menacing and sharp sounding cello.
Track number 2, LOOK WHO’S STALKING. A half heard and subdued opening from low strings is suddenly abruptly interrupted by percussive stabs, these then melt away giving rise to various percussive punctuation as swirling strings start to build to establish a tense and formidable sound these strings introduce chaotic voices that segue into what is really the first real action theme from the score, which consists of driving strings and percussion being flung headlong by brass. This up-tempo action piece is short lived and soon fades giving way to more tense atmospheric sounds that bring the cue to its close. Track number 3, APE PROCESSIONAL is really the first time that we hear a fully noble and uplifting melodic theme performed by the string section with assistance and support from brass and percussion that combine to create a rich and warm sounding piece. Solo harp opens the piece, and is soon joined by rich sounding strings the composer adding faraway sounding horns to the proceedings, the strings swell and establish the theme further which relays hope, melancholy and a touch of romanticism. Solo piano is introduced towards the end of the cue to create even more emotion. Within this score we can hear certain musical references to maybe Goldsmith, or is that just something that I wanted to hear? It is a work that is dramatic and powerful but also has to it a potent lushness that conveys so much emotion and sadness. It is atonal, majestic and above all entertaining. Worth a listen.